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Subsea processing is an enabling technology for deepwater-oilfield development. The primary technologies of interest are fluid separation and pumping. Subsea processing is a significant technology that presents and will continue to bring many challenges and opportunities to the industry. Can we safely and economically move traditional field-processing equipment from the surface to the ocean floor? There is a strong incentive to eliminate (or greatly reduce the size of) surface-supported processing facilities; they are expensive and heavy, they can certainly be the long-lead item on a schedule, and they are susceptible to environmental (weather) effects that will affect operations.
Over the past 6 months, I’ve talked about several emerging geographic and technology frontiers in the oil and gas industry. One of the most exciting and prolific emerging technology frontiers is also geographic in a way—the seafloor of deepwater basins around the world. Since the first installation of a subsea production tree in the Gulf of Mexico in 1961, the surge in the deployment of subsea wells has resulted in significant economic and environmental improvements in deepwater development.
High oil prices, technological developments, and the need to counterbalance declining production in mature shallow-water basins have been driving the move of offshore oil and gas operations into deep and ultradeep (>10,000 ft) waters. Growth in this sector has been momentous over the past few decades. Subsea installations will grow from roughly 2,000 in 2001 to an estimated 8,500 by 2018. Growth in capital expenditure (Capex), driven primarily by Asia, Africa, and the North Sea is estimated to grow by 120% between now and 2018.Increasingly, operators are cost-effectively targeting reservoirs over a much wider area, tying back subsea wells both to fixed platforms in shallow waters and to floating infrastructure in deeper waters. In fact, capital-intensive ultradeepwater developments are expected to capture 48% of Capex and 23% of tree installations in 2014–2017, in contrast to 37% of Capex and 15% of installations in 2008–2013.
Abstract Since the beginning of the global subsea history, TOTAL has been among the leaders in using Subsea technology in field developments. During this time, TOTAL has gained a significant track record of installing/operating ground breaking subsea systems – shallow water and deep water. The start of the global subsea history is by many considered to be a subsea well installed by Shell in the Gulf of Mexico in 1961. Just a few years later, TOTAL installed their first subsea wells in Africa. In the 1980's the use of subsea technology as an enabling and enhancing technology, started to gain higher momentum globally. But it was maybe not until the early to mid to late 1990's that Subsea technology achieved a more significant global business volume. Since then (with some peaks and troughs) the global subsea business has steadily grown. With the large variety of challenges encountered around the world, the experience to select the optimum subsea field architecture and associated technology is crucial. Parameters like water dept (shallow, deep and ultra deep), complicated and challenging reservoirs (HP, HT, sour services, CO2 etc), flow assurance issues, long distances, rough weather and/or remote regions, regions with undeveloped infrastructure etc – they are all challenges that may require technology innovations as well as requiring an experienced operator. There are many ground breaking developments that could be used to demonstrate this, and a few selected projects operated by TOTAl will be mentioned. And today the industry is facing an additional challenge – escalating costs has resulted in significant challenges in creating developments that will be economical. More and more advanced technology may be required to conquer the increased challenges. With the current high cost levels in the industry (combined with lower commodity prices) it is critical to take actions that will enable a continued use and further development of subsea technology in new developments. Subsea Technology is considered to maintain being a key for future safe and cost effective development of offshore assets, whether this is shallow, deep or remote. In addition to improved and efficient technology, increased efficiencies in work methods and business processes are thought to be necessary to achieve a new lower and sustainable cost level.
Answers provided by Rune Mode Ramberg, Chief Engineer Subsea Technology & Operations, Statoil. Steve Thurston, Chevron's vice president of deepwater exploration and projects compares developing US Gulf of Mexico oil fields like Jack and St. Malo in 7,000 ft to the 1969 moon landing: "Except we are going to the moon every day!" It really is impressive to see how offshore and subsea technology have evolved over the years. Of the world's current oil demand of approximately 93 million BOPD, some 27 million BOPD or 30% comes from offshore fields and the offshore contribution is expected to continue to grow according to Douglas-Westwood World Drilling & Production Market Forecast 2005-2021. The Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) is among the front-runners in subsea technology developments and applications.