Producing and delivering North West Australia (NWA) deepwater gas reserves to LNG plants poses unique challenges. These include extreme metocean conditions, unique geotechnical conditions, long distances to infrastructure and high reliability/availability requirement of supply for LNG plants. A wet or dry tree local floating host platform will be required in most cases. Whereas semisubmersible, TLP, Spar and floating LNG (FLNG) platform designs all have the attributes to be a host facility, none has been installed in this region to date.
This paper will address important technical, commercial and regulatory factors that drive the selection of a suitable floating host platform to develop these deepwater gas fields off NWA. Linkages between key reservoir and fluid characteristics and surface facility requirements will be established. A focus will be on the unique influence of regional drivers and site characteristics including metocean and geotechnical conditions, water depths and remoteness of these fields.
There have been 17 FPSOs producing oil in Australian waters. These facilities have been chosen because of the remoteness of the fields and the lack of pipeline and process infrastructure. Storing oil on the FPSO for offloading and shipping from the fields becomes an obvious solution. Semisubmersible, TLP or Spar platforms show little advantage in such developments.
For deepwater gas developments, the product has to be processed, compressed and piped to shore for liquefaction. As host processing facilities, Semisubmersible, TLP and Spar platforms have clear advantages over FPSOs because of their superior motion performance in the harsh Australian metocean environment and other benefits such as facilitating drilling, dry tree completion and well services. FPSOs or FSOs may be applied for storage of associated oil and condensates. For marginal and remote gas field developments, an LNG FPSO (FLNG) may be an attractive option as it eliminates long pipelines and land-based liquefaction plants.
As discussed by Dorgant and Stingl (2005), a deepwater field development life cycle following discovery usually involves five distinct phases, Figure 1. The "select?? phase occurs after a discovery has been appraised sufficiently to further evaluate it for development. It consists of evaluating multiple development concepts and scenarios and selecting the one that will most likely achieve the identified commercial and strategic goals. Selecting a floating platform and its functions for a deepwater development is an important subset of the select phase and the overall field development planning.
The process of field development planning involves a complex iterative interaction of its key elements (subsurface, drilling and completions, surface facilities) subject to regional and site constraints (D'Souza, 2009). The objective is to select a development plan that satisfies an operator's commercial, risk and strategic requirements. It entails developing a robust and integrated reservoir depletion plan with compatible facility options. The selection occurs while uncertainty in critical variables that determine commercial success (well performance, reserves) is high. One of the challenges is to select a development plan that manages downside reservoir risk (considering the very large capital expense involved) while having the flexibility to capture its upside potential.
Liu, Zhen (Jiangsu University of Science and Technology) | Zhu, Renqing (Jiangsu University of Science and Technology) | Ji, Chunyan (Jiangsu University of Science and Technology) | Chen, Minglu (Jiangsu University of Science and Technology) | Teng, Bin (Dalian University of Technology) | Li, Liangbi (Jiangsu Modern Shipbuilding Technology Co. Ltd, Jiangsu University of Science and Technology)
The design team for the Wheatstone offshore platform successfully deployed an ‘Inherently Safe Design' (ISD) approach to engineering the gas processing complex. Through a program of initiatives focused on ISD, a substantial improvement in the safe design of the platform has been delivered.
Major accident events:
The Texas City incident in 2005 initiated the most detailed and far reaching investigation ever undertaken by the US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) at the time. The CSB report included a recommendation that BP form an independent panel to conduct a review of the company's corporate safety culture, safety management systems, and corporate safety oversight at its U.S. refineries. This independent review was conducted and a separate report known as the Baker Report was developed, with the key conclusion being that the process safety culture was deficient.
Major incidents such as the Macondo and Montarra well blow-outs still occur. NOPSA newsletter Issue 86, February 2010 presented data on gas releases, a recognised precursor to major accident events and showed "Design problems at root of most major gas releases??.
Lu, Haining (School of Naval Architecture, Ocean and Civil Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University) | Xiao, Longfei (School of Naval Architecture, Ocean and Civil Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University) | Li, Xin (School of Naval Architecture, Ocean and Civil Engineering, Shanghai Jiao Tong University) | Xie, Wenhui (China National Offshore Oil Corp. Research Center)
Feng, Aichun (Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, University of Southampton) | Chen, Zhimin (Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, University of Southampton) | Xing, Jing Tang (Faculty of Engineering and the Environment, University of Southampton) | You, Yunxiang (School of Naval Architecture, Ocean and Civil Engineering, Shanghai Jiaotong University)