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Oil and gas industry interest is surging in using remote survey technologies for more cost-efficient, safer, and lower-carbon certification, verification, and inspection of assets and operations. Amid COVID-19 travel restrictions in 2020, DNV GL has conducted more than 4,000 remote surveys for the sector. These have provided the supply chain with the assurance it needs to keep projects and operations running safely and on schedule. Remote surveys involve fixed and mobile cameras (e.g., smartphones) giving customers instant access to DNV GL experts worldwide for verification, classification, and certification of assets, verification of materials and components, inspection, and marine assurance. The growing track record for remote survey technology could soon make it the method of choice for inspections in some places and circumstances, according to a senior expert at one leading oil and gas exploration and production company.
In recent years, Aker BP has explored and developed a number of digital improvements to optimize production. The underlying business drivers are meant to improve efficiency, increase production and reserves, decrease costs, and reduce the carbon footprint from operations. The example described in this article has innovative elements of digitalization and automation of workflows which provide a new approach for better handling of slugging in subsea developments with long tiebacks. The new solution has a potential for optimizing production and limiting the amount of flaring. Flow Instabilities in the Vilje Field The Aker BP-operated Vilje field in the Norwegian Continental Shelf has occasionally experienced production-flow instabilities in the production pipelines and risers due to slugging.
Offshore and onshore reliability data (OREDA) gathered by several oil and gas operators for nearly 4 decades is now available online through DNV GL’s data platform, Veracity. The OREDA handbook, established in 1981 in cooperation with the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, has collected data from almost 300 installations and includes 18,000 equipment units with 43,000 failure and 80,000 maintenance records. The databank also includes information on subsea fields with more than 2,000 years of operating experience. Working in partnership with French IT service provider SATODEV and OREDA member companies, the data were originally presented in a traditional handbook and have been converted to a digital tool called “OREDA@Cloud.” Instigated by a joint industry project (JIP), it allows users to have interactive access to the database.
Africa (Sub-Sahara) Total reported a natural-gas-condensate discovery on Block 11B/12B in the Outeniqua basin, 175 km offshore southern South Africa. The Brulpadda well encountered 57 m of net gas condensate pay in Lower Cretaceous reservoirs. Following success at the main objective, the well was deepened to a final depth of 3633 m. Partners are Qatar Petroleum with 25%, Canadian Natural Resources with 20%, and Main Street, a South African consortium, with 10%. Panoro has an 8.33% interest in the area. Operator is BW Energy with 91.67%. Asia Pacific Repsol and partners Petronas and Mitsui Oil Exploration (MOECO) made the largest gas find in Indonesia in 18 years with the Kaliberau Dalam (KBD) 2X well in South Sumatra.
Africa (Sub-Sahara) Aker Energy, as operator of the Deepwater Tano Cape Three Points (DWT/CTP) block, encountered oil in the Pecan South-1A well offshore Ghana. Total volumes are estimated at 600 million–1 billion BOE. Aker Energy has a 50% participating interest in the block. Partners are Lukoil (38%), Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) (10%), and Fueltrade (2%). Total SA started production on Kaombo Sul, the second floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessel of the Kaombo oil development offshore Angola. The project is in 1400–2000 m of water approximately 260 km offshore Luanda. Total operates Block 32 with 30% participating interest, along with Sonangol P&P (30%), Sonangol Sinopec International 32 (20%), Esso Exploration & Production Angola (Overseas) (15%), and Galp Energia Overseas Block 32 (5%).
Asia Pacific Strike Energy and Warrego Energy discovered gas in the multireservoir West Erregulla-2 appraisal well in the onshore North Perth basin of Western Australia. Strike, as operator, said the well encountered a gross gas column at least 97 m thick in the Kingia formation. Strike and Warrego are 50–50 joint venture partners. Latin America-Caribbean Gran Tierra Energy produced oil from new pay in the Acordionero field in Colombia. The Acordionero-48 well produced at an average rate of 509 B/D from Paleocene-Eocene Lisama E, located just below the main Lisama A and C reservoirs, during 115 producing hours. Gran Tierra holds 100% working interest in the field. Tullow Guyana encountered 55 m of net oil pay on its Jethro-1 well, drilled to 4400 m TD in 1350 m of water in the Orinduik block offshore Guyana, and says the prospect could hold more than 100 million bbl of recoverable oil.
Africa (Sub-Sahara) BW Offshore and its partners reported 40–50 MM bbl of recoverable oil at its Hibiscus Updip prospect in the Dussafu license offshore Gabon. The DHIBM-1 exploration well, drilled to TD of 3,538 m in 116 m of water, delivered approximately 21 m of pay from a 33-m hydrocarbon column in the Gamba formation. VAALCO Energy encountered Gamba and Dentale oil sands with its Etame 9P appraisal well offshore Gabon. The well was drilled to TD of 10,260 ft. The Etame field is owned by a consortium led by Vaalco (28.07%). It also includes PanAfrican Energy Gabon Corporation (31.36%), Eni started gas and condensate production from the Obiafu 41 discovery in the Niger Delta 3 weeks after well completion.
The EPCI contract for the Breidablikk development includes provision of flexible jumpers and rigid pipelines as well as pipeline installation work. About 70% of the value creation in the Breidablikk development phase is expected to go to Norwegian companies. DNV GL and floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessel specialist Bluewater are undertaking a pilot project to use hybrid digital twin technology to predict and analyze fatigue in the hull of an FPSO in the North Sea. The latest agreement between Wood and Equinor will begin January 2021. The contract follows recent agreements between the two companies for the Breidablikk development in the Norwegian Continental Shelf.
Akers BP said it will use lessons learned from the pilot and scale the remote-assist concept across its assets. A recent test proved the feasibility of using LiDAR on remote-controlled drones to create 3D maps of the inside of tanks, increasing the safety and efficiency of inspections. The methodology is the industry’s first to address CUI. Along with DNV GL’s new technology, maintenance costs may be reduced by up to 50%. The JIPs managed by DNV GL and Berenschot focused on 3D-printed-component certification and supply chain set-up.
Akers BP said it will use lessons learned from the pilot and scale the remote-assist concept across its assets. The contract is for Equinor’s unmanned process platform at the Krafla field in the North Sea, with plans for tie-in to an Aker BP host platform in the North of Alvheim area. The announcement comes as Aker BP has stopped all nonsanctioned projects. The remaining two Phase 2 wells will come on stream in 2021. The unmanned development is expected to add 80 million BOE of production to the aging Norwegian North Sea field.