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David Paganie • Houston
European R&D programs advance subsea technology
European technology developers have been engaged in long-term qualification programs to advance subsea and deepwater
development. In the UK, some of the research and developments
efforts are being tailored to maximize resource recovery. Of fshore’s
second annual European Offshore Technology report, beginning on
page 34, highlights the qualification journey of select technologies.
Small pools prize
The need for a greater focus on technology development in the
UK to improve the recovery of the region’s offshore resources
has led to the inception of The Oil & Gas Technology Centre. The
Aberdeen-based facility, backed by UK and Scottish governments,
officially opened for business in February of this year. Of fshore
Editor-Europe Jeremy Beckman spoke to Chief Executive Colette
Cohen about the Centre’s goals and achievements to date.
The Centre’s initial five areas of focus are asset integrity, well
construction, marginal discoveries (small pools), decommissioning, and digital transformation. The Centre’s small pools initiative
is tasked with identifying, co-funding, developing, and deploying
new technology in the North Sea. Its goal is to have no technically
stranded UK offshore field asset by 2022.
Research and consulting firm Wood Mackenzie suggests that
the UK has 3 Bboe of technically recoverable but stranded resources. The firm adds that 1. 5 Bboe of these resources are potentially
economic at $50/bbl and at today’s costs.
The Small Pools Solution Centre has co-invested in two projects
to date: one is with Exnics to develop a unique subsea flow meter
that can be retrofitted to measure oil and gas flow rates from subsea wells. Improving measurement was one of the key focus areas
identified by the industry’s Technology Leadership Board.
Another project, with EC-OG, is in the preliminary phase for a field
trial of the company’s subsea power hub – a subsea generation and
storage device that harnesses ocean currents to provide the power
needed to operate well controls and other critical subsea equipment.
The small pools “tie-back of the future” initiative involves 25
companies, with 15 technology proposals and six integrated
studies to design new tiebacks that can be delivered for half the
cost in half the time, and significantly reduce the impact on the
environment. The initiative focuses on designing for disassembly
and re-use, contributing to the circular economy, and reducing
waste. Wood Mackenzie estimates that the “tie-back of the future”
could improve the potentially economic small pool resource by
Beckman’s full report begins on page 37.
Meanwhile, the economics of deepwater development are
improving, and some projects have advanced to FID through
re-engineering and other innovative approaches. A case in point is
Shell’s new strategy that is enabling it to continue to advance its
Kaikias, Appomattox, and Coulomb Phase 2 projects in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. This strategy includes structural re-engineering
and what Shell calls “competitive rescoping” to lower its break-even costs and reduce cycle times.
Of fshore Managing Editor Bruce Beaubouef recently spoke with
Donal Rajasingam, Asset Manager–Gulf of Mexico West and Rick
Tallant, Asset Manager-Gulf of Mexico East, to get an insight into
this strategy, and get an update on Shell’s upcoming deepwater
Gulf of Mexico projects.
Beaubouef’s interview begins on page 22.