Category Archives: Subsea Systems

Subsea production systems can range in complexity from a single satellite well with a flowline linked to a fixed platform, FPSO or an onshore installation, to several wells on a template or clustered around a manifold, and transferring to a fixed or floating facility, or directly to an onshore installation.

National Oilwell Varco Gives $905,000 to UH’s Subsea Engineering Program

left to right: UH Cullen College of Engineering Dean Joseph Tedesco, Charles N. Grichar, NOV senior vice president/technology development, Matthew Franchek, founding director of UH’s subsea engineering program.

Laura Tolley
ljtolley@uh.edu

November 6, 2012-Houston

National Oilwell Varco (NOV) is giving $905,000 to the University of Houston’s subsea engineering program to further research initiatives and develop a computational laboratory.

NOV’s gift will be used to establish the National Oilwell Varco Computational Engineering Laboratory and to conduct contractual research for UH’s subsea engineering program and NOV.

The computational lab will be used to perform detailed computational calculations on complex subsea equipment that must operate under high-temperature and high-pressure oil and gas conditions that occur in ultra-deep subsea reserves.

The lab also will support the subsea engineering curriculum and students, enabling them to complete capstone design projects using the latest in computational subsea engineering tools.

Recently, UH received the state’s approval to offer the nation’s first subsea engineering graduate program, which will teach the scientific and technical skills necessary to create the first generation of formally trained subsea engineering specialists. UH already offers a certificate program in subsea engineering, which also is the only such program in the United States.

“NOV has made an important investment in UH’s efforts to build a premier graduate program in subsea engineering. We are grateful to NOV for recognizing the value of this ambitious energy initiative,” said Matthew Franchek, founding director of UH’s subsea program and a mechanical engineering professor.

“The subsea engineering graduate program is part of UH’s ongoing efforts to support the area’s energy sector,” Franchek said. “With NOV’s help, this program will produce students with the skills needed to overcome the unique challenges of deepwater exploration.”

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved UH’s proposal to provide a graduate subsea engineering program, which is expected to begin in fall 2013.

Formed in partnership with the world’s leading energy engineering companies, the master’s program will include classroom lectures and hands-on software education for subsea systems design. Recognized experts in the industry will teach the courses.

Offshore oil and gas reserves are increasingly important sources of energy. Some experts believe that billions of barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas lie within federally controlled waters in the Gulf of Mexico alone. But these massive reserves lie underneath 10,000 feet of water, presenting unprecedented engineering challenges such as freezing temperatures, corrosive seawater and immense water pressure.

A subsea engineer is responsible for the design, installation and maintenance of the equipment, tools and infrastructure used in the underwater phase of the offshore oil and gas drilling and production.

Last year, UH began its subsea engineering certificate program in response to the oil industry’s increasing need for these skilled engineers. It was the first of its kind in the U.S. Subsea engineering typically has not been considered a distinct discipline in the U.S., but a number of universities abroad offer degree programs in the field.

The new subsea graduate program will dovetail into UH’s growing petroleum engineering program, which two years ago established an undergraduate degree program in addition to its graduate curriculum.

About the University of Houston

The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the nation’s best colleges for undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation’s fourth-largest city, UH serves more than 39,500 students in the most ethnically and culturally diverse region in the country.

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USA: FMC Technologies, Edison Chouest Offshore Team Up

FMC Technologies, Inc. announced today that it has formed a joint venture with Edison Chouest Offshore LLC. The new company will be based in Houston.

Utilizing the subsea technologies, tooling and expertise of FMC Technologies, and the vessel, port logistics and ROV operations of Edison Chouest Offshore, the new company intends to provide integrated vessel-based subsea services for offshore oil and gas fields globally. Services to be offered by the joint venture include equipment intervention, riserless light well intervention, plug and abandonment and other services. The company’s objective is to provide cost-effective solutions to enhance the customer’s ability to initiate, maintain, and increase production from subsea field developments through efficient operations, innovative technologies and a broad inventory of vessels and tools.

 ”We are pleased to be working with Edison Chouest Offshore to expand the portfolio of subsea services offered by FMC Technologies,” said Tore Halvorsen, FMC Technologies’ Senior Vice President, Subsea Technologies. “This joint venture will provide integrated subsea solutions to address the growing needs of our customers to increase production and improve field recovery rates.”

 ”We look forward to working with FMC Technologies on this new venture,” said Dino Chouest, Vice President of Operations, Edison Chouest Offshore. “Their leadership in the subsea market combined with our expertise in marine transportation will bring new integrated technologies and operations to the development of subsea fields.”

Subsea World News – USA: FMC Technologies, Edison Chouest Offshore Team Up.

Remote-controlled world record at Åsgard

For the very first time, remote-controlled machines and an underwater welding robot have installed a new tie-in point on a live gas pipeline, without the pipeline being prepared in advance.

Subsea Hot Tap Video Link

These types of operations can save Statoil lots of money in the long run.

The hot tap installation is the first to be carried out in connection with preparations for Åsgard subsea gas compression in the Norwegian Sea, and thus also represents a milestone for the project. The tie-in point was welded on to the Åsgard B production flowline at a water depth of 265 metres.

After ten days on the field, the hot-tap operation team on board the Technip-owned vessel Scandi Arctic could confirm success in the pioneering operation.

Kjell Edvard Apeland, project manager of the remote-controlled hot tap development in Statoil and head of the operation on the Åsgard field. (Photo: Rune Solheim)

“For a subsea engineer, this can be compared with landing on Mars,” says Kjell Edvard Apeland. He is project manager of the remote-controlled hot tap development in Statoil and head of the operation on the Åsgard field.

Simply explained, a remote-controlled hot tap operation consists of a robot welding a T-piece on to the pipe, while gas is flowing through it. When that has been done, a remote-controlled drilling machine will drill holes in the producing pipeline, with no effect on pressure and production.

“When the compressor module and the manifold for Åsgard subsea compression are installed next year, we will connect the pipeline from these to the hot-tap tie-in point,” says Apeland.

The Åsgard subsea compression project will be realised in 2015, as the first of its kind in the world. Compressors will be installed on the seabed, instead of on a platform. This will improve recovery from the Mikkel and Midgard reservoirs by around 280 million barrels of oil equivalents.

Major savings

Hot tap technology is a technological breakthrough, and a door opener for developing marginal fields, as well as extending the lifetime of other fields.

The ability to connect anywhere on a pipeline, without stopping production, yields considerable flexibility and significant savings.

Torstein Vinterstø, portfolio manager for subsea compression projects in Statoil. (Photo: Anette Westgård)

“Since we will be connecting a new compressor station on the seabed to an existing pipeline system on Åsgard, it is very beneficial to use the hot tap technology to avoid disrupting production,” says Torstein Vinterstø, portfolio manager for subsea compression projects in Statoil.

“The savings are measured compared with what it would have cost to perform a similar operation, including shutting down production in the pipeline we were working on. This would also have taken much longer than the ten days we spent now – possibly as long as three months,” he says.

Home-grown technology

The method was developed by Statoil, and there is no comparable technology.

The work to develop the technology started in 1999, and was developed in Statoil’s pipe technology environment at Killingøy outside Haugesund. Statoil’s expertise in tie-in and repair of pipelines is gathered there.

Open and constructive cooperation with our key suppliers has been instrumental in achieving this.

Statoil has already thoroughly tested the hot tap technology, with good results. Remote-controlled hot tap has previously been performed on Tampen Link on the Statfjord field in the North Sea and on the Ormen Lange field in the Norwegian Sea, but then the T-piece had already been installed on the gas pipeline in advance.

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Worldwide Field Development News Sep 8 – Sep 14, 2012

This week the SubseaIQ team added 3 new projects and updated 17 projects. You can see all the updates made over any time period via the Project Update History search. The latest offshore field develoment news and activities are listed below for your convenience.

Asia – SouthEast

Torquing the Bit for Gurame Appraisal

Sep 13, 2012 – The Gurame SE-1X well is expected to spud towards the end of September, according to MEO Australia. Success of the appraisal well could lead to early development of the Gurame oil and gas field situated offshore northern Sumatra in the Seruway PSC. The well was identified via 3D seismic as the lowest risk drill-ready candidate with the highest potential for commercial development. Drilling will be undertaken by the Hercules 208 (200′ MLC). Two attractive targets in the well, the Baong and Belumai reservoirs, are expected to be naturally fractured and gas bearing. These attributes should improve the possibility of achieving commercial flow rates. MOE maintains a 100% interest in Seruway.

Project Details: Gurame

Lundin Announces Third Gas Discovery

Sep 12, 2012 – The Berangan-1 well has proved to be Lundin Petroleum‘s third gas discovery in block SB303 offshore Malaysia. The well was drilled in 229 feet of water to a total depth of 5,607 feet by the West Courageous (350’ ILC). Data acquired from the well indicates a 541 foot gross continuous gas column in mid-Miocene sands. While Berangan-1 is the third gas discovery in SB303, it is the fourth in the contract area. Each of the 4 gas discovery lies within a 6 mile radius.

Project Details: Berangan

Phase II Approved for Galoc

Sep 11, 2012 – Otto Energy has approved the Final Investment Decision for Phase II of the Galoc field. Total project cost will be $188 million. Based on its working interest in the project, Otto will be funding 33 percent of the cost, or $62 million. The scope of work for Phase II includes drilling two subsea wells, tying back the wells to the existing FPSO and installing a second production riser and control umbilical. Both wells are expected to commence production during the second half of 2013. The two new Phase II wells will increase field production rates to 12,000 bopd from the current rate of 5,600 bopd.

Project Details: Galoc

Europe – North Sea

BP Sells Stake in Draugen

Sep 13, 2012 – BP has announced it reached an agreement to sell its 18.36% stake in Draugen Field in the Norwegian Sea to Norske Shell for $240 million. The deal, subject to regulatory approval, should be completed by the end of the year. BP’s net production from the Shell-operated Draugen field averages 6,000 barrels per day. Since 2010, BP has entered into agreements to sell assets valued at $33 billion. In an effort to focus more on growth opportunities and its core business strengths BP expects to divest $38 billion in assets between 2010 and 2013.

Project Details: Draugen

Providence Resources Confirms Plans for Dunquin Prospect

Sep 13, 2012 – Providence Resources has been informed by ExxonMobil that a letter of intent has been signed for the use of Ocean Rig’s Eirik Raude (UDW semisub). The rig will be used to drill the Dunquin prospect located in Frontier Exploration Licence 3/04 offshore Ireland. Program duration is expected to take up to 6 months and will commence in the first quarter of 2013, pending corporate and co-venture contract approvals. Partners in the exploration license include operator ExxonMobile (27.5%), Eni (27.5%), Repsol (25%), Providence Resources (16%) and Sosina Exploration (4%).

Project Details: Dunquin Project

Exploration Well Spuds at Geite

Sep 12, 2012 – JV partner Bridge Energy has announced the start of operations at exploration well 7/11-13 on the Norwegian continental shelf. The well is targeting the Triassic reservoir Geite prospect which is located 19 miles (30 kilometers) west of the Ula field. The Maersk Guardian (350′ ILC) is drilling the well and is expected to be on location for a minimum of 80 days.

Project Details: Geite

N. America – US Alaska

Shell Starts Drilling in Chukchi Sea

Sep 12, 2012 – Shell’s much anticipated Chukchi Sea drilling campaign is underway marking the first attempt in 20 years to explore offshore U.S. Arctic petroleum resources. Currently, the Noble Discoverer (mid-water drillship) is being used to drill the mud line cellar and top-hole sections of the first well. This is expected to take two weeks, after which the Discoverer will either continue drilling the Burger prospect or will move to another location to drill the top-hole section. Part of that decision will rest on whether or not the company is able to obtain a permit to drill past the surface sections into the oil bearing portion of the well. Shell has plans to drill three wells in the Chukchi Sea and two wells in the Beaufort Sea if the weather cooperates.

Project Details: Burger, SW Shoebill, Cracker Jack

Africa – Other

Apache’s Kenyan Well Hits Gas

Sep 11, 2012 – Africa-focused Tullow Oil reported Monday that the Mbawa-1 exploration well, currently being drilled by Apache Corporation offshore Kenya, has encountered gas in its shallowest objective. Mbawa-1, located in the L8 license, has so far been drilled to a depth of 8,375 feet and it has encountered approximately 170 feet of net gas pay in porous Cretaceous sandstones. The Deepsea Metro I (UDW Drillship) is now drilling the well to a total depth of 10,745 feet. Apache is the operator of Block L8 with a 50-percent interest. Tullow holds a 15-percent interest.

Project Details: Mbawa

Black Sea

Beach Gains 30% of Est Cobalcescu

Sep 12, 2012 – Melrose Resources has agreed to farm-out 30% of its equity in the Est Cobalcescu exploration concession in the Black Sea to Beach Petroleum. Once the transaction is completed, Melrose will retain operatorship of the concession. Terms dictate that Beach will pay its proportionate share of past costs and cover Melrose’s share of the recently completed seismic survey.

Africa – West

Partners Reprocessing Seismic Data for Aje

Sep 13, 2012 – The joint venture partners for Aje, led by YFP, are reprocessing seismic data related to the Aje discovery with a focus on the Cenomanian reservoir. The joint venture is mulling the potential for early oil development as the technical review could lead to an increase in Cenomanian oil volumes. An appraisal well may be drilled in 2013 targeting the reservoir.

Project Details: Aje

N. America – US GOM

Petrobras Turns on the Taps at Chinook

Sep 13, 2012 – Petrobras has started production at its Chinook field in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. The Chinook #4 well was drilled and completed in Lower Tertiary reservoirs. Production from Chinook is processed by the BW Pioneer – the first FPSO to operate in U.S. waters.

Project Details: The Greater Chinook Area

Plains Buys Shell’s Stake in Holstein

Sep 12, 2012 – It has been announced that Plains Exploration & Production has agreed to buy Shell’s 50% working interest in the Holstein Field for approximately $560 million. The transaction is effective October 2012 and should close by the end of the year. Holstein, located in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, began producing in December 2004 and is facilitated by a spar platform anchored in 4,400 feet of water. Average net production at the field is 7,400 boepd. The remaining 50% interest in the field is held by BP.

Project Details: Holstein

S. America – Brazil

Canario Spud Expected in Next Few Weeks

Sep 13, 2012 – Vanco is preparing to move the GSF Arctic I (mid-water semisub) to drill its Canario prospect on BM-S-63. This is the second well in their three-well program offshore Brazil. Drilling is expected to commence in approximately two weeks.

Project Details: Canario

Sabia Likely to Disappoint

Sep 13, 2012 – Vanco Energy’s Sabia well reached a depth of 13,779 feet when a decision was made to stop drilling short of the proposed depth of 14,717 feet. Based on current well data, the discovered volumes are at the low end of the pre-drill range estimate. While the well encountered an active petroleum system, the commerciality of the discovery cannot be firmly made at this time. The information obtained from the well is likely to have a positive impact on the next two prospects to be drilled – Canario and Jandaia.

Project Details: Sabia

First Production at Baleia Azul

Sep 12, 2012 – Petrobras has announced the start of oil production at the Baleia Azul presalt field in the offshore Camps Basin. First oil from the field is being pumped aboard the Cidade de Anchieta FPSO. The Cidade de Anchieta is one of two new production systems that Petrobras will put into operation in 2012. Initial production at Baleia Azul is a good sign for Petrobras whose oil production has taken a hit this year due to maintenance and unexpected shutdowns. The company has also announced plans to bring Bauna and Piracaba fields online in October. Petrobras holds a 100% stake in the fields.

Project Details: Espadarte

Worldwide Field Development News Aug 24 – Aug 30, 2012

This week the SubseaIQ team added 4 new projects and updated 13 projects. You can see all the updates made over any time period via the Project Update History search. The latest offshore field development news and activities are listed below for your convenience.

Australia

WHL Energy to Fast-Track 3D Seismic Program

Aug 28, 2012 – Based on “strong industry interest”, WHL is planning to speed up its 3D seismic acquisition program in Exploration Permit VIC/P67 by 12 months. The undeveloped La Bella gas field is located in the Permit and contains an estimated 150 billion cubic feet of contingent resources. Currently, WHL is looking for partners to participate in the data acquisition program which it expects to start in 2Q 2013. The program involves purchasing and assessing 313 square miles of 3D seismic data and is subject to regulatory environmental approvals.

Project Details: La Bella

Mediterranean

Noble Moves Forward with Putting Leviathan 2 to Bed

Aug 28, 2012 – Noble Mediterranean Energy along with external consulting firms and the Israeli Department of Energy and Water have selected an alternate plan for sealing and abandoning drilling operations in Leviathan 2 offshore Israel. Drilling will be carried out by the ENSCO 5006 (DW semisub) for an estimated period of 60 days at a cost of $46.6 million. However, due to the complexity of the plan, deviations to these estimates are likely. Noble, the field operator, does not expect any environmental damage to result from the abundance of water produced from Leviathan drilling operations.
Noble and its partners Ratio, Delek and Avner are covered by “control of well” insurance that will takeover expenses for re-drilling and sealing and abandonment of operations up to $200 million per case. So far, the Leviathan 2 partnership has received $53 million for 100% coverage.

Project Details: Leviathan

BP Discovers Gas in Two Fields in the North El Burg Concession

Aug 27, 2012 – BP Egypt announced the discovery of gas in both the Taurt North and Seth South fields in the North El Burg offshore concession, Nile Delta. Satis-1 and Satis-3 Oligocene deep and Salmon-1 shallow Pleistocene were previous discoveries made by BP in this same concession. The stakeholders in the North El Burg Offshore Concession are the operator BP and its partner IEOC, each holding a 50% interest.
BP Egypt announced the discovery of gas in both the Taurt North and Seth South fields in the North El Burg offshore concession, Nile Delta. Satis-1 and Satis-3 Oligocene deep and Salmon-1 shallow Pleistocene were previous discoveries made by BP in this same concession. The stakeholders in the North El Burg Offshore Concession are the operator BP and its partner IEOC, each holding a 50% interest. The Scarabeo 4 (mid-water semisub) drilled both the Taurt North for Seth South wells for IEOC on behalf of the concession operator BP in water depths of 361 feet (110 meters) and 256 feet (78 meters), respectively. Presence of gas was confirmed by wireline logs, pressure data and fluid samples in one Pleistocene interval in Taurt North and in two Plio-Pleistocene intervals in Seth South. Studies are being conducted to determine options for tying both discoveries to a nearby existing infrastructure.

Project Details: North El Burg

Europe – North Sea

Providence Prepares for Site Survey at Spanish Point

Aug 29, 2012 – Irish explorer Providence Resources confirmed that site survey operations are about to commence on its Spanish Point acreage in the Main Porcupine Basin off the west coast of Ireland. The work is being carried out by Chrysaor on behalf of the Spanish Point partners and is part of the preparations for the drilling of an appraisal well in 2013. The operations are expected to be finished in early September. Providence, currently the operator of the FEL 2/04 license although it recently agreed to transfer this role to Chrysaor, holds a 32% interest while Chrysaor holds 60%.

Project Details: Spanish Point

Antrim Signs Oil Sales Contract for Causeway

Aug 28, 2012 – Antrim Energy has entered into an oil sales contract with BP Oil International. The contract covers Antrim’s 35.5% share of oil produced from the Causeway field in UK Block 211/23d. Other partners in the field are Valiant Causeway Limited (54%) and Valiant Gamma Limited (10.5%). Production at Causeway is expected to begin shortly and will be facilitated using the North Cormorant Platform. The contract also allows Antrim to include its share of oil production from the nearby Fionn field once production is brought online, which is expected in mid-2013.

Project Details: Causeway

TAQA Bratani Explores Contender Prospect

Aug 28, 2012 – TAQA Bratani has announced that exploration drilling operations are underway at Block 211/22a of the UK North Sea. The well is being drilled from the TAQA operated Cormorant North production platform which is located just west of the Contender prospect. The objective of the well is to test Jurassic Brent sandstones at a depth of 16,900 feet. TAQA agreed to cover 100% of the drilling and completion costs of the Contender well and has earned a 60% interest in the block. If it is determined that Contender should be developed, it will be tied into the Cormorant North Platform.

Project Details: Contender

Shell Awards Contract to Framo Engineering for Draugen Field

Aug 27, 2012 – A/S Norske Shell has awarded a $100 million contract to Framo Engineering to supply its Draugen field with a complete subsea, multiphase booster pump system which includes topside power and control, power and control umbilical and the complete subsea pump module and manifold. Framo, a Schlumberger company, will install the system in Norwegian waters at a depth of 8,202 feet (250 meters). The system is designed to facilitate increased oil production in the Draugen field and will be installed in the summer of 2014.

Project Details: Draugen

Utsira High Yields New Discovery for Statoil

Aug 27, 2012 – Statoil has made a discovery in the North Sea’s Utsira High within the Geitungen prospect. Well 16/2-12 intercepted a 115 foot (35 meter) oil column within a high-quality, Jurassic reservoir. Estimated volumes are between 140 and 270 million barrels of recoverable oil equivalents. Basement rock was also found to hold oil. Well 16/2-12, the eighth well in PL265, was drilled by the Ocean Vanguard (mid-water semisub) to a vertical depth of 6,709 feet (2,045 meters).
Geitungen has been defined as its own prospect in the PL265. Although it was drilled 1.86 miles (3 kilometers) north of the Johan Sverdrup discovery, well data indicates communication between the two discoveries is likely.
Statoil is the operator of PL265 and holds a 40% interest in the license. Its partners include Petoro AS with 30%, Det norske oljeselskap ASA with 20% and Lundin Norway AS holding the balance of the license with 10%.

Project Details: Geitungen

Successful Appraisal at Johan Sverdrup

Aug 27, 2012 – Lundin Petroleum’s fifth Johan Sverdrup appraisal well has reached a final depth of 6,758 feet at Production License (PL) 501. Well 16/2-13S was drilled by the Transocean Arctic (mid-water semisub) in 380 feet of water. An 82-foot gross oil column was encountered in Upper and Middle Jurassic sandstone. Coring and logging operations were carried out and confirmed excellent reservoir quality. The well will now be sidetracked in an effort to investigate: the depth to top reservoir, lateral thickness and properties of the Jurassic reservoir and to establish an oil water contact.

Project Details: Johan Sverdrup

Africa – West

Petroci Increases Stake in Gazelle Field

Aug 30, 2012 – Rialto Energy announced that Petroci Holdings, C??te d???Ivoire state-owned oil and gas company, is exercising its option to maximize its interest in the Gazelle Field located offshore in Block CI-202. Petroci will back-in for an additional 11% paying interest making its overall interest 26% (comprising a 16% paying interest). This transaction will reduce Rialto’s interest in the field to 74% (84% paying interest). However, its remaining interest in Block CI-202 – outside of the Gazelle Field – remains at 85% (95% paying interest). In the next six months, Petroci Holdings will reimburse Rialto for an 11% share of an estimated $10 million of historical cost that is associated with the Gazelle Field. From the point of the back-in date, Petroci will pay 16% of any future costs. Rialto has a 25-year permit to produce hydrocarbons from Gazelle.

Project Details: Gazelle

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