Category Archives: Technology

Seabox AS Acquired by NOV

National Oilwell Varco (NOV) has acquired 97% of the shares in Seabox for an undisclosed amount from a group of shareholders led by HitecVision.

Seabox is a Norwegian subsea technology company founded around the patented SWIT technology (Subsea Water Intake & Treatment). The technology enables treatment of raw seawater on the seabed (as opposed to on a platform) for injection into oil & gas wells for pressure support and increased oil recovery.

The company was established in 2004, and has, through a series of Joint Industry Projects backed by the Norwegian Research Council and by potential end-users such as ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, Shell, Total, Statoil, GDF Suez and others, developed the technology to a level where it is now ready for commercialization. Seabox has 12 employees.

Helge Lunde, CEO of Seabox comments: “We are very excited to team up with NOV’s global organization, which will significantly increase our reach and chances of succeeding in commercializing our technology. We are both proud and happy for their recognition of our efforts and technical solutions, and their commitment to backing us through the coming growth phase. We are convinced that our growth will be faster and stronger together with NOV.”

Michael Hjorth, President of Flexibles and Subsea Production Systems, comments: “NOV has a strong history and presence in Norway, where some of our key technologies for drilling, turret mooring and deck cranes have been developed, and to a large degree also manufactured. When it comes to subsea, which is an area where NOV wants to develop and expand, Norway is pretty much the “Silicon Valley” of the industry, so it is natural for us to search for new technologies and ideas here. In Seabox we have found what we deem to be innovative yet robust technical solutions, which offer more cost effective solutions but more importantly will offer the oil & gas companies greater flexibility in optimizing their reservoir drainage and field profitability. This is a huge market, with some 250 million barrels of seawater injected daily world-wide, which is almost three times the daily oil production. We are excited to explore these market opportunities together with Seabox.”

Image: Seabox

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Austin, TX :: BP, UT Team Up in O&G Research Projects

BP announced it will commit $4 million to launch a new strategic partnership with The University of Texas at Austin to support several leading-edge oil and gas industry research projects, with the potential for increased contributions as new studies are identified in the future.

The unique collaboration between the two institutions, which highlights BP’s ongoing commitment to higher education and research, aims to develop real-world solutions to a number of technical challenges facing the global oil and gas industry, both onshore and offshore.

One initial area of focus is related to Project 20K™, a multi-year initiative announced by BP in early 2012 that seeks to develop next-generation systems and tools to help unlock the next frontier of deepwater oil and gas resources, currently beyond the reach of today’s technology. Accessing these resources is a key part of BP’s commitment to U.S. energy security.

The University of Texas’ Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering will work with the Project 20K™ team to study the impact of “human factors” on the drilling process and the potential for new systems that can enhance safety and efficiency. A second area of activity will be to develop a reliability assessment process for BP’s project team to use in quantifying the “system-level reliability” of Project 20K™ concepts.

Other joint research projects include one that seeks to improve recoveries from shale gas and oil formations through a deep investigation of fracturing fluids’ impact on well productivity. Another focuses on enhancing early detection of “kicks” – the sudden influx of hydrocarbons into a well – by using real-time well data and predictive models to better inform operational decisions, in support of BP’s commitment to safe and reliable operations.

“This is not just theoretical research,” said James Dupree, BP’s Chief Operating Officer, Reservoir Development & Technology. “Under this partnership, we are tackling real-world challenges that, if better understood, could have far-reaching impacts not only on BP but on the future of global energy development.”

Administered by a joint governance board, the program has established a rigorous process for selecting research projects that play to the university’s world-class strengths in engineering and geosciences as well as meet BP’s strategic business needs.

BP is funding research in the Cockrell School’s Departments of Mechanical Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering and Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering.

“This partnership allows our faculty and graduate students to solve challenging, relevant problems in global energy development, to work collaboratively with leading scientists and engineers from BP, and to see how their solutions are implemented in a real-world setting,” said John Ekerdt, associate dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering. “We look forward to the new interdisciplinary opportunities our researchers will have to develop technologies that will have a far-reaching societal benefit.”

While the agreement is initially focused on several specific research projects, the intent is to establish a long-term partnership between BP and the University of Texas that is beneficial to both and that could later result in increased funding. Successes in early projects will help build the basis for future collaboration, with the ultimate goal of taking the research and technologies developed through the program from the lab and into the field.

Press Release, November 01, 2013

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Statoil Signs LoI for AGR’s EC-Drill Managed Pressure Drilling System

Offshore technology provider AGR Enhanced Drilling, via its subsidiary Ocean Riser Systems, has entered into a NOK120m (USD20m) Letter of Intent (LOI) together with Statoil to deliver the next-generation EC-Drill® Managed Pressure Drilling system.

This latest contract will replace a purchase order made last year, when Statoil joined with Norway-based Enhanced Drilling to further develop its EC-Drill® Managed Pressure Drilling (MPD) solution for floating rigs. The initial phase of the project was worth US$5.1m.

The next-generation EC-Drill® system incorporates state-of-the-art control system capability, enhanced riser integration and multiple other features. Testing of the system is due to commence in the autumn and it will eventually be used on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

EC-Drill® is a step-change MPD solution, solving a challenge commonly encountered in deep-water wells: drilling within a Narrow Pressure Window. EC-Drill® manipulates bottom-hole pressure by changing the level of drilling mud in the riser, enabling the operator to ‘walk the line’ between pore and fracture pressures. It provides a far greater degree of control than conventional drilling while enhancing safety, plus it is possible to cost-effectively hit deep targets that are simply impractical to reach with more traditional drilling techniques.

David Hine, Executive Vice President at Enhanced Drilling, said from the company’s head office in Straume: “This further commitment by Statoil is another significant endorsement of EC-Drill® as a game-changing technology and the benefits that it brings. This next-generation system is a further step in taking Enhanced Drilling towards the forefront of the MPD market.”

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VIDEO: ‘Overdrill’ Drillship Design by Fincantieri and Aker Solutions

Fincantieri, one of the world’s largest shipbuilders, has launched a video showing its drillship design: The Overdrill.

The vessel is the next generation drillship which will enable the drilling contractors to drill to a maximum depth of 50.000 feet.

The design has been developed by joint effort of Fincantieri and Aker Solutions. The OVERDRILL design was first introduced to the public last month during the Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, USA.

During the event, Giuseppe Coronella, EVP of Fincantieri Offshore, stated: “The offshore drilling market is driven, on the one hand, by demand for traditional standard systems and, on the other, by ultra-deepwater exploration demanding innovative solutions. With support from Aker Solutions, Fincantieri has produced a rig design that provides solutions to both these needs”.

Click here to see the video.

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Ulstein Presents Benefits of Its SX121 Design

Advancement in technology is permitting the offshore oil and gas industry to move into progressively deeper and colder waters in remote locations. ULSTEIN supports this development by providing products and solutions that contribute to safer, smarter and greener operations.

A case in point is the versatile and flexible OCV/subsea vessel design SX121, which ULSTEIN is currently building customized versions of for GC Rieber Shipping and Island Offshore. The design can be tailored for a multitude of offshore construction and subsea operations in deep and ultra-deep waters both below and above the Arctic Circle.

Deepwater and ultra-deepwater projects occur outside of the continental shelf at water depths between 400 and 1,500 metres and depths greater than 1,500 metres respectively. Deep waters mean remote locations, harsh weather conditions and sensitive ecosystems. This type of environment requires vessels that are reliable and safe, cost-efficient and environmentally sound.

“We aim to develop ships that can operate reliably, safely and efficiently in harsh conditions with as small an environmental footprint as possible. The robust configuration, system integration and X-BOW® hull line of the SX121 ensure safety and comfort for the crew, an increased operational window and significantly reduced environmental impact,” says sales manager in Ulstein Design & Solutions, Lars Ståle Skoge.

Currently, there are four sailing SX121 vessels designed and built by ULSTEIN. The vessels, which operate in different segments such as offshore construction, riserless well intervention and inspection/maintenance/repair, have received very good feedback.

Gordon L. Wilkinson in Veolia ES said the following about ‘Viking Poseidon’’s work in the Gulf of Mexico: “She is the Queen of the Gulf.”

At the end of 2012 shipowner Island Offshore, together with their American partner Edison Chouest Offshore, ordered another SX121 vessel from ULSTEIN currently under construction at Ulstein Verft. “We’ve received very good feedback on our two operating vessels of this design, ‘Island Constructor’ and ‘Island Intervention’,” says Technical Manager in Island Offshore, Trond Hauge. “I’m confident that this type of vessel is a safe and comfortable platform for the performance of advanced work in the years to come.”

Optimized for heavier installations

“The SX121 is a compact vessel that can perform deepwater and ultra-deepwater operations for which currently larger vessels are frequently used, thus providing the customer with a more cost-efficient solution,” says Håvard Stave, Sales Manager in Ulstein Verft.

“The typical SX121 vessel operates at depths down to 3,000 metres, which comprises most current oil & gas activities. The need to deploy heavier equipment in deep waters such as offshore Brazil and Africa and in the Gulf of Mexico, has spurred market interest in OCV vessels with a 400-tonne crane, which we’ve now incorporated in the SX121 design.”

ULSTEIN has drawn on experiences from its latest SX121 projects, and optimized the utilization of the hull with regards to work from deck as well as crane construction work, resulting in an even more versatile OCV/subsea vessel.

The robust platform is optimized for efficient operations in deep waters with a crane capacity of up to 400 tonnes and a substantial remaining deck loading capacity, and it can be configured for a variety of mission equipment. There is a large deck area of 1,750 m2, and the area around the main moon pool is reinforced in order to sustain a VLS or module handling system. The ROV installation is designed and chosen for operations in significant wave heights of 4.5 metres or more. Two heavy-duty work ROVs are situated in the enclosed hangar, one to be deployed from the starboard side, the other through a dedicated moon pool.

Extended redundancy

A reliable vessel is key for cost-efficiency, as down-time and aborting on-going operations are costly affairs, particularly when operating far from shore.

The SX121 vessel meets the highest standard for position keeping, DYNPOS-AUTRO, with redundancy on all major components. Featuring the ‘Operation+’ concept, an increase in redundancy in AUTR operations if a single major failure occurs, the vessel will still maintain system redundancy throughout the most critical areas. The typical configuration is diesel electric propulsion powered by six identical medium speed main generator sets. The switchboard system, propellers and diesel motors can be configured in groups of two, three or four. If a major failure occurs, the vessel will only lose one third of its power and propulsion. The combination of system architecture and power stations, three side thrusters and three main thrusters, ensures that the operation can be safely completed using two thirds of its capacity.

Smart and safe

In order to optimize capacities and performance of the vessel, the freeboard has been increased by one metre compared with the previously built vessels of this design. This increase also improves safety and ensures a dry work deck. In addition, the helideck has been moved further back in order to increase the weather window for helicopter landings.

The vessel’s X-BOW provides good motion characteristics for safe operations. It also reduces the vessel’s environmental footprint through lower fuel consumption and reduced emissions. With optimized resolution of the power generation plant, the vessel will have high fuel efficiency in all operational modes.

The vessel accommodates a crew of 130 and complies with all international requirements for comfort and safety.

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