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Artificial Lift in Offshore and Deepwater Environments

20 – 25 October 2013 :: Rancho Mirage, California, USA

Technical Agenda

Session I: Where are we today?

Session Managers: Mike Berry and Stuart Scott

Artificial lift is an enabling technology in the extension of field life and ultimately increased reserves recovery, but it does not come without infrastructure, cost, and ever increasing logistics and commissioning challenges. To fully appreciate the complexity of artificial lift in deepwater and offshore environments, this session will focus on developing a common understanding of the current technology, the current roadblocks, and the perceived path forward in the near term. This session will set the stage for the week ahead and should leave participants with more questions than answers.

Session II: What in the world are we going to do maximize production in a deepwater well?

Session Managers: Robert Rivera and John Patterson

Reliability, financial risk, environmental risk, and the impact they have on the economics of all projects cannot be underestimated. Often misunderstood and poorly quantified the impact of reliability, efficiency, and quality can drive a project’s economics. This is evident in artificial lift applications in highly leveraged arenas such as deepwater and offshore. This session will discuss the impact and forward thinking to improve reliability and efficiency to minimize project risk and hence improve overall economics.

Session III: Artificial lift and advanced well completion technology—building the adaptive well production system

Session Managers: Mike Konopczynski and Kevin Scarsdale

The high price of offshore and deep-water well construction and completion necessitates the application of a broad range of advanced technologies to ensure success in achieving well integrity, productivity, and hydrocarbon reserve recovery. We have already seen a proliferation of downhole sensing and flow control technologies being applied to offshore wells. The future of completion and artificial lift technology in this environment will bring us “smarter” devices and components with which we construct the well.  Expect more sensors and control incorporated in sand control, intelligent wells, artificial lift, safety systems, production conduits and wellheads. The wells of the future will incorporate more complex architecture (horizontals and multi-laterals), may be multi-purpose (production, injection, observation), and may incorporate down-hole processing. “Adaptive well completions” will incorporate technologies to manage the performance of the well through all phases of its life.

Inherent in the success of future artificial lift and these advanced completions will be the effective integration of these technologies, perhaps sharing data communication and power infrastructure, relaying command and control, and working together to optimize not just a single component’s performance, but the entire well production and integrity systems.

This session will explore the future of advanced well completions in offshore and deep-water environments, and the effective integration of artificial lift with these new technologies. Well architecture, construction, completion technologies, data acquisition, process control, integrity monitoring and system optimization will be discussed, focusing on the role of artificial lift in the well completion of the future.

Session IV: Reservoir, wellbore, flowline intelligence

Session Managers: Bill Lane and Mark Petrie

For effective artificial lift in deep water environments, it is critical to have accurate intelligence regarding what is actually happening in the reservoir, wellbore, and flow lines.

The inflow and distribution of fluid phases must be understood in order to optimize production. The status and condition of lift systems must be known in order to maximize efficiency and avoid equipment failures. Remote control of lift systems is vital to optimize production over the life of the well. This session will target identifying the next generation of technologies for subsea sensors and surveillance, communication, subsurface actuation, subsurface power, artificial lift intelligence, and automation. Discussions will touch on the technologies that are currently available while focusing on identifying those technologies that will be required for the future.

Session V: Flow assurance

Session Managers: Bob Arisman and Stuart Scott

Wikipedia describes flow assurance (another term for multiphase transport) as a relatively new discipline in oil and gas industry. It refers to ensuring successful and economical flow of hydrocarbon stream from reservoir to the point of sale. The term was coined by Petrobras in the early 1990s in Portuguese as Garantia do Escoamento (pt::Garantia do Escoamento), meaning literally “Guarantee of Flow”, or Flow Assurance.

Flow assurance can be extremely diverse, encompassing many discrete and specialized subjects with bridging across the full gamut of engineering disciplines. Besides system modeling and transient miltiphase simulation, flow assurance incorporates effectively handling many solid deposits, such as gas hydrates, asphaltene, wax, scale, naphthenates, and others. Flow assurance is most critical task during deep water energy production because of the highly complex, long distances, high pressures, and potential low sea temperatures involved. The financial loss from production interruption, intervention, or asset damage due to flow assurance mishap can be astronomical. What compounds the flow assurance task even further is that these flow regimes and solid deposits can interact with each other and can cause catastrophic blockage formation in systems and a result of a flow assurance failure.

Does it have to be this way? What future developments are needed to facilitate and enhance our understanding of these critical path disciplines?

Topics of discussion for the forum may include the following: multiphase and thermal modeling, thermal investigation of flow systems, corrosion and erosion due to solids, new methods for fluid characterization, wet gas and multiphase flow metering, advanced test facilities, subsea separation, compression, boosting, remote system monitoring and controls, predictive failure trending, special connectors and pipe, manifolds, trees, overall system integration, repair and maintenance, sea floor power systems, water handling and reinjection, and others.  Breakout sessions may be selected for high interest topics.

Session VI: Seafloor transportation and subsea design

Session Managers: Larry Forster and Peter Lawson

Subsea processing offers potentially significant improvements to reservoir recovery factor and reduced cost of facility infrastructure. Recovery factor increase is estimated between 20% and 30% depending on water depth and the market has the potential to increase twenty fold by 2020.* However, adoption has been slow mainly due to the fears of low reliability and some of the technical challenges posed. This session will review what has been done to date and discuss the successes and failures. It will also discuss what technical advances require to be made to increase the system efficiency and adoption. In particular, it will address the following key areas aimed at ensuring improved adoption of the technology:

  • Seabed boosting systems: the pro’s and con’s of each system and where one may be suited over another.
  • Subsea separation: what’s different on the seabed than surface?
  • Subsea power distribution: what needs to be done to marinize?
  • Subsea processing condition monitoring and control: what technologies are needed to develop?
  • Equipment deployment methodology
  • Chemical treatment: can we improve the delivery system?

*Source: Morgan Stanley report Jan 2013.


Session VII: Impact on facility, operability and surveillance, and security of the information

Session Managers: John Patterson and Michael Romer

In this session, we will explore issues with production assurance in association with facility design. Does the subsea equipment impact the ability to maintain production? Does the length of the subsea development to the terminal location impact production? How does slugging in the pipelines impact facility designs? How much processing can be done on the sea floor and what does this include? How effective can water and gas separation and reinjection for reservoir pressure management be conducted? How can this be subsea “facilities” be controlled and monitored? How confident can these subsea facilities be operated as Smart fields? What about system security and can control schemes and information become corrupted?

Session VIII: Material science

Session Managers: Bill Lane and Charles Burke

In the deepwater environment, the long term reliability of the lift installation is critical and systems must be optimized for efficient production. Material development and application solutions are required to address erosion and corrosion, friction and wear, electrical integrity, sealing effectiveness, and flow assurance to name but a few. This session will foster discussion on the challenges of the environment and performance requirements faced by HPHT materials. What gaps exist in non-metallics and what role do composites and nano-technologies play and what can be leveraged from other industries utilizing high strength materials to solve these challenges? Standardized material screening tests should be determined to simulate operation and provide comparative performance data, and predictive performance modelling is critical to maximize the installation investment. This session should help define best practices and may lead to follow up actions to provide clarity of direction for academia and the materials development value stream in support of the offshore and deepwater lift market.

Session IX: Wrap-up

Session Managers: Robert Lannom and Vicky Jackson Nielsen