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SPE Deepwater: Crossing the Thresholds

16 – 18 September 2014

Mumbai, India | Hyatt Regency Hotel

Technical Agenda

Wednesday, 17 September, 0900–1030

Session 1: Case Histories—Field Development

Session Chair: Sid Jain, Shell; Barry Wethington, BP

The purpose of this session is to focus on case histories of various deepwater projects around the globe the issues and challenges faced (technical, commercial, and regulatory), lessons learnt, and how the challenges have been successfully overcome.

The session may provide ideas that can be directly replicated to future developments, but more importantly, highlight approaches taken to resolve such issues.  


Session 2: Managing Subsurface Risks

Session Chair:Debshis Gupta, Schlumberger; Ram Narayanan, BP

Reservoir appraisal in deepwater environment is expensive and the real challenge is to get the right amount of information in a cost effective manner early in the project to reduce subsurface related risks. This session will consider advanced technologies and workflows that assist in delivering sufficient subsurface definition to allow key project decisions to be made.

Industry experts from operators, service companies, and academia are invited to present papers and lead discussions in the following areas:

  • Sedimentation history and hydrocarbon play fairways in deepwater regime
  • Seismic imaging below basalt
  • Advanced seismic processing and interpretation applied to deepwater reservoirs
  • Petrophysical characterisation
  • Static and dynamic modelling


Session 3: Well Construction

Session Chairs: Ranajit Chakraverti, Transocean; Shashi Shanker, ONGC

E&P operators in India have drilled more than 150 wells for exploration, appraisal, and development of deepwater blocks offshore India. Many of the deepwater discoveries have led to further requirements for drilling development wells. The complex deepwater drilling operations require a thorough understanding of the geological challenges which can be addressed with suitable well design criteria, associated equipment, and well construction management; in order to meet the critical requirements of safety and well integrity, productivity targets, and cost per well.

Drilling and completions of wells contribute significantly to deepwater field development costs with major field challenges forcing the E&P industry to keep improving well planning and execution methodologies.

This session will focus on the critical areas that are relevant to operations in Indian deepwater such as:

  • Well construction with special focus on HPHT operations
  • Efficient drilling of development wells
  • Well integrity


Session 4: Well and Subsea Intervention

Session Chairs: A. Reghu Padmanabhan, Baker Hughes; Ashok Varma, ONGC

Well intervention is a dreaded word in deepwater. Rig availability itself is a major constraint, apart from the high daily rates and mobilisation costs of deepwater drilling rigs. The operators try to plan their wells in such a manner that no intervention may ever be required and so invest heavily on intelligent completions with most possible options in place. The larger the number of options, the higher the complexity of an intelligent completion, larger the number of components and therefore higher is the probability of failure of one of them. Reservoir surprises such as early breakthrough of water or lower than anticipated influx or faster pressure decline also do not spare deepwater wells. An easier, faster, and cheaper intervention solution is the need of the hour to prolong the life of a well. Besides restoring the wells to their optimal capacity, these solutions would also hold the promise of subsequent exploitation of smaller, leftover, or otherwise uneconomical layers. Rig less intervention with or without a riser is one of the options to provide a lower-cost technical solution.

This session aims to showcase the tremendous potential of this hitherto under-developed segment, the challenges it faces, case studies, and improvements that can be further brought in.


Session 5: Development Concepts

Session Chairs: Shashank Jha, GE Oil & Gas; Georges Michel, Technip

Different strokes for different folks—that is the story with field development concepts. What drives the selection of offshore vs onshore processing, FPSO vs a semi sub, subsea processing vs topside processing, single drill center vs multiple drill centers, dry tree vs wet tree, subsea HIPPS vs topside HIPPS, etc? As we grapple with the question of selecting the right development concept to help us cross the threshold and move the project from planning to execution, one should recognise what works in North Sea or Gulf of Mexico may not work in India. Nevertheless, best practices can still be leveraged.

Above all; how to plan the project schedule based on what has been achieved on recently executed projects globally? What is a good benchmark for field development cost—Is a 5 well development in the Arctic comparable to a 5 well development in Arabian sea? How do various global operators design and split their tender packages between FEED, subsea production systems, EPC, drilling and completion, pipeline and umbilicals? For a long cycle project, how to ensure availability of vessels, manufacturing capacity, and engineering capacity? Do frame agreements work better than individual tenders? Who are the global E&P operators that work through frame agreements? Etc.

There are hundreds of questions but there are no right answers. Primarily, what factors drive development concept decisions? Most experts would say 'it depends'. However, this session would be an attempt to throw light on some of the most commonly asked questions around field development concepts and engage participants in a debate around what would work best for deepwater developments in India.

Thursday, 18 September, 0900–1030

Session 6: Deepwater Facilities and Operations

Session Chairs: Marin Abelanet, Subsea7; P.K. Verma, Reliance Industries Limited

This session will concentrate on solutions that are being developed and already being used worldwide, such as larger subsea structure deployment, rigid and flexible flow lines, umbilicals and risers, control systems, and potentially particular floating solutions, all being applicable to deepwater depths. A strong focus will be placed on existing and/or already realised projects to share lessons learnt. New technologies developed for deepwater, new methods for asset integrity, flow assurance issues etc. will also be discussed and presented.

The aim of the session is to generate interesting questions around issues that were experienced from the East Coast of India, which could be further developed by the presenters.


Session 7: Project Execution–Best Practices

Session Chairs: Juju Mathew, Wood Group Kenny; Arunabha Sen, McDermott

Deepwater field development involves high CAPEX costs involving specialist equipment, tools, vessels, and personnel. With the complexities of the constituents, it is important that ‘we get it right the first time’ and there is enough contingency planning to take care of any eventualities. The risks associated with the projects vary with the location, infrastructure, operator, and other associated service providers. Added to this is lack or accuracy of design data and environmental data available, which impacts the overall project execution significantly.

Offshore India is over 40 years old, but the deepwater discoveries and production activities are fairly new. East Coast of India where most of the current deepwater activities are identified has a fairly short installation weather window with certain amount of unpredictable weather incidents even within the fair weather season.

Additionally, the seabed bathymetry is complex with fairly steep gradients and possible seabed movements. ONGC has on record the deepest well drilled in terms of water depth, but production is restricted to less than 500 m. This indicates the gap in project development phase.

This session is dedicated to bring out the best practices in Project Management which could be adopted to suit the above constraints of developing a fairly new field and comply with regulatory requirements.


Session 8: Breakout Group: Crossing The Thresholds

Session Chairs: Sid Jain, Shell; T.K. Sengupta, ONGC

Discussion leaders will be selected to lead a breakout group based on the topics listed below and attendees will be requested to select their preferred discussion group for the breakout session to maximise the opportunity to interact with other participants.

  • Development Concept for Early Monetisation
  • Creating Partnerships
  • Fiscal and Regulatory Regime—Stable and Enabling
  • Subsurface Risk Reduction and capturing the upside


Session 9: Panel Session: Crossing the Thresholds

Panel Moderator: S. Roychaudhury, Cairn India

This high level panel session will be addressed by key industry experts. They will deliberate on development strategies for oil/gas discoveries based on cluster development
(FPSO based, tie-back to shore/platform), low cost well intervention technology, and latest development in subsea technology, processing, and evacuation.

The panel will also cover issues related to the role of service companies in bringing the best of technologies and the need to revamp the current fiscal regime so that discoveries can be monetised at the earliest.