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Offshore Facilities

Last year, we reviewed some of the more-prominent examples of how the industry continues to respond to the need for safe and cost-effective production facilities in ever-more-challenging environments. We also highlighted the increasingly important role that constructive collaboration can play in facilitating the desired outcomes for all parties.

This year, we illustrate how this same theme of constructive collaboration has been applied effectively at the other end of an offshore facility’s life span, in the major decommissioning program for the Frigg field. Most of us are very familiar with the term offshore hookup, but soon we may become equally familiar with what offshore “hookdown” really involves.

We also take a look at an approach for safely extending the useful life of aging offshore- production infrastructure, in locations where the subsea tieback of new fields warrants the associated investment.

Our focus is not entirely on end-of-life scenarios though. New offshore-platform concepts continue to evolve to suit the changing needs of operators. Some of these aim to offer the reduced well cost of fixed structures with the redeployment advantages offered by floating structures.

One of the most challenging new frontiers for the offshore industry and for society at large is the Arctic region. More specifically, it is development of underwater hydrocarbons where the presence of ice affects the nature of the development. Moving into any new frontier first requires gathering sufficient environmental data to be able to predict quantitatively the character and envelope of conditions at that location throughout the field’s production lifetime. We take a look at how these issues are being addressed in the specific case of the proposed Shtokman-field floating production facility.

As we return for this annual JPT Focus on the technology associated with offshore oil/gas facilities, it is timely to mention the launch of the new SPE magazine Oil and Gas Facilities, primarily geared toward the whole offshore-facilities sector. This effort represents a significant initiative to broaden the appeal and relevance of SPE to the wider oil/gas community, and any feedback that you may have in this regard would be welcomed warmly.

Read the synopses in the February 2012 issue of JPT.

Ian G. Ball, SPE, is Technology Director with Intecsea (UK) Ltd. Previously, he was retained by Reliance Industries Ltd Bombay, and was with Shell with assignments in Norway, the UK, and the US Gulf of Mexico. Ball earned a BS degree in electrical engineering from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology. He serves on the JPT Editorial Committee and chairs the Editorial Committee of SPE’s new Oil and Gas Facilities magazine, the inaugural edition of which is available this month.

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