The Aberdeen young professionals (YPs) group kicked off its 2007–08 technical-events calendar with a presentation on the increasingly important subsea- production sector given by Paul Tooms, global head of Subsea Technology for BP. Tooms was featured in the most recent edition of the The Way Ahead in the Technical Leader series interview. Addressing the Aberdeen YPs, Tooms gave an overview of his BP career of more than 30 years, which has spanned five continents. He described the wide scope of subsea engineering and went on to analyze global subsea investment trends, pointing to a relatively flat projection for capital expenditure on floating production platforms (e.g., spars; tension-leg platforms; and floating production, storage, and offloading systems). However, in comparison, subsea well count is expected to double by 2012, with increasing emphasis on subsea tiebacks to maximize investment on existing production units.
Tooms’ view is that the increasing-water-depth trend in subsea developments is likely to level within the foreseeable future, with the industry tackling technical issues of equipment reliability and reserves recovery in deeper, hotter, and tighter prospects. He summarized by suggesting the need for more standardization, partnership between operators and service companies, and low-cost intervention methods, and he targeted technology—such as subsea processing—as a way to meet these technical challenges.
The event drew more than 55 people, including a balanced mix of students and young and experienced professionals, and they treated Tooms to a vigorous question-and-answer session.
—Imona Adebo, Maersk Oil North Sea