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Bolder approach to subsea development supported by new guidelines

Friday, August 18, 2017

Realising the potential of the North Sea's 'small pool' reserves could be helped by the launch of a new set of Oil & Gas UK guidelines aimed at simplifying subsea developments.

The launch follows a call at Subsea Expo 2017 from Oil & Gas UK's upstream policy director, Michael Tholen, for the industry to be 'bold' in its pursuit of small pool reserves.

'Subsea Standardisation - Guidelines for Adopting a Simplified and Fit for Purpose Approach' is the result of extensive research by the Efficiency Task Force's (ETF) Subsea Technology Workgroup, a multi-disciplinary team of 31 companies, led by Steve Duthie, TechnipFMC, tasked with simplifying subsea operations. Applying their work theoretically to a number of existing and proposed North Sea developments showed potential cost savings of up to 25 per cent.

Currently there are more than three billion barrels of oil stranded in around 350 small reserves (less than 50 million barrels) that are too costly to develop. By taking a bolder, more innovative approach in areas such as design optimisation, field layouts and manufacturing, the team found that marginal real-world prospects could be brought online. Group member Centrica was the first operator to offer one of its prospects for review, with a case study developed on their Pegasus West field in the southern North Sea revealing that savings of 20-25 per cent were feasible.

Stephen Marcos Jones, business excellence director, Oil & Gas UK said: 'As an industry, we've become used to gold-plating and over-specifying our work. The Subsea Standardisation Project demonstrates how adopting a more simplified approach can make subsea development far more affordable.

'This project is a shining example of what can be achieved when industry experts are given the license to innovate, share knowledge, and tackle project delivery with fresh eyes. 'Collaboration' is a word banded about a lot, but this is it in action.

'We hope that by taking on board these guidelines, companies will be able to unlock new reserves and in doing so help the UK continental shelf reach its full potential.'

Oil & Gas UK now wants to maximise the impact of these guidelines and welcomes opportunities to meet with companies who are interested in exploring how they can be meaningfully implemented into both current and future projects.

The new guidelines could also be used alongside the Project Collaboration Toolkit (PCT), recently developed by the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB). The PCT sets out principles for collaborative work and is endorsed by Oil & Gas UK, the Offshore Contractors Association and is an Oil and Gas Authority recommended tool.

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» Oil and Gas UK
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