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Standardisation is the new innovation

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Lars Høier, Director of Research, Development and Innovation, Statoil, believes that 'standardisation is the new innovation' - and explained how his company intends to drive it

Lars Høier, Director of Research, Development and Innovation, Statoil, said he believes that 'standardisation is the new innovation', speaking at the Integrated Operations conference in Trondheim on Sept 30.

Mr Høier sees standardisation as a pathway to reducing costs and complexity. Mr Høier manages a 2.8bn (US$ 430m) annual budget and 760 employees in Norway, USA, Canada, Brazil and China. He has a
PhD in in Improved Oil Recovery (IOR) and was formerly senior vice president for mature area developments and IOR at Statoil.

The company is aiming to improve standardisation in several areas.

It has a 'Fast Track' field development scheme, which aims to get fields into production 40 per cent faster, by developing standardised solutions.

In its US onshore operations, the company is finding ways to reduce drilling costs by 25 to 50 per cent, 'just by working hard on repeating what we are doing again and again,' he said.

It is developing standard rigs in special categories, known as 'cat rigs', which 'I think will be important moving forward attacking different fields and drilling challenges,' he said. 'We think we can increase operational efficiency 20% by doing that.'

It believes it can achieve $60m savings with standardised floating storage units.

By developing standardised equipment and modules in general, it believes it can achieve $150 to 300m savings, and with standard platform concepts, it believes it can save 8- 10 per cent on facility capital expenditure. We want 'standardised platform concepts we can apply in many different places. We can
do minor adjustments [to standard designs] instead of doing [it all] tailor made.'

It is developing standardised vertical Christmas Trees and standard well designs. With a concept called 'subsea on slim legs', essentially topsides equipment which are much slimmed down and designed for unmanned operation, like subsea equipment, it believes it can save 20-30 per cent on capital cost.

Subsea factories
In the subsea arena, Statoil has defined six different subsea applications it wants to develop standard solutions for, which the company calls 'subsea factories'.

The first is the 'tie-in' or 'brownfield factory', where you already have infrastructure and a platform, and you want to drill a subsea well nearby which connects to it. This will usually include simplified boosting
(pumping), simplified compression, water separation, power distribution, all on the seabed, and ability to do well interventions. The second 'subsea factory' is the same as the first but with more of the core infrastructure subsea, including sea water injection and gas treatment.

The third subsea factory is long distance tie backs, for example for in the Barents Sea, where you need to be able to pump oil for long distances, and need high capacity boosting (pumping).

The fourth is deepwater, producing in up to 3000m water depth. The company needs to develop its artificial lift technology in the wells which can work at such water depths, and also special seabed separation units, and better ways to do inspection, maintenance and repair. It also wants to find ways to reduce deepwater drilling costs.

The fifth subsea factory is heavy oil. Statoil has the world's largest offshore heavy oil portfolio, he said, including the Peregrino Field offshore Brazil, the Mariner and Bressay fields in the North Sea. This will need a way to pump (boost) high viscosity oil. The sixth subsea factory is for the Arctic, you will need a way to treat, store and offload oil in the Arctic.

Achieving standardisation
A practical first step is encouraging subsea equipment manufacturers to develop standard interfaces to connect equipment together.

At the moment we have 'subsea systems with interfaces with a lot of different requirements where you need adaptors to put things together,' he said.

Statoil would prefer if subsea equipment would fit together like Lego.

Statoil has already started working with 3 suppliers, FMC, Kongsberg and Saipem, 'to have their input on this challenge,' he said. 'We have started a 3 month study now.'

But it needs 'all the industry, all the suppliers and vendors to put input into this. 'I know there are many others that think about this and have clear ideas how we can attack it. We are seeking advice in a broad sense here. We need as operators to go together on this.'

'We want to make a joint industry collaboration, with the main operators, and we want to start it early next year.'

Statoil also wants to get more industry support for the idea of standardisation.

Standardisation might not be in a subsea equipment company's short term interests, if it means less billable engineering hours, and making it easier for competitors to join the market.

But it is in their long term interests, if it means that it will help the subsea industry to grow, Mr Høier said.

Associated Companies
» Statoil
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