3.

OFFSHORE PLATFORMS
Foundation Piles Gravity Tethers Catenary mooring lines Turret/buoy Example Steel jacket Concrete Gravity Structure (CGS) Tension Leg Platform (TLP) Semi-submersible (FPS) Ship-shape vessel (FPSO)

Platform Fixed-bottom

Floater

Special features of offshore structures in comparison with onshore: • Environmental forces from wave and current loading are an order of magnitude larger than wind forces experienced onshore. The principal forces act horizontally and just below the still water surface, giving high overturning moments which govern the design of deep water platforms. Unlike onshore structures which are built insitu, offshore structures are built on land in one place and then transported to the field site and set in place. The transportation distance can be thousands of miles, eg. Woodside Rankin was towed from the fabrication site in Japan to the Northwest Shelf (a distance of 3,550 nautical miles taking approximately 1 month). Structures have also been transported across the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The hydrocarbons produced through these offshore structures must then be transported back to land. The buoyancy and hydrostatic pressure provided by the sea water is very important in the design of offshore structures. PLATFORM FUNCTIONS 3.1.1 Satellite (Step Out) Facilities Satellite facilities often contain little more than the wellheads. A host platform provides power, hydraulics and signal control to the satellite facility and well fluid is piped to the host platform for processing. This is a common approach for developing small fields close to existing major platform facilities. Subsea Wellhead Protection Structure The structure contains the wellheads, manifold, subsea controls etc and protects this equipment, eg. from trawling and dropped objects.

3.1

3-1

simple structure. Subsea wellheads have several disadvantages.1. exotic pipeline material may be required.The main advantage of subsea satellites is the small. The longer time required for repair must be allowed for in the hydrocarbons sales contract. eg: • test separator. for metering • methanol injection.1) Australia’s subsea satellites to date are given in Table 3. Wellhead Protection Platform The major advantage of the wellhead protection platform over subsea completion is that the wellheads are brought to the surface. however. Example: Conoco Jupitor (Fig. This is at the cost of a more substantial platform structure than for subsea wellheads. The hardware is more expensive than for surface Xmas trees. High reliability is vital as failure may require the mobilisation of a diving support vessel (DSV) or similar. Minimum Facilities Platform In addition to the wellheads. applications of this technology to date are few. Although some subsea processing equipment has been developed over the last decade. equipment on a minimum facilities platform may include a helideck. minimum facilities are normally unmanned. Apache North Herald. Typical topsides weight might be approximately 1. maintenance and repair of the wells is very expensive. Many of the Northwest Shelf monopods are wellhead protection platforms. and also inspection. 3. eg. In the absence of processing. Another disadvantage of subsea facilities is the inability to process the well fluid at the wellhead. The development also has a dedicated operations support vessel (a jack-up) to service the platforms. A very rough rule of thumb for a satellite field with n wells is that a subsea development is more cost-effective than a surface platform when the water depth is greater than 10n metres.000 tonnes. BHPP’s Liverpool Bay development in the UK has three wellhead protection structures. small crane and basic production equipment. including separators and multi-phase pumps and meters. The jack-up provides accommodation and other facilities required by personnel when they are on board and avoids these facilities being located on each platform. to inhibit corrosion Like wellhead protection platforms. Example: Esso/BHP Whiting 3-2 .

3) 3-3 .1. drilling. eg. Other functions may take place at the manifold.2) 3. in shallow water.2 Host Facilities Production Platform Large production platforms may also contain many other facilities. With a large gas inventory this may require the flare to be located on a separate platform. The accommodation platform also frequently houses utilities.000 tonnes or more.1. Example: Shell Nelson (Fig. Flare Platform The flare tower or boom and its surrounds must be designed to withstand the heat generated in a blowdown. Typical topsides weight may be 20.3 Other Facilities Riser Platform The primary purpose of a riser platform is to enable flow from several pipelines to be combined at a manifold above the water surface. accommodation and utilities. 3. including pigging and metering. Accommodation Platform In the past it has been common.3. 3. Example: Woodside North Rankin (Fig. This limits the size of each structure and can give additional safety. to separate functions on to different platforms.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful