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OTC 14259

Deepwater Facility Selection


Beverley F Ronalds, Centre for Oil & Gas Engineering, The University of Western Australia

Copyright 2002, Offshore Technology Conference


This paper was prepared for presentation at the 2002 Offshore Technology Conference held in
Houston, Texas U.S.A., 69 May 2002.
This paper was selected for presentation by the OTC Program Committee following review of
information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper, as
presented, have not been reviewed by the Offshore Technology Conference and are subject to
correction by the author(s). The material, as presented, does not necessarily reflect any
position of the Offshore Technology Conference or its officers. Electronic reproduction,
distribution, or storage of any part of this paper for commercial purposes without the written
consent of the Offshore Technology Conference is prohibited. Permission to reproduce in print
is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words; illustrations may not be copied. The
abstract must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of where and by whom the paper was
presented.

Abstract
A large number of factors influence the choice of production
system for a particular oil and gas field. This paper outlines
the key drivers that govern the selection process for one subset
of systems surface facilities for deepwater production and
verifies them using a comprehensive database of deepwater
platforms. Regional variations natural, industrial, political
and experiential are seen to be particularly important in the
selection process. For fields benefiting from platform drilling
and/or workover, the water depth and well count are
key drivers.
The matrix approach to system comparison presented in
the paper also highlights future technology developments
across a range of disciplines required for more efficient
hydrocarbon production in ultra-deepwater.
Both new
platform types, and enhancements of existing facilities to
extend their applicability, are described. Overall, subsea well
systems are anticipated to find increasing application as water
depths increase.
Introduction
Offshore oil and gas fields may be developed using a variety
of production systems. The configuration of the optimum
system for a particular application depends on a myriad of
factors [1]. First, the selection criteria used to determine the
best solution must be defined these are likely to be lifecycle financial value as well as other more subjective
measures. The field characteristics are important, including
site, regional, global and company parameters, as are the
elements of the preferred production plan to deplete the
reservoir. The hardware components required to deliver the
production plan have inherent advantages and limitations that
must be correlated with each other and to the field and

production parameters; system selection involves optimising


these synergies. Potential risks associated with the system
must also be recognised. However, of these many factors,
only a few become the key drivers that govern the final
selection decision, although these key drivers vary according
to the field and production characteristics. The system
selection process is greatly facilitated when the key drivers
are understood.
This paper describes a sequence of key drivers for facility
selection in deepwater. It is presented in tabular form and
justified using a database of past, current and sanctioned
deepwater platforms.
Anticipated innovations are also
discussed briefly to appreciate how these might influence both
the range of facility choices available, and the
selection process.
Deepwater Facilities
Deepwater is defined in the study to be greater than 300m
(nearly 1,000ft), giving a reasonable sample size of 89
facilities. This cut-off enables all compliant towers to be
included, along with some important North Sea platforms.
Conventional shallow water fixed platform technology is
ignored even though both jackets and concrete gravity
structures have been installed in water depths greater than
300m. Subsea tiebacks to existing facilities are also excluded.
This leaves six proven deepwater platform types FPSOs,
semisubmersibles, spars, compliant towers, TLPs and miniTLPs [2-4]. Here, the mini-TLP is differentiated from
conventional TLPs by supporting subsea trees, with the first
three mono-column TLPs being of this type. Table 1
summarises key statistics of the various facility types; a
detailed comparison is presented in [1].
System Selection Process
Table 2 summarises the system selection procedure. It lists
eight key drivers for deepwater platform selection and defines
the relationships between their properties and the various
facility types. Each of these key drivers is numbered, both in
the Table, and in the text where it is first addressed. Principal
attributes of the different production systems that encourage or
discourage their selection according to the key drivers are
discussed in the following Sections and compared in Tables
1-3.

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Table 1: Deepwater platform statistics

Platform
First Deepwater (>300m)
Number
Present Maxima
Water Depth (m)
Wells
Risers
Oil Production (k.bbl/d)
Gas Export (MMm3/d)
Displacement (k.t)
Hull Steel Weight (k.t)
Topside Weight (k.t)
Hull Top Dimensions (m)
Features
Drilling (%)
Gas Export (%)
Conversions/Reuse (%)
EPS/EWT (%)

FPSO
1988
34
1,853
59
107*
250
4.8
400

Without Derrick
Semi
Mini-TLP
1992
1998
14
3

With Derrick
TLP
C Tower
1989
1984
13
4

Semi
1988
10

24
348 x 56

1,930
63
104*
190
38.0
84
19
43
114 x 96

1,006
5
14*
40
1.7
10
3
4
18 dia

1,845
48
89*
250
9.9
57
13
26
84 x 84

1,250
62
58
230
11.5
107
33
42
101 x 101

0
45
73
26

0
100
50
7

0
100
0
0

90
80
60
20

Spar
1997
11

535
58
60
140
5.7

1,720
20
22
100
9.2

33
26
37 x 37

32
27
45 dia

67
100
0
0

100

56
100
0
0

TLP

C Tower

0
0

* risers + umbilicals
Table 2: Key drivers of facility selection

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8

Platform
Drivers
Well Pattern
Oil Export
Service Life
Region
Gas to Oil Ratio
Topside Weight
Well Count
Water Depth
Hardware
Workover
Drilling
Trees
Production Risers
Hull Construction

FPSO

Semi

Mini-TLP

Distributed
Tanker
Various
Moderate
Various
GOM
Low
Various
Low
Various
Low
Various
Intervention Vessel
MODU
Subsea
Compliant
Conversion/New-build
New

Semi

Spar

Clustered
Pipeline/Tanker
Various
Moderate/Long
Various
GOM/WA
GOM
Various
Various
Moderate
Moderate/High
Limited
Mod/Deep Moderate Ultra-deep

Conv/New

Platform
Platform/MODU
Surface
Rigid
New-build

Table 3: Platform features


Platform
Platform Drilling/Workover
Surface Trees
Oil Storage
Gas Export
EPS/EWT
Conversions/Reuse
Inshore Integration
Export SCRs
Ultra-deepwater
Large Riser Count
Large Deck Area
Light Hull/Substructure
Total

FPSO
2
2
3
(3)
3
3
3
#
3
$
3
2
6

Semi
2
2
2
3
3
3
3
#
3
3
3
3
8

Mini-TLP
2
2
2
3
2
2
2
3
3
2
2
3
4

Semi
3
2
2
3
3
3
3
#
3
3
3
3
9

# mild environments and/or ultra-deepwater only


$ spread-mooring only

TLP
3
3
2
3
2
2
3
3
2
3
3
2
7

C Tower
3
3
2
3
2
2
2
3
2
3
2
2
5

Spar
3
3
2
3
2
2
2
3
3
2
2
2
5

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DEEPWATER FACILITY SELECTION

Deepwater facilities to date are listed in the Appendix. They


are sorted according to whether or not they have a
drilling/workover derrick, and then by their geographical
location and hull/substructure type.
This arrangement
facilitates verification of the key drivers and their influence as
described below.
With the selection of the hull/substructure form comes
various other system components including preferred well and
riser types these are also depicted in Tables 2 and 3.
1. Well Pattern
A suitable starting point for the system selection procedure
is the preferred well pattern; this is largely determined by the
reservoir properties and appraisal/development process. As
one option, a significant number of wells may be clustered
together. This is especially valuable if frequent intervention is
anticipated, as it allows a platform to be placed at the well
cluster. The alternative is for wells to be positioned in several
areas and/or dispersed around the field(s). The latter may give
more efficient draining, may be a preferable way to manage
reservoir uncertainty, or may enable a shorter cycle time to
first production.
The two well patterns encourage the employment of
different surface facilities. Tables 1-3 thus split the hull/
substructure options into two categories: those with a derrick
to support platform workover (and perhaps drilling), and those
where platform drilling and workover are not possible.
The semi differs from other deepwater facilities in that it
falls in both categories in Tables 1-3. A semi with a drilling
and/or workover rig may compete for selection with the
compliant tower, TLP and spar.
These latter three
hulls/substructures have a derrick because they support surface
wells. In other circumstances the semi is assessed as an
alternative to the FPSO and mini-TLP, in which case it would
not support drilling/workover. Significant numbers of both
types of semi have seen application, as indicated in Table 1.
There are often exceptions to a trend. In future, monocolumn TLPs will also have both classifications with the
recent sanction of the first such facility with surface wells.
For convenience, this new option is not treated separately
here. However, after well pattern, other key drivers for
selection are very similar for both permutations of monocolumn TLP.
It is also noted that several FPSOs (eg. Liuhua, Kizomba)
are associated with a clustered well pattern these are teamed
with another facility that manages the wells.
Platforms without Drilling/Workover Derrick
The next step is to determine further key drivers that
differentiate between the various platforms in each category.
Platforms without heavy workover capability are
compared first.

2. Oil Export
Of the three facility options in this category (the FPSO,
semi and mini-TLP), the FPSO may be considered first as it
has a unique feature relative to other hull/substructure forms
oil storage capability which is often the primary reason for
its selection. The Appendix shows FPSOs to be the facility of
choice in regions where oil fields are remote from refining
infrastructure; these include North-West Australia, West
Africa (WA) and parts of Asia.
3. Service Life
An important feature of both FPSOs and semis is that they
do not need to be purpose-built for the field conversions
from another use, or reuse from another field, are prevalent
(Table 1). This has the advantage of reducing construction
cost and schedule.
The versatility demonstrated by
conversions and reuse make FPSOs and semis well suited to
shorter assignments, including small or high risk fields, early
production systems (EPS) and extended well tests (EWT)
(Table 1). This is particularly the case for FPSOs, with their
inherent feature of avoiding an export pipeline.
4. Region
A further very important driver for system selection is
geographical location.
Brazil
The Appendix shows that significant numbers of FPSOs
and semis without workover capability have been employed
offshore Brazil. Almost all Brazils FPSOs and semis are
conversions: their use is facilitated by the mild environment.
Phased field development, commencing with an EPS, is also
commonly employed in Brazil.
Probably the most important parameter differentiating
FPSOs and semis in this region relates to time. The
Appendix indicates that FPSOs have replaced semis as the
preferred hull form in recent years. This is attributed to the
dramatic improvements in FPSO mooring technology in the
late 1990s, which enabled larger riser and umbilical counts to
be accommodated in the turret, along with high pressure gas
swivels for gas export/disposal. More recently, spread
moorings have been adopted.
A further important
consideration is the availability of suitable hulls for
conversion. Large semisubmersible rigs are currently fully
utilised in their traditional drilling role, whereas VLCCs are a
popular choice for FPSO conversions in regions where a
double hull is not required.
5. Gas to Oil Ratio
North Sea
In contrast, new-buildings are much more prevalent than
conversions in the harsh North Sea climate, where fatigue,
greenwater on deck and other risks favour a purpose-designed

B F RONALDS

hull for major field developments. Here the choice between


semis and FPSOs appears from the Appendix and Fig. 1 to be
governed primarily by the fields GOR. Currently all
deepwater North Sea semis have considerable gas processing
capability whereas FPSOs are generally used for oildominated fields. This is a function of both the latters oil
storage, and gas processing challenges on floaters located in
40
FPSOs

Semi's

Gas Export (MMm /d)

New-builds
Conversions

20

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7. Well Count
8. Water Depth
Dry Tree Platforms
Gulf of Mexico and West Africa
Whereas semis and FPSOs are applicable over a very
wide range of water depths, dry tree production systems are
water depth sensitive. Platform well count is another
important determinant of facility selection. The essentially
inverse degree to which these two parameters can be handled
is illustrated in Fig. 2, which includes data for the two
deepwater petroleum provinces with mild to moderate metocean conditions where dry tree platforms have seen
application the Gulf of Mexico and West Africa. To aid
discussion a series of approximate water depths ranges are
also shown in Fig. 2 and Table 4, as defined below:
Designation

0
0

100

200

Oil Production (k.bbl/d)

harsh environments.
Fig 1: Oil and gas production rates for FPSOs and semis

6. Topside Weight
Gulf of Mexico
The final major deepwater province is the Gulf of Mexico
(GOM), where FPSOs have not yet seen application and
deepwater platforms without workover capability are rare. A
new-build semi has recently been adopted for a major multifield development in ultra-deepwater. Three small fields have
been developed using mini-TLPs; with a single column, these
have a much lighter hull than other alternatives but can only
carry a small topside (Table 1). They can also support steel
catenary risers (SCRs) in shallower water depths and harsher
environments. Mini-TLPs differ from semis and FPSOs (and
conventional TLPs), however, in that both the hull and the
topside are lift-installed at the field site. This approach is costeffective because there are a number of suitable heavy-lift
vessels in the Gulf of Mexico, and offshore hook-up and
commissioning of the single deck module is not onerous.
Platforms with Drilling/Workover Derrick
Attention is directed now to the second category of platforms
those with sufficient clustered wells to justify drilling and/or
workover capability. These may be considered further in two
groups the semi, which is associated with subsea trees, and
the compliant tower, TLP and spar, which support surface
trees. The latter group is discussed first.

Shallow
Moderate
Deep
Ultra-deep

Water Depth
Range
(m)
< 300
300 550
550 1,250
> 1,250

Compliant Tower. Compliant towers are located on the


lower right of Fig. 2. They are applicable only in moderate
water depths 305-535m to date but are able to support a
large number of platform wells (Table 1). Both of these
features are the result of having a braced substructure
extending through the water column. The structure is
inefficient in deepwater, but enables the risers to be supported
laterally along their length. They can then be set at a close
spacing without risk of interference under extreme
environmental loading. The passive riser support system
reduces OPEX over the active tensioning systems generally
used for TLPs and spars, and this also brings greater benefits
with a high riser count.
TLP. TLPs have seen application in the moderate to deep
442-1,250m water depth range in the Gulf of Mexico and
West Africa. The upper water depth is limited by the tendon
mooring: the tension forces increase rapidly in ultradeepwater, resulting in a large hull buoyancy requirement.
This design spiral becomes more acute for larger topsides and
in more severe met-ocean conditions. The riser count is
constrained in ultra-deepwater for similar reasons their
heavier weight puts increased loads on the hull. In addition, a
substantial riser spacing is required to accommodate the toptensioning equipment and to avoid harmful clashing. Despite
this, the large moonpool in a conventional TLP may
accommodate a considerable number of risers (Table 1).
TLPs have also been employed in moderate water depths
(Table 4); with a lower well count the hull and mooring is
considerably lighter than a compliant tower substructure.

OTC 14259

DEEPWATER FACILITY SELECTION

Spar. Spars sanctioned to date are in 590-1,720m water


depth, with the upper limit increasing rapidly in recent years.
Their taut catenary mooring system is relatively insensitive to
water depth, and the risers are self-supported with large air
cans so their tension loads are not transferred to the hull both
of these features facilitate ultra-deepwater applications.
However, these air cans become large in very deepwater,
which limits the number that may be accommodated within
the centre-well. The maximum spar riser count to date is 20.
(This constraint may be non-critical in many cases, due to
ongoing advances in well technology that are reducing the
number of wells required to drain a reservoir.) Spars are more
suited to moderate well counts than TLPs for another reason
too: platform wells may be drilled by MODU even after the
facility is in-place, thereby avoiding a platform drilling rig.
Table 1 indicates that only a little over half the spars to date
support drilling, whereas drilling rigs dominate with other
platform types having workover capability.
Although spars have also been chosen for deep (rather than
ultra-deep) water, TLPs may have construction advantages
over them. These secondary considerations include a lighter
hull weight as seen in Fig. 3, which compares the
relationship between topside weight (deck plus modules) and
hull weight for spars, TLPs and semis. Further, TLP topside
integration with the hull may be performed inshore rather than
at the field site. The penalty for offshore lift installation,
hook-up and commissioning is likely to increase in remote
regions. To counteract this, spar hulls may be more readily
able to support topside weight growth than TLPs. E&P
company experience with particular hull forms, and their
strategic desire to embrace particular technologies, also
influence the decision, as do market pressures.

Compliant Towers
TLPs
Spars

Spars

Water Depth (m)

2000

ULTRA-DEEP

1000
TLPs

DEEP

Compliant Towers

MODERATE
SHALLOW

0
0

20

40

Platform Well Count


Fig. 2: Dry tree platforms Gulf of Mexico and West Africa

60

Wet and Dry Tree Platform Comparison


Gulf of Mexico
Three semis supporting platform drilling and workover
have been selected for the Gulf of Mexico. These follow a
quite different trend from the dry tree platforms and may be
considered to fall into two subsets. The two semis in
moderate to deep water had low production rates and short
field lives (see Appendix); this enabled conversions to be
utilised without excessive hull and deck modifications being
required. At the other end of the scale is a very large newbuild semi in ultra-deepwater (1,845m), supporting a
substantial number of wells (48, including a significant
platform-clustered well count) to give a high production rate.
This facility is beyond current experience for other hull forms
being considerably deeper than compliant towers or TLPs
and with a greater well count than spars.
The latter example demonstrates a new application for
semis. Semis have several advantages in this niche. They
are suitable for ultra-deepwater (due to their catenary
mooring), and also large riser counts (with the risers being
hung off the deck edges or pontoons). In addition, they have a
lighter hull than either TLPs or spars.
Other reasons for the increasing attractiveness of the semi
concern the risers rather than the platform itself. While the
move to ultra-deepwater brings greater challenges for rigid
risers, it is beneficial for compliant risers in increasing the
tolerance to hull motions. Thus SCRs may be employed rather
than flexible risers, with the advantages of lower material cost
and larger diameters. (Flexible riser diameters are limited in
ultra-deepwater, being currently proven to 9 in 1,360m and
12 in 910m.) Further, top-tensioning is not required for
catenary risers. Riser towers are another possibility, with the
tower buoyancy reducing the riser loads on the hull
considerably. Finally, the one-to-one correspondence between
production risers and surface wells may be decreased with
subsea wells by manifolding on the seabed and riser bundling.
A reduced riser count brings important benefits in ultradeepwater, although at the expense of increased seabed
complexity. Another potential disadvantage is that well
monitoring and intervention may be less straight-forward than
for surface wells [5].
North Sea
The other deepwater petroleum province having a range of
platforms with drilling and workover capability is the North
Sea. There are no spars or compliant towers here, and the
Appendix indicates that semis have overtaken TLPs in
popularity in recent years. These semis are teamed with
flexible risers. The shift in preference from dry tree to wet
tree platforms occurs at much lower water depth in the North
Sea than in the Gulf of Mexico (Table 4). This is attributed
first to the harsh environment, which is onerous for the TLPs
tendon mooring, requiring high quality manufacture, rigorous
inspection and an advanced ballast control plan. The metocean conditions, together with the heavy topsides and high
well counts of these North Sea platforms, result in a large hull

B F RONALDS

buoyancy requirement for TLPs. Fig. 3 shows North Sea


semis to have a much lighter hull for the same topside weight.
In addition, while subsea trees and flexible risers were once
considerably more expensive than rigid steel risers and surface
trees, their cost has decreased dramatically over the past 15
years. There is also very considerable operating experience
with subsea hardware in the North Sea.
Table 4: Platform choices for clustered wells
Water Depth
Met-ocean
Well Count Low
High

Moderate
Harsh
Semi

TLP
C Tower

Deep
Moderate
TLP/Spar
TLP

Ultra-deep
Spar
Semi

Brazil
Finally, there have been two deepwater platforms offshore
Brazil with derricks these are semis. They are conversions,
used for EPS or also accommodating a significant number of
remote wells; this reflects the Brazilian trend for dispersed
subsea well patterns.

GOM

Hull Weight (k.t)

NS

TLPs
Spars
Semi's

40

20

0
0

25

50

Topsides Weight (k.t)


Fig. 3: Hull weight comparisons

Technology Innovations
The system selection process outlined above has been
demonstrated to be robust through correlations with a database
of deepwater field developments. However, this is necessarily
a reflection of proven technology. Ongoing innovation will
alter the selection outcomes by overcoming limitations of the
various facilities and reducing the need to compromise.
Several areas in which technology development would bring
major gains are apparent from Tables 1-3 and the above
discussion. These innovations are now outlined, by separately
considering platforms that support surface and subsea wells.
Dry Tree Platforms
The current deepwater platform options with surface trees
are quite constrained: each of the three has distinct water depth

OTC 14259

or platform well count limitations.


In particular, the
combination of ultra-deepwater and a large number of wells is
not catered for well. Only one of the three options allows
inshore integration of topside and hull, and none installed to
date has significant oil storage capability.
Various developments may extend the applicability of dry
tree platforms. One evident possibility is to combine a multicolumn hull with a taut catenary mooring, to allow a high rigid
riser count in ultra-deepwater. The degree to which the hull
needs to be motion-optimised depends on the field location. A
semi-submersible hull would be feasible in milder met-ocean
conditions although, in harsh environments, a deep draft
floater would be advantageous. For the latter case, researchers
have proposed the option of a riser guide tower that is lowered
through the hull at the field site and thus retains a shallow
draft for inshore integration. Alternatively, offshore topside
installation and commissioning could be facilitated by
floatover deck technology.
The multi-column floater brings challenges in managing
the considerable vertical incompatibility between riser and
hull movements without the shielded centre-well of the spar.
Both air cans (eg. [6]) and tree deck tensioning and motion
compensating systems (eg. [7]) have been proposed.
Surface tree platforms suffer in ultra-deepwater from the
large tension forces required to support the long vertical risers.
Various techniques have been proposed to reduce riser weight,
including novel materials and tubing risers with split trees.
Catenary risers giving vertical well access without requiring
tensioners appear to hold considerable future promise.
For low well counts and small topsides, the mini-TLP is a
good solution due to its very light hull. As mentioned earlier,
the first mono-column TLP supporting dry trees has recently
been approved (Matterhorn, 2003). The lower riser, tendon,
topside and environmental loads result in mini-TLPs being
cost-effective in deeper water than conventional TLPs. Their
applicability might increase further with the development of
compact processing technology that reduces topside weight
and space requirements. Subsea and downhole processing
may also bring benefits.
Fields developed using platforms with surface wells often
have a longer cycle time from discovery to first production
than wet tree facilities. A number of approaches have been
suggested by the industry to increase both the standardisation
and adaptability of dry tree facilities; these would enable
platform design and construction to commence earlier and to
more readily accommodate modifications as functional
requirements change.
Recent spar and mini-TLP
developments have begun to benefit from this philosophy.
Wet Tree Platforms
Of the various deepwater facilities, Table 2 suggests the
semi and FPSO have the fewest constraints to selection and
Table 3 shows them to have numerous features. FPSOs and
semis are versatile hull forms. They are suitable across a very
wide water depth range, and they have advantages for both
small and major fields in both EPS and full-field

OTC 14259

DEEPWATER FACILITY SELECTION

developments. Construction cost and schedule are commonly


reduced by converting or reusing existing hardware. Teamed
with an adaptable distributed well pattern, these features are of
considerable assistance in managing reservoir uncertainty.
The spread-moored FPSO is the only current deepwater
production facility that is ideally suited to major fields, as it
readily supports both large topsides and a large riser count. It
additionally avoids an expensive turret and swivel stack.
Spread mooring has been adopted in the deepwater provinces
of West Africa and, more recently, Brazil. Extending its
applicability to other less benign environments would bring
large returns. Drilling capability on a FPSO is another soughtafter prize; the combination of drilling and oil storage would
be
particularly
beneficial
in
regions
remote
from infrastructure.
Although gas export from FPSOs is increasing, challenges
remain. Additional gas processing to facilitate export is under
consideration, including LNG, GTL and CNG.
As discussed above, semis also have several advantages
for fields with large well counts in ultra-deepwater. North Sea
experience suggests they may also find increasing use in
moderate to deepwater, as a cost-effective alternative to TLPs
and compliant towers.
Further improving the motions response of semis and
FPSOs would be of value to accommodate SCRs in harsher
environments and shallower water depths. This would assist
in overcoming the limitations of flexibles. There is also
ongoing progress in the development of alternative compliant
risers including towers and hybrids. Optimised analysis of the
station-keeping performance of combined riser and mooring
systems might be beneficial, although considerable predrilling may be required to achieve an effective riser count at
production start-up.
Remote wells have several challenges that are receiving
considerable attention, including reliability, intervention and
flow assurance. As new cost-effective solutions are found,
subsea well systems are likely to increase further in popularity
due to the advantages associated with their adaptable well
pattern, compliant risers, light and/or versatile hull, and
catenary mooring.
Conclusions
Six different platform types have been proven to date in
deepwater. A traditional means of distinguishing these
facilities is by whether or not they support platform
drilling/workover and surface trees. However, the semi defies
classification in this way: it is currently associated with subsea
wells but it may support platform drilling and workover if
desired. Partially as a result of its hybrid nature, the semi
should receive consideration across a range of deepwater field
developments as an alternative to other wet tree platforms,
or instead of a dry tree platform or, indeed, as a new dry tree
platform. This versatility, although advantageous, complicates
the selection process.

In this paper, a database of 89 deepwater systems is used to


demonstrate the key drivers for their selection. When there is
no requirement for a derrick, the choice is between FPSOs,
semis and mini-TLPs. The key drivers here are the oil export
philosophy, GOR, service life, topside weight and
geographical location; the last encompasses met-ocean
conditions, regulatory issues and infrastructure availability.
The three current dry tree platforms spars, TLPs and
compliant towers are differentiated primarily by their water
depth and well count. For situations where platform workover
(and perhaps drilling) capability is desirable, the choice
between one of these dry tree platforms and the semi is
influenced not only by these two parameters but also by
service life. Again regional factors are important too, with
facility selection following quite different trends in the North
Sea and the Gulf of Mexico. It would thus appear that the
optimum choice when workover is required is still evolving
and that the semi may see greater use in future.
FPSOs have many of the inherent advantages of semis,
along with the additional feature of oil storage. Incorporating
drilling, and extending the applicability of spread moorings,
would bring further major capabilities to the FPSO.
Deepwater dry tree platforms will also continue to evolve,
with the possibility of new facility and riser types. System
selection will thus remain a critical process.
References
1. Ronalds B.F., Surface production system options for
deepwater. OMAE-02-28143, OMAE 2002, Proc. 21st
Int. Conf., Oslo. Submitted (2002).
2. Ronalds B.F. and Lim E.F.H., FPSO trends. SPE 56708,
Proc. ATCE 99, Houston (1999).
3. Lim E.F.H. and Ronalds B.F., Evolution of the production
semisubmersible. SPE 63036, Proc. ATCE 00,
Dallas (2000).
4. Ronalds B.F. and Lim E.F.H., Deepwater production with
surface trees: trends in facilities and risers. SPE 68761,
Proc. APOGCE 01, Jakarta (2001).
5. DSouza R., Anderson D. and Barton D., An assessment
of dry and wet tree production platforms with direct
access wells in ultradeepwater. Proc. 13th DOT, Rio de
Janeiro (2001).
6. Often O., Ludwigson R. and Carlsen H., Dry-tree semi for
Brazil and Gulf of Mexico. OTC 12989, Proc.
OTC (2001).
7. Wanvik L., Norman C., Johnsen J.M., Deep water moored
semisubmersible with dry wellheads and top tensioned
well risers. OTC 12986, Proc. OTC (2001).

B F RONALDS

OTC 14259

Appendix Deepwater Platforms


No Field

1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
39
40
41
42
43
44
45
46
47
48

Oil Company

Without Derrick
Liuhua 11-1
Lufeng 22-1
West Linapacan
Lufeng 13-1
Liuhua 11-1
Lufeng 22-1
Buffalo
Laminaria
Kuito
Girassol
Bonga
Kizomba
Erha
Dalia
Agbami
Aquila
Marlim P20
Pirauna/Marimba P8
Marlim P18
Albacora P25
Marlim P19
Voador P27
Marimba P21
Marlim P26
Marlim Sul P40
Barracuda P34
Marlim Sul
Albacora P31
Marlim P33
Marlim P35
Marlim Sul
Roncador
Espadarte
Marlim P37
Roncador
Salema/Bijupira
Barracuda P43
Caratinga P48
Albacora Leste
Troll B
Troll C
Asgard B
Kristin
Troll West
Norne
Foinaven
Schiehallion
Morpeth

Amoco
Occidental
Alcorn
JHN
Amoco
Statoil
Nexen (BHPP)
Woodside
Chevron
Elf
Shell
ExxonMobil
ExxonMobil
TotalFinaElf
ChevronTexaco
Agip
Petrobras
Petrobras
Petrobras
Petrobras
Petrobras
Petrobras
Petrobras
Petrobras
Petrobras
Petrobras
Petrobras
Petrobras
Petrobras
Petrobras
Petrobras
Petrobras
Petrobras
Petrobras
Petrobras
Petrobras
Petrobras
Petrobras
Petrobras
Norsk Hydro
Norsk Hydro
Statoil
Statoil
Norsk Hydro
Statoil
BP
BP
Agip (British Borneo)

Dril Location
ling

No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No
No

Asia
Asia
Asia
Asia
Asia
Asia
Australia
Australia
W Africa
W Africa
W Africa
W Africa
W Africa
W Africa
W Africa
Mediterranean
Brazil
Brazil
Brazil
Brazil
Brazil
Brazil
Brazil
Brazil
Brazil
Brazil
Brazil
Brazil
Brazil
Brazil
Brazil
Brazil
Brazil
Brazil
Brazil
Brazil
Brazil
Brazil
Brazil
N Sea
N Sea
N Sea
N Sea
N Sea
N Sea
N Sea
N Sea
GOM

49 Allegheny

Agip (British Borneo) No

GOM

50 Typhoon

Chevron

No

GOM

51 Na Kika

BP

No

GOM

Hull

FPSO
FPSO
FPSO
FPSO
FPSO
FPSO
FPSO
FPSO
FPSO
FPSO
FPSO
FPSO
FPSO
FPSO
FPSO
FPSO
Semi
Semi
Semi
Semi
Semi
Semi
Semi
Semi
Semi
FPSO
FPSO
FPSO
FPSO
FPSO
FPSO
FPSO
FPSO
FPSO
FPSO
FPSO
FPSO
FPSO
FPSO
Semi
Semi
Semi
Semi
FPSO
FPSO
FPSO
FPSO
MiniTLP
MiniTLP
MiniTLP
Semi

Water First Last EPS/

Purpose

Subsea

Depth Oil
(m)

Built

Wells

305
335
360
330
310
330
300
383
365
1350
1030
1200
1210
1300
1430
850
625
423
910
515
770
530
700
990
1080
835
1420
330
780
850
1215
1853
800
905
1350
701
815
1035
1200
320
340
300
350
330
380
460
400
509

1988
1990
1992
1993
1996
1997
1999
1999
1999
2001
2004
2004
2004
2005
2005
1998
1992
1993
1994
1996
1997
1998
1998
1998
2002
1997
1997
1998
1998
1999
1999
1999
2000
2000
2002
2003
2003
2003
2003
1996
1999
2000
2005
1989
1997
1997
1998
1998

Oil

EWT

1989 EWT
1991 EWT
1996

Conversion
Conversion
Reuse
Conversion
Conversion
New
Conversion
Yes
Conversion
Yes
Yes
Yes

EPS

EPS

EPS
1998 EPS

EPS
2001 EWT
EPS

1991 EWT

Yes
Yes
Reuse
Conversion
Conversion
Yes
Conversion
Conversion
Reuse
Reuse
New
Conversion
Reuse
Reuse
Conversion
Conversion
Conversion
Reuse
Reuse
Reuse
Conversion
Conversion
Conversion
Conversion
Conversion
Conversion
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Reuse
Yes
Conversion
Yes
Yes

Production
Risers
No Type

3
3
5
20
5
3
9
21
39
29
30
32
59
13
2
7
13
28
29
28
12
12
26
24
11
2
35
10
26
2
1
24
35
11
15
31
17
36
63
40
22
12
1
28
22
29
4

1 Flexible
Flexible
3 Flexible
4 Flexible
3 Flexible
2 Flexible
2 Flexible
6 Flexible
10 Flexible
3 Tower
9 SCR
5 Tower
SCR
Tower
2
18
54
29
26
25
24
23
3
24

Flexible
Flexible
Flexible
Flexible
Flexible
Flexible
Flexible
Flexible
Flexible
Flexible
Flexible
Flexible
Flexible
Flexible
Flexible
Flexible
Rigid
Flexible
Flexible

14 Flexible
Flexible
Flexible
13 Flexible
40 Flexible
12 Flexible
Flexible
1 Flexible
8 Flexible
10 Flexible
14 Flexible
4 Flexible

Production Capacity

Oil

Oil
Gas
(k.bbl/d) (MMm3/d)

Export

20
0.0 Tanker
20
0.0 Tanker
30
0.0 Tanker
23
0.0 Tanker
65
0.0 Tanker
60
0.0 Tanker
50
0.0 Tanker
170
0.0 Tanker
100
0.0 Tanker
200
0.0 Tanker
225
4.8 Tanker
250
0.0 Tanker
230
13.6 Tanker
225
Tanker
200
7.4 Tanker
20
0.0 Tanker
50
1.2 Tanker
60
1.5 Pipeline
100
2.0 Tanker
100
3.3 Tanker
100
2.1 Tanker
50
1.8 Tanker
30
0.5
100
2.5 Tanker
150
6.0 Tanker
42
0.6 Tanker
30
0.0 Tanker
100
2.6 Tanker
50
2.0 Tanker
100
3.0 Tanker
30
0.0 Tanker
20
0.0 Tanker
100
2.5 Tanker
150
4.6 Tanker
90
3.2 Tanker
70
2.0 Tanker
150
4.0 Tanker
150
4.0 Tanker
180
6.0 Tanker
190 Future 7.1 Pipeline
190
9.0 Pipeline
135
38.0 FPSO
120
18.7
26
0.0 Tanker
210
4.1 Tanker
100
0.0 Tanker
154 Future
Tanker
40
1.3 Pipeline

Vessel
Displacemt

(k.t)
70
45
127
128
140
103
104
250
229
400
300

138
26
21
36
29
36
42
11
28
59
55
127
282
279
270
127
76
275
280
354
275
275
194
54
84
52
31
100
44
154
10

1006 1999

Yes

5 SCR

30

1.3 Pipeline

10

610 2001

Yes

6 Flexible

40

1.7 Pipeline

10

1930 2003

Yes

10

100

9.2 Pipeline

58

6 SCR

OTC 14259

No Field

52
53
54
55
56
57
58
59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
67
68
69
70
71
72
73
74
75
76
77
78
79
80
81
82
83

With Derrick
Lena
Baldpate
Petronius
Prince
Jolliet
Matterhorn
Auger
Mars
Brutus
Ram/Powell
Marlin
Ursa
Neptune
Medusa
Genesis
Gunnison
Boomvang
Nansen
Holstein
Mad Dog
Hoover
Horn Mountain
Devil's Tower
Green Canyon 29
Cooper
Crazy Horse
Benguela/Belize
Kizomba
Snorre A
Heidrun
Njord
Visund

84 Snorre B
85 Marlim P13
86 Bijapura/Salema
P13
87 Roncador P36
88 Liuhua 11-1
89 West Seno

DEEPWATER FACILITY SELECTION

Oil Company

Exxon
Amerada
Texaco
El Paso
Conoco
TotalFinaElf
Shell
Shell
Shell
Shell
BP Amoco
Shell
Kerr McGee (Oryx)
Murphy
Chevron
Kerr McGee
Kerr McGee
Kerr McGee
BP
BP
ExxonMobil
BP (Vastar)
Dominion
Placid Oil
Enserch
BP
Chevron
ExxonMobil
Saga
Conoco
Norsk Hydro
Statoil (Norsk
Hydro)
Statoil (Norsk
Hydro)
Petrobras
Petrobras
Petrobras
Amoco
Unocal

Drilling

Location

Yes
Yes
Yes
Workover
Workover
Workover
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Workover
Yes
Workover
Yes
Yes

Hull

Water First Last EPS/

Purpose

Subsea

Depth Oil
(m)

Built

Wells

305
503
535
442
537
853
872
896
910
980
986
1160
590
762
790
945
1052
1122
1326
1372
1463
1646
1720
469
668
1845
396
1250
310
345
330
335

Oil

EWT

GOM
GOM
GOM
GOM
GOM
GOM
GOM
GOM
GOM
GOM
GOM
GOM
GOM
GOM
GOM
GOM
Yes
GOM
Workover GOM
Yes
GOM
Workover GOM
Yes
GOM
Workover GOM
GOM
Yes
GOM
Yes
GOM
Yes
GOM
Yes
W Africa
Yes
W Africa
Yes
N Sea
Yes
N Sea
Yes
N Sea
Yes
N Sea

C Tower
C Tower
C Tower
TLP
TLP
TLP
TLP
TLP
TLP
TLP
TLP
TLP
Spar
Spar
Spar
Spar
Spar
Spar
Spar
Spar
Spar
Spar
Spar
Semi
Semi
Semi
C Tower
TLP
TLP
TLP
Semi
Semi

1984
1998
2000
2001
1989
2003
1994
1996
2001
1997
1999
1999
1997
2002
1999
2004
2002
2001
2003
2004
2000
2002
2003
1988 1990
1996 1999
2005
2004
2004
1992
1995
1997
1998

Yes

N Sea

Semi

350 2001

Yes

Yes
Yes

Brazil
Brazil

Semi
Semi

620 1991 1992 EPS


625 1993 2000 EPS

Conversion
Reuse

Yes

Brazil
Asia
Asia

Semi
Semi
TLP

1360 2000 2001


332 1996
1050 2003

Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Reuse
Conversion
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes

Conversion
Conversion
Yes

Production
Risers
No Type

58
19
21
9
20
9
32
24
8
20
5
20
16

Production Capacity

Oil

Oil
Gas
(k.bbl/d) (MMm3/d)

Export

Rigid
Rigid
Rigid
Rigid
Rigid
Rigid
Rigid
Rigid
Rigid
Rigid
Rigid
Rigid
Rigid
Rigid
Rigid
Rigid
Rigid
Rigid
Rigid
Rigid
Rigid
Rigid
Rigid
Tower
Tower
SCR
Rigid
Rigid
Rigid
Rigid
Flexible
Flexible

30
60
60
50
35
33
100
200
100
70
40
150
30
40
55
40
30
40

27 17 Flexible

110

Flexible
6 Flexible
Flexible
0
24 Rigid

20

4
24
48

23
23

3
26
20

9
9
20
16
8
14
8
1
1
23
42
36
44
56
31
26

1.4
5.7
2.8
2.3
1.4
1.6
11.5
5.2
8.5
7.4
7.1
11.3
0.8
3.1
2.3
5.7
5.7
5.7

100
9.2
50
1.7
60
23
3.4
40
3.4
250
5.6
140
250
230
3.2
220
5.0
70 Future 9.9
110 Future 1.8

Vessel
Displacemt

(k.t)
Pipeline
Pipeline
Pipeline
Pipeline
Pipeline
Pipeline
Pipeline
Pipeline
Pipeline
Pipeline
Pipeline
Pipeline
Pipeline
Pipeline
Pipeline
Pipeline
Pipeline
Pipeline
Pipeline
Pipeline
Pipeline
Pipeline
Pipeline
Pipeline
Pipeline
Pipeline
FPSO
FPSO
Pipeline
Tanker
Tanker
Pipeline

13
17
66
48
50
45
89
20

30
30

37
45
26
130

107
291
46
53

3.0

57

25
25

0.0 Tanker
0.3 Pipeline

22
22

180
0
60

4.0 Tanker
0.0 FPSO
4.2

55
28
15