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Introduction to Offshore

Oil and Gas Surface Facilities

By Puput Aryanto Risanto

17 November 2015
Rev.1 4 October 2016

Upstream Oil & Gas Life Cycle



Activities to search for oil & gas deposit on the

certain location beneath the earth surface
Activities to define the oil & gas volume and
characteristic more precisely after discovery
Activities to build the subsurface & surface facilities
to produce oil & gas safely and efficiently
Activities to extract, process, and export oil & gas
as per contract agreement

Activities to plug wells permanently, remove surface

facilities, and restore the field as per initial state

 Once the Oil Company is granted a permit to conduct the

business from the government (through host authority),

they must start with exploration.
Exploration is an activities to detect oil & gas presence
beneath the earth surface by means of gravity survey,
magnetic survey, and seismic reflection survey.
Seismic surveys work on the principle of the time it takes
for reflected sound waves to travel through matter
(rock/soil) of varying densities and then translated into a
profile of the earth soil & rock layers, sometimes called
seismic imaging.
In offshore, seismic survey is done by a seismic vessel.
Finally, when an indication of oil & gas presence
(prospect) exists based on the evaluation, it must be
followed by a drilling activity to conclusively determine
the presence or absence of oil & gas inside the reservoir
(a subsurface pool where fluids trapped between layer
of soils & rocks).

Seismic Vessel

Seismic Imaging

 Drilling is activities to create a hole from the earth surface to the

reservoir target in the earth subsurface.

 Based on the purposes, drilling can be divided into :
 Exploration : to find the oil & gas reservoir
 Appraisal : to further confirm the reservoir volume and characteristic
 Development : to produce oil & gas from the reservoir
 Injection : to inject fluids (gas,water,chemical,etc) into the reservoir

 A set of machines for drilling is called drilling rig.

 Based on the structure housing the drilling equipment set,

offshore drilling rig can be classified into :

1. Bottom supported
 Self-contained platform rig
 Tender Assisted Drilling (TAD) rig
 Jack Up (JU) rig
 Inland barge (swamp-barge) rig

2. Floating
 Semi-submersible rig
 Drill ship

Drilling Rig (Sketch-1)

Drilling Rig (Sketch-2)

 Once significant hydrocarbon volume is confirmed, field

development plan / Plan of Development (FDP/PoD) will

be proposed to monetize the oil & gas deposit.
 FDP shall contain :
 Method of oil & gas volume calculation including

Method of hydrocarbon recovery and estimated recovered
volume (number of oil & gas that can be lifted through out
the field life / contract period)
Surface facilities to extract, process, and export oil & gas
Operation and Maintenance philosophy
Cost, Schedule, and Economic calculation
Abandonment Plan

 FDP is subject to host authority (government appointed

body for upstream oil & gas regulation) and shareholders


Surface Facilities Definition

 In offshore oil & gas industry, term Surface is defined

above the mud-line, or simply seabed / ocean floor /

bottom sea (including several meter below seabed).
 Surface Facilities can be defined as a set of systems
and equipments to extract, process, and export oil &
gas in a safe, controlled, and efficient way which are
located on the surface.
 Generally, surface facilities consists of 2 sections :
 Substructure : a steel structure to support the upper part

(called topside) including the foundations.

 Topside : an integral part of steel deck (can be single or
stacked) and all equipment placed on it, supported by a

Topside and Substructure




Substructure Types
In general, substructure can be divided into :
Fixed Type (bottom supported the seabed)


Compliant Tower
Jack Up
Gravity Based Structure

Floating Type (float on the sea surface)


Mono/Single Hull
Semi Submersible (Semi Sub)
Tension Leg Platform (TLP)

Fixed Substructure - Jacket

Welded tubular space frame with near vertical legs with bracing system between
legs. Piles will be inserted inside legs, hence the tubular frame will act like a jacket
covering piles. Jacket can have 3 up to 12 legs, but majority is 4 legs. Jacket is the
most common offshore substructure. The deepest jacket is Shell Bullwinkle at 412
m water depth on US Gulf of Mexico / GoM.

Fixed Substructure - Compliant

Flexible (compliant) tubular space frame with flexible elements to mitigate natural
forces. This tower can be free standing or supported by guy wires. The deepest
installation is Chevron Petronius (US GoM) at 623 m below sea level.

Fixed Substructure Jack Up

Movable floating hull and three or more legs, which can be moved up and down
relative to hull. For operational mode, legs must be lowered to the seabed, then
raising the hull to the required elevation. Water depth for jack up installation depends
on the legs length, but normally below 100 m. Jack up can be easily moved and is
normally used on a marginal / small field with short production life (below 5 years),
sometimes also called MOPU (Mobile Offshore Production Unit).

Fixed Substructure Gravity Based

Fixed structures that are held-in-place by its own weight plus any contained ballast,
majority constructed from steel-reinforced concrete, normally called CONDEEP
(concrete deep water structure), majority installed in Norway. The deepest structure
is Statoil Troll-A (Norway North Sea) at 303 m water depth.

Floating Structure Monohull

Monohull is a type of vessel with only one hull. The hull may be in the form of normal
vessel (ship-shaped) or cylindrical (circular like a bowl) secured by sets of moorings
and anchors. It can have a liquid storage, hydrocarbon processing, and liquid
transfer to tanker capability, hence called FPSO (Floating Production Storage
Offloading). If no processing facility, it is called FSO (Floating Storage Offloading).
The deepest one is FPSO Stones (US GoM) at 2896 m water depth.

Floating Structure Semi Sub

Semi submersible is floating structures with several columns (vertical hull) and
pontoons (horizontal hull) which can be controlled in such a way that pontoons
become fully submerged and column partially submerged, while the topside remains
above the water line, and secured with spread moorings and anchors. This will
increase the stability and station keeping. Semi sub platform sometimes called sFPS
(semi-sub Floating Production Station), FPS, or FPU (Floating Production Unit). The
deepest FPS is Chevron Jack/St. Malo (US GoM) at 2134 m water depth.

Floating Structure Tension Leg Platform

TLP is a floating structure, normally in the form of semi-submersible, which is

vertically moored to anchors by a set of tubular steels called tendons. The tendons is
constantly in tension by floating structure buoyancy and tensioner system. The
tension leg keeps the platform very stable, hence surface wellhead can be installed.
The deepest TLP is Chevron Big Foot (US GoM) at 1581 m water depth.

Floating Structure SPAR

SPAR is floating platform with a deep-draft (most of the section is submerged) large
vertical cylinder hull, completed with heavy ballast on the bottom to ensure center of
gravity is below center of buoyancy, secured with spread moorings and anchors. The
deep-draft design makes it very stable and suitable for surface wellhead. SPAR can
also store liquid. The deepest SPAR is Shell Perdido (US GoM) at 2450 water depth.

Summary of Substructure Types

Surface Facilities Function

 Surface facilities function can be described as :
 Extraction : Facilities to extract oil & gas from the reservoir

into surface in a safe and controlled manner.

 Processing : Facilities to process raw oil & gas / well
stream into treated crude oil and/or natural gas as per
customer requirement.
 Exporting : Facilities to export treated/processed oil and/or
gas to customer receiving point.
 In offshore platforms, those functions are done by :
 Extraction : Wellhead Platform (WHP)
 Processing : Central Processing Platform (CPP)
 Exporting : Pipeline, F(P)SO, FLNG

 In addition, Living Quarter is provided to accommodate

operation & maintenance crew 24/7.

Wellhead Function
 Wellhead : A termination point of a well (a series of tubular

steel running from the surface up to certain target on the

reservoir, referred as the bottom hole) on the surface that
provides the structural and pressure-containing interface
for the drilling and production equipment.
During drilling, surface pressure control is provided by a
Blow Out Preventer (BOP).
Once drilling completed, surface pressure control is
replaced by a Christmas Tree installed on top of the
wellhead, with isolation and choke valves to control the
flow of well fluids during production.
Normally, wellhead & Christmas tree is located on the
platform and can be easily operated by man, called surface
wellhead or dry tree.
However, for deep water or when platform installation is
considered not cost-effective, wellhead & Christmas tree
may be located on the seabed, called subsea wellhead or
wet tree.

WHP, surface wellhead, & dry tree

wellhead &
Christmas tree

Subsea wellhead & wet tree

Processing Function
 Not like many people think that oil & gas reservoir contains

only oil and/or gas, actually it always contain oil, gas, water, and
sometimes other contaminants like nitrogen (N2), carbon dioxide
(CO2), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), mercury (Hg), and salt.
Oil & gas molecules are actually constructed from the same
elements, Hydrogen (H) and Carbon (C), hence referred as
Hydrocarbon. Oil is hydrocarbon mixtures which form liquid at
room temperature (25oC), whereas gas is hydrocarbon mixtures
which form gas at room temperature.
Well fluids coming from the reservoir are actually a mixture of all
above fluids in a high pressure and temperature.
Meanwhile, the customers (downstream industry) require
separate treated oil (crude oil) & gas (natural gas) for further
Processing function is to separate oil, gas, and water, then treat
oil and gas to meet customer specification, and treat water for
overboard discharge (release to the sea) or re-inject to the

Processing Block Diagram

Process System
It is defined as all the system required to process well stream into crude oil and
natural gas.
In general, it consists of :
 Separation : to separate well stream into oil, gas, and water
 Gas Dehydration : to further remove water from gas
 Gas Treatment : to remove contaminants from gas
 Gas Conditioning : to regulate gas condition like temperature & dew point
 Gas Compression : to compress (increase pressure & reduce volume) gas so
it can travel in a long distance to customer receiving point
 Gas Metering : to measure the volume of gas export as a basis of company
 Oil Dehydration : to further remove water from oil
 Oil Stabilization : to further remove gas from oil
 Oil Desalting : to remove salt content from oil
 Oil Pumping : to pump (increase pressure only without reducing volume) oil so
it can travel in a long distance to customer receiving point
 Oil Metering : to measure the volume of oil export
 Produced Water Treatment : to remove oil, gas, and other contaminants from
produced water until meeting certain criteria for disposal to the sea

Utility System
It is defined as all the system required to support process system. It is as important as
process system itself, since system malfunction may reduce, stop, or even endanger
the production. In general, it consists of :
 Power generation & distribution : to generate & distribute electrical power to the

electrical equipment
 Instrumentation : to measure and monitor process and utility parameters & provide

input to the control system

 Control : to regulate process and non-process system as per requirement
 Heating : to provide heat to hydrocarbon, i.e. crude oil heating for easier flow
 Cooling : to remove heat from hydrocarbon, i.e. gas cooling after compression
 Instrument Air : to compress air and distribute it for instrumentation & control purpose
 Utility Air : to compress air and distribute it for general purpose, i.e. for compressed

air powered hand tool

 Gas Fuel : to condition natural gas for gas powered engine, i.e. Gas Turbine

 Diesel Fuel : to store and distribute diesel fuel for diesel powered engine, i.e.

Emergency Diesel Generator

Utility System - continued

 Drain : to collect and store any excess process and non-process liquid
 Fresh & Potable Water : to treat sea water into fresh (plain but not drinkable) and

potable (drinkable) water

 Fire & Gas : to detect fire & gas leakage and provide warning and input to control

 Fire Water System : to provide fire water for fire extinguishing
 Emergency Shutdown : to provide facilities to safely stop the process (shutdown) in

case of any emergency

 Flare : to provide a safe way to remove and burn excess gas
 Vent : to provide a safe way to remove excess gas without burning it
 HVAC (Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning) : to provide conditioned air to

enclosed room, i.e. control room

Telecommunication : to provide telecommunication and remote control/monitoring of

remote facilities

 Crane and Mechanical Handling : to lift and move heavy equipment within platform or

from/to boat
 Marine (only for floating structure) : to control stability and movement of floating


Living Quarter (LQ)

In general, accommodation or LQ has facilities :
 Bedroom : number of beds defines maximum number of people can stay
 Galley : also called dining room where people gather for meal and rest
 Kitchen : for safety reason, only electric stoves allowed in offshore platform
 Meeting Room : teleconference capability with onshore office is a must
 Office : normally, only Offshore Installation Manager (OIM) has dedicated room
 Bathroom : normally shared male bathroom, only OIM and VIP guest room have
own-bathroom inside the bedroom
 Clinic : sufficient medication and facility to manage emergencies
 Multi Purpose Room : can be used for sport, recreation, and praying
 Helideck : for helicopter/chopper take off and landing, with/out refueling facility
 Boat Landing : for boat/vessel landing to transfer personnel or light
 Emergency Life Boat : for emergency escape if platform damage due to fire or other
 Radio Room : for telecommunication equipment installation
 Material Storage : to store spare equipment, spare parts, and consumables
 Control Room : to remotely control and monitor process parameters
 Maintenance Workshop : to maintain and repair equipment, but normally only minor
repair due to limited facility

CPP-only side view illustration

CPP with drilling & LQ illustration

Exporting Function
 Crude oil and natural gas will be evacuated from offshore

platform to onshore receiving facility (ORF) through a

Pipeline is a long pipe for conveying fluids (oil and/or gas) .
Offshore pipeline will be placed on the seabed.
Offshore pipeline may be insulated to keep fluids warm and
coated with concrete to add stability and protection.
If oil pipeline is considered too expensive or no available
ORF, offshore storage may be considered using FSO,
FPSO, or subsea storage, then stored oil exported to oil
shuttle tanker.
Same case for gas, offshore gas storage may be
considered using Floating Liquefied Natural Gas (FLNG),
then stored liquefied gas exported to LNG shuttle tanker.

Surface Facilities Selection

 Selection will be based on several factor, mainly :
 Number and type of wells
 Production capacity and field life
 Water depth and seabed condition
 Nearby and onshore receiving facilities
 Oil & gas evacuation strategy
 Health Safety Environment philosophy
 Operation & Maintenance philosophy
 Contractor capability
 Local regulation
 Cost and schedule
 Technology availability and maturity

 Concept selection will be conducted during

development stage and the result will be part of FDP.

Separate bridge-linked jacket

Integrated WHP-CPP-LQ in single jacket

Separate bridge-linked jacket with FSO

FPSO with wet tree

Semi submersible with wet tree

Tension Leg Platform with dry tree

Have you ever imagine???

Troll A, the largest and tallest object ever moved by mankind. Overall height is
472 m (20 m taller than Petronas Twin Towers) and the weight is 683,600 tons

Have you ever imagine (again)???

Katie Melua, a
British female
singer, performed
a concert at the
bottom of Troll A
platform at 303 m
below sea level
as a celebration
of 10 years
operation by
Statoil in 2006,
break another
record for the
concert on the

About the Author

Puput Aryanto Risanto had more than 12
years experience in oil & gas industry.
Currently he is working for Premier Oil Natuna
Sea B.V. in Jakarta, Indonesia. Previously he
worked for Petronas Carigali Sdn. Bhd. in KL,
Premier Oil Natuna Sea B.V. in Jakarta and
Total E&P Indonesie in Balikpapan, Indonesia.
His expertise included project engineering & management,
joint venture management, engineering & construction
management, & electrical engineering-constructioninspection. This presentation was small contribution to
educate the public during low oil price environment. He can
be contacted at