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Deepwater completions
Deepwater completions

Deepwater dry-tree units

for Southeast Asia
As commercially attractive oil and gas discoveries are found in Southeast Asia in ever
increasing water depths, the associated technical, operational and economic challenges become
formidable. As such, the selection of an appropriate development architecture, i.e. wet or dry
completions, is essential for the overall success of a project. This paper, by John W Chianis, P.
E., Vice President Deepwater Technology and Engineering, ABB Lummus Global, FPS-
Houston, was presented at the PetroMin Deepwater Technology Conference by Ray P Fales,
Manager Technology Development.

o properly address this wide range of development deeper water will continue as more discoveries are found.
options, ABB has developed a portfolio of deepwater Efficient deepwater development options will be required
hull forms. Three of the more significant elements of for SE Asia.
this portfolio are the Extended Tension Leg Plat- Unlike other harsh environmental regions of the world,
form, Single Column Floater, and semi-submersible. These SE Asia has benign metocean conditions by comparison.
three well-proven hull forms bring tangible benefits to This is the primary enabler for three favourable benefits, 1)
many of Southeast Asia’s deepwater developments as an overall downsizing of the selected deepwater system, 2)
they can be economically adapted to the area’s benign the ability to extend the system into deeper water depths,
metocean conditions and potentially maximise in-coun- and 3) an increased system capacity for larger topsides
try fabrication. payloads. The design efficiencies for deepwater systems
This paper evaluates various development options for a utilised in SE Asia can be high.
water depth of 1,500 m and an average reservoir size of 300
MMboe. All necessary functions including drilling, direct Deepwater challenges
access to wells for workover operations, host to subsea As exploration and development activities move into
tiebacks, processing, injection, etc. are considered. As deeper water, various challenges must be overcome. Al-
deepwater regions of Southeast Asia have little pipeline
though they are not necessarily unique to SE Asia, these
infrastructure, the utilisation of FPSOs will also be ad-
challenges represent barriers to efficient and economic
dressed. Technical and operational considerations for a
development of the deepwater region. Some of the more
budget cost estimate will be presented for the best-for-field
critical deepwater challenges are listed below:
option identified.
◆ The availability of deepwater drilling rigs for well
Introduction intervention will be an important consideration in the
In water depths of approximately 100 m or less, the vast evaluation of wet- vs. dry-tree completions.
offshore region of Southeast Asia (SE Asia) represents a ◆ More detailed site-specific metocean data is necessary
mature oil and gas development area. Existing develop- to assure an adequate design and to help achieve a
ments consist primarily of fixed platforms and Floating higher level of system efficiency.
Production, Storage and Offloading units (FPSOs). Local ◆ In most cases, the area’s benign conditions permit
businesses have developed to provide the majority of tender assisted drilling to achieve reductions in both
services required for this well-established offshore oil and payload and cost. However, all design and operational
gas industry. aspects of drilling tender assist must be thoroughly
The area has experienced recent advances into deepwater investigated. This includes the integrated mooring sys-
with the installation of the West Seno Tension Leg Platform tem, global performance of overall system, drilling
(TLP) in 975 m of water offshore Indonesia. This trend into program, operational up-time, etc.

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◆ Limited lifting equipment in the area (or limited access pipe and/or Steel Catenary Risers (SCRs) are used in this
to) could be a major factor in determining the extent of case. The motion behaviour of the surface facility will
local construction. govern the complexity, or even feasibility, of the TTR
Solutions to some of these challenges are easy, but and SCR systems.
involve a thorough understanding of lessons learned from Drilling and workover – Wells can be drilled and com-
other deepwater regions like the Gulf of Mexico. Generally pleted directly from the surface facility. Because the drill-
speaking, the transfer and subsequent application of ing rig is resident on the facility, well workover and
deepwater engineering experience to the SE Asia area will maintenance is readily available. This permits a higher
be highly successful. Improvements in efficiency and eco- level of production reliability and reservoir management.
nomics will be significant. As an alternative to a platform-based rig, tender assisted
drilling is possible in SE Asia because of the benign
Possible development options metocean conditions. The immediate attraction of this
Due to the variables involved, there exists a large number option is obvious – dry-tree system weight and cost savings.
of development options for SE Asia. However, tender assisted drilling must be thoroughly
At the highest level, development options fall into two evaluated from an operational perspective.
categories. These are total subsea (wet-tree) and surface Export – The method for export of product from the facility
(dry-tree) completions. The table below provides a brief is largely dictated by local pipeline infrastructure. Ideally,
analysis of the advantages and disadvantages for each SCRs are used for export directly to local pipelines. How-
completion strategy. Although shape and structure of a ever, if there is no local infrastructure and the economics
reservoir is a factor in determining completion strategy, it do not permit the construction of new pipelines, storage
is not addressed in the following table. by an adjacent tanker is the alternative. Offloading and
subsequent transport
Criteria Total Subsea Surface of the product is ac-
(wet-tree) (dry-tree) complished via shut-
Lower – All risers are flexible pipe or Higher – Due to cost of top-tensioned riser tle tanker.
CAPEX Cost SCRs. Platform is permitted larger system. Increased cost of platform to Should storage be
motions for the support of wet-trees. support dry-trees. required, interesting
Higher – All drilling is performed by Lower - Drilling rig is dedicated to the options are possible for
DRILEX Cost the dry-tree platform.
contract deepwater drilling rigs platform
Higher - Drilling rig day rates and Lower - Drilling rig is dedicated to the For example, the deck
OPEX Cost of the storage tanker is
mobilisation costs are high platform
large by default and
Lower - Greater possibility for flow Higher – Flow assurance issues are
assurance issues. Maintenance and minimised. Dedicated rig is available for can easily house all or
Production Reliability part of the production
repair are dependent upon availability maintenance and repairs.
of drilling rig. facilities and utilities.
Lower – Dependent upon availability Higher – Improved drilling and well Since deck area and
Reservoir Mgmt and payload requirements
of drilling rig. Recompletion is difficult workover programs yields higher
Productivity and costly. recoverable reserves. Facilitates multiple on the dry-tree unit
completions. will be significantly re-
duced, the entire plat-
For the example development, it will be assumed that the form can be down-sized both physically and functionally
operational advantages of a dry-tree solution outweigh the to a surface wellhead platform. In this case, it is desirable
CAPEX benefits of a wet-tree solution. As such, total subsea for the tanker and wellhead platform to be in close
solutions will not be addressed further. However, all of the proximity to minimise, or even eliminate, flow assurance
dry-tree options discussed in this paper can also support issues. Careful attention must be paid to avoid interfer-
wet-trees. This hybrid-type solution is used on most all ence problems between the two floating units and asso-
deepwater applications today for more complete reservoir ciated mooring systems.
management and productivity. Hull form – The following performance and delivery
Some of the more significant deepwater development related parameters should be carefully considered during
issues that influence the selection of an appropriate dry- evaluation of an appropriate hull form:
tree hull form are discussed below: Motion characteristics of the hull form determine the
Well completions – The surface facility will be posi- complexity of the drilling and production riser system, e.g.,
tioned such that direct vertical access to the wells are tensioner configuration, riser stroke, etc. Platform motions
possible using top tensioned production risers (TTRs). are also a major factor in the design of subsea tie-backs
Although this completion architecture is classified as using SCRs. Global performance of the system will estab-
dry-tree, subsea tie-backs are also possible. Flexible lish limits of operational up-time. The design of a particular

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Deepwater completions

hull form can permit local construction that will result in a limited to just a few feet in the most severe 100-yr hurricane
reduced project schedule. design conditions.
Complex installation plans requiring the mobilisation of The following sections describe in some detail, ABB’s
large construction vessels and involving long offshore experience with three specific hull forms appropriate
integration and commissioning campaigns can be avoided for application in SE Asia. These are, 1) ETLP, 2) SCF, and
with some hull forms. 3) Semi-submersible. Development history, advantages
Hull forms with well-proven operational performance of the concept and range of application are presented
records will be more reliable. for each.

Extended Tension Leg Platform

TLPs and Floaters The design of a TLP hull form, and particularly its
There exist a large number of available options for distinctive mooring system, are very much linked to pay-
deepwater development. These include, but are not lim- load and water depth. Despite its weight-sensitive nature,
ited to the TLP, semi-submersible, Spar, Single Column the TLP has proven to be the Industry’s favoured deepwater
Floater (SCF), etc. To the eye, these hull forms are found to hull form for dry-tree applications because of its operation-
be very different. However, they can all be grouped into ally-superior motion characteristics. This has been demon-
two categories – TLPs and Floaters. strated on a global scale with TLPs now located in the North
Deepwater platform differences - The two general forms of Sea, Gulf of Mexico, offshore West Africa and SE Asia.
deepwater platforms are TLPs and Floaters. When TLPs and A brief review of TLP history, the development of the
Floaters are compared, it is obvious that these two types Extended Tension Leg Platform (ETLP) and its associated
of platforms control motions using completely different advantages, and the ETLP’s broad range of application are
principles. presented below.
Tension Leg Platforms TLP history - Fourteen TLPs have been installed to date
The mooring system of a TLP is vertically oriented and worldwide. The first, Conoco’s Hutton platform in the
consists of tubular steel members called tendons. The UK North Sea, was installed in 1984 in 148 m of water.
tendons are highly tensioned using the excess buoyancy of This is contrasted to Shell’s Ursa TLP that was installed
the platform hull. The highly tensioned tendon system year-end in 1998 in 1,200 m of water in the Gulf of
limits horizontal offsets to a very small percent of water Mexico. This near order-of-magnitude jump in water
depth. The high tendon stiffness also reduces the system’s depth has occurred in only 14 years. Today, ABB is
vertical natural periods to a level well below that of the designing a TLP for nearly 1,450 m of water for Conoco’s
dominant wave energy. As a result, dynamic amplification Magnolia project in the Gulf of Mexico (Figure 1). This
of vertical motion is almost non-existent and the platform dramatic increase in water depth is possible due to the
has very small heave, roll and pitch motions. Essentially, design enhancements offered by the ETLP. Figure 2 illus-
the vertical motions correspond to the stretch in the tubular trates the rapid growth of Industry-acceptance for the TLP
steel tendons. For even the largest Gulf of Mexico hurri- to increasing water depths since Hutton.
cane waves of 25 m, vertical motions of
the platform are only a few inches.
The term ‘Floaters’ represents a family
of deepwater hull forms having conven-
tional, or spread-moored, mooring sys-
tems. This family consists of the following
well-known hull concepts - ship shape
or mono-hull, semi-submersible, Spar
and SCF.
Unlike the TLP, the mooring system of
a Floater does not influence the wave-
induced motions of the platform. The
typical Floater has a small water plane
area which limits vertical hydrostatic
restoring forces. For the SCF and Spar,
the combination of small vertical restor-
ing force and large effective mass keeps
the natural periods in the vertical plane
well above the dominant wave energy.
The resulting wave-induced motions are

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Advantages - The most distinctive features of the
ETLP are related to weight savings and efficiency
in project execution. Compared to a conven-
tional TLP, the hull and deck steel weight savings
of an ETLP is approximately 40%. A measure of
the ETLP’s effectiveness to carry topsides payload
can be described by a ratio called structural
weight efficiency. This ratio quantifies the weight
of payload that can be supported by a given
weight of hull and deck platform. The structural
weight efficiency for an ETLP is high and ranges
from 1.1 – 1.2 in the Gulf of Mexico to 1.3 - 1.4
for offshore W Africa applications. This is defined
in more detail in a later section titled Initial
Concept Sizing.
ETLP development history - For several years, ABB has The other significant advantage of the ETLP is its ability
aggressively pursued a technology development effort to to be installed as a completely integrated and commis-
revolutionise the conventional TLP. A multi-million dollar sioned unit. As such, the installation operation is less
investment has been made by ABB in the development of complex compared to other floating hull forms and is
the ETLP concept for a variety of topsides payloads, riser therefore less likely to be adversely affected by weather.
counts, water depths and regions of the world. Extensive The advantages of the ETLP can be summarised as
engineering, design and physical model testing has been follows:
performed. ◆ Comprised of safe, conventional and well-proven
ABB has performed a large number of paid studies and systems,
design competitions for Clients whose deepwater develop- ◆ Greater than 40% hull and deck steel weight savings
ment options are favourable for an ETLP. The ETLP has when compared to the conventional TLP,
shown to be technically sound as it is comprised of ◆ Integration and commissioning of topsides and hull is
conventional and well-proven systems. done quayside,
A typical ETLP hull configuration consists of four vertical ◆ Minimal risk exposure for installation in remote
columns that can be square or cylindrical in cross section. regions, and
Rectangular pontoons connect the columns below the ◆ A large crane vessel is not required for installation.
water surface. On top of the columns, and integral to the Application - From an economic standpoint, the optimal
hull, is the structural deck that supports the topsides selection of a deepwater hull form depends on the follow-
production facilities, drilling system, quarters, etc. If an ing parameters:
ETLP has the capabilities for vertical access to wells, i.e., ◆ Function,
drilling or well work-over, then it is deemed to be a ‘dry- ◆ Water depth,
tree’ unit. ◆ Topsides payload,
The primary difference between a conventional TLP ◆ Number of top-tensioned risers, and
and the new ETLP is the hull form. Previously, tendons ◆ Design environment.
were connected to the lowermost out-
board portion of the hull on the columns.
For the ETLP, the columns have been moved
inboard allowing a more favourable sup-
port condition for the deck and its associ-
ated riser and drilling related loads. Pontoon
extensions on the outboard edge of the
column are used as tendon connection
points. Figure 3 shows a plan view of the
conventional TLP and ETLP to illustrate
the differences between the two hull forms.
For developments where the production
riser count is 10 or less, then a three-
column ETLP can be utilised. This smaller
version of the ETLP has undergone the
same extensive development work as the
four-column ETLP.

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Deepwater completions

Although the improved motions of a TLP-type structure A brief review of ABB’s SCF development history and
are more desirable than other floating hull forms for drilling its associated advantages and applications are presented
and production operations, the associated tendon mooring below.
costs in ultra-deep water can be high by comparison. The SCF development history - The Single Column Floater is a
ETLP has proven to be highly effective in extending the compliant, moored Floater. It differs considerably in form
perceived water depth and payload limits of the TLP and from other existing deepwater Floater-type structures
additional development work is currently being carried out because of its shallower draft and extended base. An artist’s
by ABB to further extend the economic water depth and rendering and cut-away views are shown in Figures 4 and
payload range of the ETLP. 5 respectively.

Single Column Floater

Similar to TLPs, Floater designs are also sensitive to
topsides payload. Unlike TLPs, Floater designs are not as
sensitive to water depth primarily due to their more con-
ventional spread mooring systems. These spread mooring
systems however, do not contribute in any significant way
to the reduction of platform motions as found with the TLP
and its tendons. As a result, Floater designs and their ability
to provide a motion-friendly platform for operations, are
more sensitive to metocean conditions.

The SCF was initially conceived by ABB as an efficient

hull form for ultra-deep applications. Continued ABB
development efforts with Fabricators and Installers
identified several other key project execution advantages
over other Floater concepts such as the Spar. These
◆ The SCF hull is fabricated vertically and in a single
◆ Deck lift and integration with the SCF hull at quayside
is possible
◆ The SCF platform can be fully commissioned prior to
◆ Installation of the SCF, and the associated transporta-
tion activities, are performed vertically, i.e. upending is
not required

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◆ The SCF is a smaller, more compact hull form, that they are not as sensitive to water depth. As with other
greatly facilitates platform re-use, i.e. modification and Floaters, the spread mooring system of a semi-submersible
redeployment does not contribute to the reduction in motions like the
Advantages - The shallow draft of the SCF is particularly stiff vertical mooring system of a TLP. As a result, the
significant in that it reduces total steel weight and simplifies motions of a semi-submersible are more sensitive to
hull construction and installation. Most notably, the SCF metocean conditions. For comparison purposes, a semi-
can be fabricated vertically as a single unit and transported submersible will have greater heave motions than a Single
directly to site. Unlike other competing concepts, the SCF Column Floater - a critical design factor to be considered
does not require any subsequent offshore assembly and for the support of SCRs.
does not need to be upended prior to installation. The SCF’s A brief review of semi-submersible history and their
ease of installation makes it particularly attractive for associated advantages and applications is presented
regions without established offshore installation infra- below.
structure such as SE Asia. Semi-submersible development history – The first semi-
A unique feature of the SCF is the ability to ‘tune’ the submersible used for offshore drilling was Shell Oil Com-
hydrodynamic motion characteristics of the platform to pany’s Bluewater No. 1 converted from a submersible in
different topsides payloads and environmental conditions. 1962. This was followed quickly by the first newbuild,
By adjusting the relative diameters of the column and base, Odeco’s Ocean Driller in the same year. The first uses of
the SCF can easily be optimised for any geographic region semi-submersibles for floating production were the
such as the Gulf of Mexico and offshore West Africa, Brazil Transworld Rig 58 on the Argyll field in the North Sea for
and SE Asia. Hamilton Brothers in 1975. This was soon followed by
Application - The SCF is an effective Floater solution for Petrobras’ early production system for the Enchova Field
several possible deepwater applications. These are: using the Sedco 135D and a moored tanker in August of
◆ Water Depth – Designs have been made for water 1977 in 120 m of water. Since then, semi-submersibles
depths up to 3,000 m. The use of taut polyester mooring have been used for floating production in the Gulf of
legs has been a primary enabler in this effort. Mexico, the North Sea, Brazil and Asia in ever-increasing
◆ Topsides payload – A very wide range of topsides water depths. Shell’s NaKika floating production semi-
payloads can be carried efficiently by the SCF. This submersible system, shown in Figure 6, will be installed in
range of payload can be associated with three classes of 1,950 m of water in the summer of 2003.
• Subsea Support Buoy (up to 1,000 Mt),
• Minimum Facility SCF (up to 5,000 Mt), and
• Full SCF (up to 35,000 Mt).
◆ Designs have been developed for all of the above.
◆ Completions – The SCF is able to support both wet-trees
and dry-trees. Production risers (dry completions) pass
through the hull in a manner similar to Spar and are
supported using a hydraulic/pneumatic tensioning sys-
tem. Import risers (wet completions) can be either
flexibles or SCRs and are supported by the lower hull.
Export risers are also supported by the lower hull.
◆ Flexibility – Should the SCF be installed over a smaller
reservoir with a limited production period, it can easily
be modified and relocated to another field for reuse.
The SCF is an exciting new hull form that can be applied
to most all deepwater applications. Advantages that result Advantages – The semi-submersible is a very mature
from its compact hull form deal with critical delivery and concept. It is capable of carrying large topsides loads with
risk-related issues such as fabrication, transportation, quay- a reasonable hull size and draft. The design allows for
side integration and commissioning, and installation in quayside integration of the topsides and dry transport to the
remote areas. The associated cost and schedule savings to field if necessary. This is particularly attractive for regions
Operators are significant. without established infrastructure. High offshore costs and
schedule risks can be avoided.
Semi-submersible Application – The semi-submersible is an effective Floater
Semi-submersibles are similar to other small water-plane solution for several possible deepwater field develop-
area platforms in that they are sensitive to the topsides ments. Both production and drilling can be accommo-
payload. However, they are not as payload-sensitive as a dated.
TLP, and due to their conventional spread mooring system, Water depth – Semi-submersibles for floating production

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Deepwater completions

have been proven to water depths of 2,000 m, and designs This figure identifies the range of application for four very
have been developed for water depths up to 2,500 m. The different design environments, i.e., Gulf of Mexico and
use of taut polyester mooring systems has facilitated an offshore Brazil, West Africa and SE Asia. Notice that the
increase in the economic water depth. benign metocean conditions offshore SE Asia permit eco-
Topsides payload – The semi-submersible can handle a nomic extension of the ETLP to deeper water depths and
wide range of payloads, up to 40,000 Mt (BP’s Thunder larger payloads.
Horse, a production and drilling semi-submersible for
GoM). Design basis and screening
Completions – Typically, the semi-submersible has sup- A representative design basis is defined in this section for
ported wet-tree completions, particularly in deepwater. a typical SE Asia discovery. An applicable screening proc-
The vertical motions of most semi-submersible designs will ess is presented and various development options are
not accommodate dry-tree completions. Import and export evaluated. The most favourable development option is
risers can be either flexible pipe or SCRs. then identified.
Flexibility – Because of its shallow draft and associated Assumed design basis – A representative discovery in SE
ability to be brought back to quayside for topsides modifi- Asia is defined below. Screening of an appropriate devel-
cations, a semi-submersible floating production system is opment architecture, and the conceptual sizing of a candi-
well suited to relocation. date hull form, is established from the following design
The semi-submersible design can be applied to most assumptions:
deepwater applications utilising subsea trees. The design • Reservoir - Estimated 300 MMboe, layered, multiple
allows for quayside integration of the topsides, thereby completions, single drill centre
reducing offshore hook-up and commissioning costs, and • SITP for drilling and production – 500 bar
schedule risks. • Water depth – 1,500 m
• Production throughput –
ETLP and Floater Domain Range Oil and Condensate 50 Mbopd
Resulting from extensive technical and economic studies Water Production 20 Mbwpd
to identify and define the domain range of the ETLP and Gas Production 300 MMscfd
SCF, it has been determined that the optimal best-for- • Riser count – 30 dry-tree production risers, 2 export
project selection of a deepwater hull form is dependent SCRs, and 3 wet-tree tiebacks
upon water depth, topsides payload, design environment • Export considerations – Close proximity to pipeline
and construction methodology. • Metocean conditions are as follows:
Floaters such as the SCF are generally more applicable
for heavier payloads in the deeper water depths. The Waves
improved motions of the ETLP are more desirable for
drilling and production operations. Significant Wave Height, Hs m 3.05
Detailed analysis and evaluation has revealed the most Peak Spectral Period, Tp sec 8.5
economical application of ABB’s ETLP and SCF deepwater
hull forms for the above project-defining parameters. This Wind
is shown graphically in Figure 7.
1 Hour Speed m/sec 21.34

Speed (surface) m/sec 2.13
Speed (30 m depth) m/sec 1.07

(Please note that the above metocean conditions are

typical for SE Asia and are used for demonstration purposes
only. These values are not to be used for detailed design.)
Screening process – The screening process leading up to
the selection of a deepwater development option typically
consists of 3 phases. These are defined below and shown
in Figure 8:
Concept Screening – Identification and selection of a
reduced number of candidate concepts
Concept Development – Analysis of candidate concepts
and selection of a preferred concept

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FEED Package Development – Development of
lump-sum bid package
Specific details on these three phases are pro-
vided below and shown in Figures 9, 10 and 11.
Phase 1 – Concept Screening
Based on initial field data and technical speci-
fications (e.g., design basis document), a high
level screening effort is performed and a list of
possible field development options are devel-
Topsides arrangements and field layouts are
developed at a conceptual level to facilitate
subsequent analyses. Conceptual execution
plans, and high level cost estimates and deliv-
ery schedules are developed.
Phase 2 – Concept Development
Using the latest available data and results from
Phase 1, the list of possible field development
options is reduced to two candidates.
A higher level of definition is performed for all
key technical systems of the two candidates in-
cluding field layout, topsides, hull, risers, and
mooring. Fabrication, transportation and installa-
tion are also addressed in more detail.
Conceptual level design drawings are produced
and higher level cost (CAPEX and OPEX) and
schedule estimates are made.
Phase 3 – FEED Package Development
Based on the results of Phase 2, the final field
development option is selected and a Front End
Engineering and Design (FEED) effort is begun.
During the FEED work, detailed discussions will
be undertaken with potential Partners (if any),
Fabricators, Installers, Subcontractors, etc. Active
communication is maintained with the Client
throughout the FEED period.
The primary delivery of the FEED effort is the
submission of an Engineering, Procurement,
Installation and Construction (EPIC) lump sum
bid package.
For the above-mentioned screening process,
the governing criteria for concept selection will
vary depending upon Operator preferences, coun-
try regulations, water depth, intended function,
etc. Typical concept selection criteria are listed
below in no particular order of importance:

CAPEX and OPEX Deck/Hull Integration

Concept Experience Topsides Payload
Concept Safety Installation Risk
Local Content Payload Sensitivity
Mooring System New Build vs. Conversion
Operability Performance Record
Schedule Metocean Conditions
Storage Technology Improvements
Wet Trees No. of Risers

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Screening process results – Using selection parameters These are, 1) the ETLP’s ability to take best advantage of
discussed in the introduction, and the assumed design SE Asia’s benign metocean conditions, 2) its ability to
basis just mentioned, a conceptual screening process (Phase easily accommodate 30 top tensioned risers, and 3)
I) was performed to identify possible field development fabrication and installation can be performed with local
options. TLP, semi-submersible, Spar and SCF hull forms yards and equipment.
were considered. Although it is a viable option for SE Asia, the SCF scored
A summary of the screening process is presented in table behind the ETLP due to the high riser count. The semi-
format in Figure 12. A brief discussion is provided in each submersible has not yet proven itself to be a suitable
cell regarding the applicability of the subject hull form to platform for the support of dry-trees. The SCF and semi-
the specified design requirement. submersible are both local construction-friendly.
A scoring system (not necessarily valid for all deepwater
applications) is used to identify the best overall hull form Observations related to the major areas of interest for a
solution for this example. Specific parameters of the re- SE Asia deepwater development are:
quirements are weighted in order to identify critical aspects Water depth, payload and metocean – All four of the hull
of the design and delivery for SE Asia. The scores shown in form concepts are considered to be capable of supporting
each cell reflect a variety of evaluation parameters includ- an estimated 20,000 Mt of topsides payload at a water
ing maturity of the technology, system performance, cost, depth of 1,500 m. The tendon system of the TLP will have
risk, etc. The totals at the bottom of the table represent the a higher CAPEX cost than the spread mooring system of a
overall scoring of the hull forms to all weighted design Floater which is likely to be a polyester taut design. The
requirements. area’s benign wind and wave conditions favour all of the
In this example, the ETLP scored well against the other concepts. However, the moderately high current will be
deepwater hull form options for three primary reasons. an issue for the Spar due to the length of its hull.

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Top tensioned risers – The semi-submersible is an un- nificant benefits to the design by reducing hull weight
proven platform for the support of dry-trees. A complex and wind loading, lowering the overall vertical gravity of
TTR tensioning system would be required to account for the system, and by reducing tendon loads.
the higher motions of a semi-submersible. The Spar and ETLP Efficiency - It is important to note the following
SCF will be driven to large hull diameters and complex definition of Total Topsides Payload:
moon pools due to the high riser count. Total Topsides Payload – Weight of all deck equipment
Local construction – The deck, hull and other major and facilities including quarters, drilling systems, etc.
elements of all concepts can be fabricated locally. Full Also includes TTR loads, SCR loads and secondary deck
integration and commissioning can be performed at quay- steel. Topsides equipment or facilities carried in the hull,
side for all hull forms except the Spar. and hull ballast earmarked for future expansion are also
The next sections address conceptual sizing of the ETLP included.
and options for delivery in SE Asia. Another important collective quantity is Total Hull and
Deck Weight. It is defined as follows:
Initial concept sizing Total Hull and Deck Weight – Structural steel weight of
The ETLP configuration selected for this sizing exercise is hull, hull marine systems, hull appurtenances and
a full production and drilling platform. Other very impor- outfitting, and trim ballast. Also includes deck primary
tant linked options, such as partial or full processing on an structural steel weight.
adjacent FPSO, and tender assisted drilling would be Based on the above definitions, the structural weight
addressed in a later screening phase. efficiency of an ETLP can be expressed as a ratio between
Key Figures – Conceptual sizing was performed for the Total Topsides Payload and Total Hull and Deck Weight.
ETLP. Key figures resulting from this exercise are summa- This ratio quantifies the amount of Total Topsides Payload
rised below: that can be carried by a unit Total Hull and Deck Weight.
For this specific example application, the computed struc-
Weights and Loads tural weight efficiency of the ETLP is 1.44. This concep-
Topsides Facilities (process tual-level efficiency can be compared with the following
equipment, utilities, quarters, Mt 5,600 fabricated TLPs and ETLPs.
drilling, etc.)
Top Tensioned Riser Loads Mt 15,400 Design Ratio
Hull Form / Location
Maturity Range
Total Topsides Payload (see below) Mt 22,200
ETLPs in SE Asia Conceptual 1.4 – 1.5
Deck Weight (primary steel) Mt 2,400
ETLPs Offshore W Africa As-Built 1.3 – 1.4
Hull Steel Weight Mt 8,900
ETLPs in GoM As-Built 1.1 – 1.2
Hull Marine Systems, Outfitting
Mt 2,700
Appurtenances, SCR Loads TLPs in GoM As-Built 0.6 – 0.8

The above efficiency ratios cannot be directly com-

pared, as different locations (regions having signifi-
Draft m 29.3 cantly different metocean conditions) are represented.
Column-to-Column Span m 42.7 Other aspects that contribute to a non like-for-like
Column Diameter m 19.5 comparison include differences in water depth, payload
and design approach. The structural weight efficiency
Column Height m 35.4
ratio is also affected by the maturity of the design (e.g.
Deck Out-to-Out Dimensions m 50 x 65 conceptual level design vs. as-built). As such, the 1.44
No. of Tendons —- 8 ratio for the conceptual ETLP for SE Asia would be
expected to increase as the design becomes more
A sketch of the overall ETLP system is shown in Figure 13. developed.
An important factor in the sizing of a TLP is the design The structural weight efficiency ratio of an ETLP im-
air gap. Air gap is the vertical distance from still water to proves dramatically as metocean conditions become
the bottom of deck steel and is approximately 10 m in more benign. This would be the case in SE Asia. As a
this example (see elevation view). For comparison, a demonstration of the value of the ETLP, notice the
typical air gap for a TLP in the Gulf of Mexico is 23 m. improvement in structural weight efficiency ratio be-
The much lower air gap for SE Asia is a product of the tween the conventional TLP and the ETLP, both in the
area’s benign metocean conditions. This results in sig- Gulf of Mexico.

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Deepwater completions

Delivery Options
Following engineering, the high-level logistics for
platform delivery are shown in sequence in Figure 14.
Details regarding fabrication of the ETLP hull and deck,
and deck-hull integration are outlined below. Com-
ments relating to local construction of the ETLP are
found at the end of this section.
ETLP Hull – Due to its compact form, fabrication of the
ETLP hull can be tailored to suit a number of construc-
tion methods depending upon the capabilities and
strengths of a given Fabricator. For example, ABB has
demonstrated that land-based fabrication at quayside
can be equally as efficient as drydock fabrication.
For either of these methods, hull fabrication is a very
systematic and disciplined process, and one that is fully
integrated with engineering. The fabrication sequence
begins with sub-assemblies, which form blocks, which
in turn form super-blocks. Super-blocks are the largest of
the hull components and are lifted into the drydock or
rolled into the land-based erection area. The super-
blocks are pre-outfitted to the maximum extent with
equipment, piping, pipe supports, penetrations, cable
trays, ladders, stairs, etc. Due to parallel design-fabri-
cation activities, pre-outfitting is often limited by engi-
neering supply of drawings. Painting is the last activity
prior to final lifting of the super-block into place within
the structure.
It is desirable for all sub-assemblies and blocks to be
fabricated in a covered shop area. These components
are then moved to a staging area adjacent to the drydock
or erection area where the super-blocks are completed.
For the Kizomba ‘A’ ETLP hull, a total of 24 super-blocks
were used. Because of this efficient procedure, complete
erection of the ETLP in the drydock was performed in
only six weeks. A photograph of the Kizomba ‘A’ ETLP
hull in drydock (Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engi-
neering - Korea) is shown in Figure 15. A photograph
showing land-based fabrication (Belleli - Italy) of the
Auger TLP hull is shown in Figure 16.
Upon leaving the drydock, the ETLP hull is moved to
a nearby quayside location where final mechanical
completion and pre-commissioning activities are per-
formed. Systems entirely contained in the hull are fully
commissioned. The hull is then readied for transport.
Figure 17 shows the float-on operation of the Kizomba
‘A’ ETLP hull.
If the hull is fabricated at a quayside land-based location,
all final mechanical completion and pre-commissioning
activities are performed prior to direct skid-out onto the
transportation vessel.
Once in place on the transport vessel and secured,
the ETLP hull is then transported to the deck-hull
integration site.

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In most cases, TLP decks have been fabricated in
modules. As a general rule, fewer modules will benefit
subsequent module-to-module integration activities. The
Kizomba ‘A’ ETLP deck was fabricated in two modules,
where the Mars TLP and Ram/Powell TLP decks were
fabricated in five modules. Lifting capacity was the
major factor in determining the number of deck modules
for these cases.
The deck’s major truss rows are fabricated first. Deck
pancake sections are then placed between the rolled-up
truss rows. Deck pancake sections span between the
truss rows and contain deck beams, plating and all self-
contained equipment.
For the Kizomba ‘A’ ETLP, each module was fabri-
cated under cover in a shop. The weight of each module
was kept below 6,000 Mt for lifting purposes. Roll-out of
the North deck module is shown in Figure 18.
ETLP Deck-Hull Integration – Upon arrival at the deck-hull
integration site, the hull is brought to quayside and readied
for the deck lifting program. For Kizomba ‘A’, the lifting
sequence of the deck and other key packages was as
• North module,
• South module,
• Living quarters,
• Drilling module, and
• Drill rig including skid base, drill floor and derrick.
Figure 19 shows the lifting operation for the second, or
South, module.
After all of the above lifts and associated integration
activities are performed, the complete topsides are
fully commissioned at quayside. This is shown in Fig-
ure 20. The fully integrated and commissioned ETLP
can be wet-towed to site, or loaded onto a heavy-lift
submersible vessel for dry transport.

ETLP Deck – Depending upon its size and deck-hull

integration method, the deck is fabricated in a single
integrated piece or in modules.
A single integrated deck will in most cases exceed a
Fabricator’s lifting capacity. As such, this option will
involve a float-over deck-hull integration operation.
Because of its single piece construction, the deck will
generally be more structurally efficient (less redundant
steel) than an equivalent modular-type deck. Due to the
float-over operation, a sheltered deepwater area will be
required. The hull will experience a slight growth in
weight due to the increased draft (hydrostatic design
head) associated with this operation.

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Deepwater completions

The platform-based drilling system is typically fabricated

in several modules and then transported to the integration
site for assembly directly on the ETLP. Drilling system
modules can be fabricated locally. Prior to final sail-away
of the ETLP, the completed drilling system is fully commis-
The top-tensioned drilling and production risers would
likely be fabricated elsewhere and transported to site for
direct installation on the in-place ETLP. Pre-installation of
all the riser tensioner cassette frames while at the deck-hull
integration site permits simple installation of the risers.

Cost estimate and schedule

The ETLP has been selected for 3 prestigious deepwater
developments offshore West Africa and the Gulf of Mexico
in the last 2 years. ETLP designs and pricing have also
been submitted for deepwater developments in both
South China Sea and Makassar Strait. Initial design work
is being carried out for an ETLP in the Timor Sea. These
international applications demonstrate the economic
appeal of the ETLP against other competing solutions.
The final cost depends primarily upon the functionality
of the facility, i.e., the amount of drilling and processing
equipment required on the topsides. Typically, the whole
life cost of the development should be minimised through
optimisation of the facility in terms of drilling functionality
(full vs. tender assist), process (full vs. surface wellhead
platform), accommodation, etc.
These trade-offs depend on factors discussed earlier
in the paper such as the availability of deepwater contract
drilling rigs and the selected export solution (pipeline
vs. FPSO).
A representative cost breakdown summary (by percent-
age) is as follows.

Local Construction – A significant level of local content is Category % of Cost

achievable given the compact form of the ETLP and the Topsides equipment, fabrication, bulks, etc. 50
well-proven nature of its associated key systems. Hull fabrication and bulks, and materials and
Construction of the ETLP’s deck and hull is possible in SE 30
fabrication for tendons and foundations
Asia and would be encouraged in order to shorten the
Transportation and installation 10
project schedule via the elimination of lengthy transports.
As discussed earlier in this section, the uncomplicated Integration, hook-up and commissioning 10
design of the ETLP hull allows flexibility in construction
methods. Since drydock and land-based construction meth- A representative schedule for delivery of the example
ods are possible, fabrication yard options can be ex- ETLP is shown in Figure 21. The total schedule from start of
panded. Platform appurtenances such as boat landings, detailed engineering to start-up is estimated at 27 months.
riser tensioner cassette frames and wellhead access plat- A 3-month early engineering period has been assumed
forms can also be fabricated locally. prior to start of detailed engineering. This schedule is
Tendon piles are excellent candidates for local fabri- highly achievable since similar schedules have been
cation, and with proper training, the tendon strings realised on recent projects.
themselves can also be fabricated locally. Methods have Assumptions made in the development of this schedule
also been developed by ABB to permit safe pre-installa- for an all-SE Asia ETLP solution include:
tion of the tendon system without the use of a costly A sufficient level of pre-engineering has been performed
heavy lift vessel. to allow a full start-up of detailed engineering,

42 OCTOBER 2003 Visit our website at

• Topsides fabrication also includes drilling rig and for 1.0 Mt of hull and deck steel.
living quarters, • Since the ETLP can be installed fully integrated and
• Hull is fabricated at a separate facility and transported commissioned, significant reductions in offshore instal-
to the topsides fabrication facility for system integration lation time are possible.
and commissioning, • When the ETLP is used in conjunction with a FPSO, the
• Tendons are pre-installed, and separation distance between the two vessels can be
• The completed ETLP is wet towed to site. greatly reduced compared to other floaters such as
Spar. Flow assurance issues and fluid transfer line loads
on the ETLP are minimised. Significant cost savings are
achieved with shorter fluid transfer lines.
• Local content is facilitated by the ETLP. Significant parts
of the facility can be fabricated in domestic fabrication
• Due to the compact form of the ETLP, fabrication of the
hull can be tailored to suit a number of construction
methods depending upon the capabilities and strengths
of a given Fabricator.

The authors would like to thank Edward Huang and Rajiv
Aggarwal for their technical contributions to this paper.
Summary The authors would also like to thank Steve Pywell, Jason
The development of deepwater fields in Southeast Asia is Nunn and Gardiner Henderson for their local area knowl-
generally complex requiring the installation of several edge and commercial contributions. Many special thanks
major elements for a successful development. Among to Frank Steinhauer for his graphical contributions and to
these are subsea infrastructure, dry-tree unit, and if so ABB for its generous support of deepwater technology
determined, FPSO and export shuttle tankers. development.
For the assumed deepwater application in SE Asia, the
ETLP was identified as the most appropriate dry-tree References
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performed. Many systems of the ETLP lend themselves to Platform Concepts”, Offshore Technology Conference, Hou-
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Deepwater Surface Tree Floating Systems”, Proceedings of the
ETLP has evolved into a very safe and cost effective
8th Offshore Symposium (SNAME), February 25-26, 1999,
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There are significant benefits to be gained from the use of Tree Alternative”, 11th Offshore Technology Conference and
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• Due to the benign metocean conditions in SE Asia and 4. Huang, E., Aggarwal, R. and Zou, J: ”Evaluation of Dry Tree
the inherent efficiency of the concept, the ETLP can Platform Concepts for Deepwater West Africa”, Deep Off-
carry larger topside payloads and extend into deeper shore Technology Conference, New Orleans, La, November
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• Current technology developments are ongoing to fur- Africa”, IBC Conference – TLPs in West Africa, London,
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• With surface completions, a much higher level of 6. Fraga, C.T. da Costa, Borges, F. A., Bellot, C. Beltrão, R.
reservoir management and productivity is possible Assayag, M. I.: “Campos Basin – 25 Years of Production and
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Conference, Houston, Texas, May 5-8, 2003, OTC 15219.
• The ETLP has very high operational up-time for drilling
7. Anderson, Clay, Nunn, Jason: “Minimum Facilities Floaters: A
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small watch circle even for the most severe metocean XIV Deep Offshore Technology Conference, New Orleans,
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• Structural weight efficiency of the concept is high for SE
Asia. The ETLP can carry 1.44 Mt of topsides payload

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