January 24, 2011

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Top of Form Bottom of Form • • HOME EXPLORATION ○ ○ ○ Exclusives News Blog • DRILLING ○ ○ ○ Exclusives News Blog • PRODUCTION ○ ○ Exclusives News • OFFSHORE ○ ○ ○ Exclusives News Blog • • • UNCONVENTIONAL ACTIVITY HIGHLIGHTS EVENTS .

○ ○ Industry Events Webinars • • VIDEO MAGAZINE ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ ○ Advertise Subscribe Reports 2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 • STORE Tieback technology reaches new depths Article by John Bradbury April 1. Subsea tieback technology took big strides with Canyon Express. Statoil's Snøhvit (Snow White) project in the Barents Sea off northern Norway. Canyon Express is the deepest and one of the longest. the challenge for operators and contractors is to push the performance envelope. 2003 Email 1279271 0 Print After Canyon Express set the high water mark for the deepest subsea tieback in the US Gulf.2 km) from wellhead to host platform. future projects will take tieback technology even further. Shell's Mensa development. according to the US Minerals Management Service. is the longest subsea tieback in the world at 62 miles (99. due onstream . Now. but for how long? Although most subsea wells are within 10 miles (16 km) of a host platform. several international projects are lining up to stretch subsurface boundaries still further.

operated by TotalFinaElf. which provided front-end engineering and design and major engineering input for Canyon Express. Camden Hills. comprising the Scarab.700 m). Stuart Nelson. a dual pipeline has been used with multiphase metering for well output. Asia Pacific is a much smaller segment.3 billion. will be worth US $12. avoiding the cost of separate export pipelines for each field. multiphase pipeline to shore. "showcases the cooperative effort of several operators who recognize the value of working together to develop deepwater marginal fields." Canyon Express comprises development of Aconcagua.198 m). the North Sea and Brazil. it holds the world's water depth production record from 7. deep gas fields. "The next phase in development of deepwater production. operated by Marathon and King's Peak. described the project as. Split regionally. involves a tieback distance of 100 miles (160 km) from the field location via a single 27-in. Saffron. the subsea hardware market. including Christmas trees. Williams Field Services is the operator for Canyon Station. via a multiphase pipeline to a shallowwater platform. Canyon Express links three deepwater gas fields. due onstream in 2007. It cameonstream in September 2002 with the third longest gas-gathering system in the world at 57 miles (92 km). those figures work out at roughly $2.5 billion each for North America. responsible for flow assurance. project manager for Intec Engineering. said the project. Canyon Station.576 ft (1.210 ft (2. controls and umbilicals. owned by three different companies. operated by BP. located in Main Pass Block 261 in a water depth of 299 ft (91 m). Developing the necessary technology is expensive. system . Apart from the commercial arrangements that made Canyon Express possible. but the bulk of the tieback market will be made offshoreWest Africa. Norsk Hydro's Ormen Lange gas field. will again test offshore abilities with a step-out from the beach of around 125 miles (200 km) according to one Norwegian technology source. Cost is both a barrier and an incentive in this equation. but the market for it is huge. Operated by TotalFinaElf. It is the first time that production from multiple fields has been commingled in a single flow line." Most of the subsea issues were outsourced to Intec. are set to continue the emphasis on long tiebacks with a 56-mile (90-km) stretch from shore to subsea wells to exploit big. One estimate by Quest Offshore suggests between 2003 and 2008. This may involve artificial boosting in 10 years or more to ensure continued flow from the wells. the Simian and Sienna fields. Canyon Express sets the benchmark by which other projects will be judged in the US Gulf. John Stearns. engineering manager for TotalFinaElf on Canyon Express.late 2006. BG's West Delta Deep Marine concession developments in the Nile delta offshore Egypt. and later. and the first time subsea multiphase meters were used to determine production from individual wells. beating Brazil's Roncador at 5.

It is interesting to note the gradual extension of subsea tieback range. subsea equipment testing services. flow lines stretching 114 miles (182 km) to the Canyon Station host facility. Stearns suggested that in the future. while an intervention and workover system also had to be designed. There are 66 tiebacks less than 5 miles to a host. This features a "daisy-chain" design with two 12-in. Compliant towers and spars account for three developments each. Steel catenary risers were used to connect to the shallowwater host platform. four between 30 and 50 miles and two (Canyon Express and Mensa) beyond 50 miles. controls and umbilicals and multiphase flowmeters formed major elements of the spread. contractors and regulators. there were more than 10 tiebacks per year for oil and gas. subsea equipment specification and flow-line design and routing for the 32section Canyon Express pipeline. 28 in the 10. By 2001. setting a record for deepest installation of steel tube umbilicals in the process. Deep water is defined by the MMS as anything beyond 1.under a $30 million contract. of which. Kværner supplied 62 miles (100 km) of production control and steel-tube electro-hydraulic umbilicals under a $28 million deal.197 m) . mainly in deepwater. marginal gas fields in ultradeep water will require the same kind of cooperative thinking between field partners. Tieback growth Within the past decade. which contributed to project viability because it eliminated the need for three separate metering systems. After Canyon Express came onstream this past October.000 ft (305 m) water depth. just five between 20 and 30 miles. this number boomed. Intec provided technical support. Between 1955 and 1990.209 ft (2. However there is no recognition of any planned floating production systems as of yet. For the record.engineering. But the more interesting point is that there has been a steep upward trend in the use of subsea tiebacks. reflecting technological development. 11 are planned by 2004. well tie-in jumpers. he also said industry confidence had increased in the reliability and accuracy of gas measurement equipment. the numbers climbed to 14 deepwater subsea completions per year. MMS also put together data on the numbers of subsea tiebacks and water depth. and seven are due to be covered by fixed platforms. Far more are for gas developments rather than oil. the next biggest category is tension leg platform developments. there were less than four subsea completions per year in the US Gulf. Singling out the US Minerals Management Service (MMS) for its willingness to consider comingling fluids from several different fields. The vast majority (38) of these production facilities will be covered by subsea systems. plus contract bid preparation and review for TotalFinaElf. Saibos installed this pipeline . a total of 61 production facilities are due for installation in the deepwaterGulf of Mexico. By 1995. Within the subsea scope. But after the start of the 1990s. industry ability to push the step-out envelope has increased tremendously. By 2004.to 20-mile category.the deepest in the US Gulf at a record depth of 7. 35 between 5 and 10 miles. .

6 km) of gas lines. In 1990. Soelvik sees another barrier in the . Circulating "black oil." Soelvik said. in diameter. is one solution. a total of 593 miles (948 km). etc.43 ft (683 m) with a development in Green Canyon 75. The 2002 Deepwater Frontier report by the MMS notes the "significant growth" in implementation of subsea production systems. the story is of a similar significant rise over the decade. it is both costly and difficult to stay out of the hydrate formation region as the temperature sinks to ambient (often 4°C). while requirements for round-trip pigging." minus wax and water. subsea processing sales manager for ABB Houston. scaling and slugging.295 ft (1. "One of the main challenges has been communication to a remote location for control of the subsea equipment. Another is to provide insulation for pipeline and jumpers. more reserves are within reach of an export route. the total was 50 miles (80 km)." Soelvik said.000 ft (1. a total of 118 miles (189 km). the MMS notes an overall numerical growth. the deepest subsea completion was in 350 ft (106 m) of water. In 2001. such as Corrib and Snøhvit (both are being equipped by ABB).2. [Christmas trees] manifolds. Until 1988. Electrical technology has seen ABB provide megawatt subsea electrical power down to a depth of 6. In 1991. In 1990. "This will buy time. "The riser column creates high pressure at the seabed in a non-flowing situation and causes the wellstream to move into the hydrate region as the temperature drops in significantly less time. but does not solve the problem. the barriers to subsea tiebacks at greater water depths revolve around operation of the pipelines and the associated flow assurance issues raised by hydrates. numbers leapt to 42 miles (67. necessitating dual pipelines adds to cost.6 km) of pipeline up to 12 in. Some operators have opted for heated pipeline using hot water or electricity during production stops. Barriers For Nils Arne Soelvik.966 ft (904 m). in diameter. such as XTs.839 m). The year 1996 saw another record with Shell's Mars field subsea completion in a depth of 2. where flow assurance issues are significantly less compared with oil fields." Soelvik said. More economic building blocks are now available for handling long tiebacks. feeding electric heating to a conductive pipe to melt hydrate plugs. the figure leapt to 196 miles (313 km) of oil pipelines and 397 miles (635 km) of gas pipelines. there were no pipelines of this diameter approved in the US Gulf. Looking at the statistics for pipelines also shows the trend toward more subsea tiebacks in the Gulf at greater depths." Soelvik said some of the long tiebacks found today are gas fields. For approved pipelines more than 12 in. In 2001. but the number diminishes as the water depth increases. followed by Mensa in 1997 at depth of 5. He said it is not possible to relieve pipeline pressure at greater depth with the same ease and flexibility. there were 26 miles (41.Looking at the water depth of tiebacks.2 km) of oil and 76 miles (121. but then the record jumped to 2. "In the event of a planned or unplanned shutdown in production. Installing adequate pipeline insulation is not cost beneficial. With the growth of pipeline infrastructure.614 m).

flow assurance.658-m) water depths.to 3." In January of this year. Solutions Finding solutions to these barriers. riser technology.weight of systems and their installation since very few contractors can install 400." said FMC. risers and low reservoir pressure resulting in a lack of drive. manifolds. wellheads. "The maximum water depth for subsea well completions has doubled every 3 to 5 years over the past two decades. We have qualified most of our equipment for 6. plus higher installation costs in deepwater add to the equation. Peter Kinnear. said it formalized an existing deal with Woodside. But it also denotes a desire on the part of operators to have a permanent relationship with subsea suppliers. plus flow line tie-ins and intervention systems. Technology advances in materials. and the solution is in compact systems.000 m). and extending the water depth limit. but said loss of energy in pipelines.000 m to 3. said Jahnsen. vice president of FMC Energy Systems. "This can either be achieved with cyclones or by improving gravity separation performance. senior technical adviser at Kværner Oilfield Products." said an FMC spokesman. the deal is for all of Woodside's future subsea oil and gas projects. too. "Larger hydrostatic pressure is a design and qualification issue on pressure-containing components. the impact of deepwater currents. Large hydrostatic pressure. relies on the continual technical development. add to the burden.to 500-tonne equipment packages down to 6. like subsea boosting alone or in combination with subsea processing. such as dual gradient drilling.560 ft to 9. and greater loads associated with deepwater. qualification of new products for deepwater/ HPHT environments. Subsea processing can help solve step-out challenges. mooring technology. trees control. Initially.840 ft (2. can push out the tieback distance.000ft (2." Soelvik said. flow assurance and innovative installation and intervention methods have enabled further progress into deepwater. generated by depth. combined with traditional chemical injection systems." Jahnsen said. "Energy loss can be helped with artificial lift. "Installation of subsea equipment in larger water depths has to be done without guidewire and hence under less control. That deal covers subsea systems.to 12. "Technology developments are a combination of evolution and revolution. He also suggests heated flow lines and integrated production umbilicals. Evolutionary changes such as making equipment larger and stronger to withstand the higher pressures. domestically and possibly worldwide. Revolutionary changes. Jahnsen suggests. carried the industry from shallow water into deeper water. agrees that flow assurance is among the technical barriers to greater step-outs. FMC Technologies sealed its success in the subsea field when it was selected by Australia's Woodside Energy as its preferred supplier of subsea production equipment. Particularly installation of flow lines and umbilicals at larger water depths are high risk . "The primary barriers to subsea tiebacks in ultradeep water are drilling technology. a first for that region of the world.440.560 ft (2.000.000 m). This has to be taken into consideration in the design phase [of a project]. OveJahnsen. composite materials and subsea processing will be required to continue expanding into the 8. product reliability and the high cost of new construction and intervention work. ABB is focusing on the latter.

with 2. requiring transformers and high voltage connectors. pressure. Feasibility work has been carried out with several operators for potential gas-boosting and re-injection duties in the North Sea.000 m)." Distance The maximum step-out distance is a function of reservoir temperature. and can handle gas pressure up to 130 bar. The same company also supplied subsea transformers used by ExxonMobil's Topacio project. water content in oil is cut from a typical 10% from a first stage separator to 0. After completing prototype testing. Italian-based GE Oil and Gas collaborated with Kværner Eureka on another subsea technology.5 MVA per consumer. The limiting factor is transfer of power to a multiphase booster pump or water-injection pump. Subsea separation and heating close to the wellhead mitigate hydrate formation. which can distribute subsea power through variable speed drives (frequency converters). These are tested and qualified to 6. was launched at the Offshore Northern Seas conference in 2002 and was backed by Norway's Demo 2000 technology development program.560 ft (2. Soelvik said.000 ft (300 m) on a gas field for further tests.5 miles (80 and 100 km) either to a host platform or onshore terminal. and another two are on the Amerada Hess-Ceiba project in Equatorial Guinea.due to the high weight.5 miles (140 km). Soelvik said. reducing the risk of hydrates dramatically. is to transfer power at higher currents. "The maximum limit for subsea separation is in the range of 87. Further research entails development of electrostatic coalescers within separators to improve gravity separation to reduce retention time and thereby the volume of liquid retained. • harmonic distortion." Soelvik said the barriers to transferring power over long distance are: • reactive loss/low impedance meaning you lose power on the way. Blue-C is intended to provide economically recoverable gas from deepwater fields. The solution. and • variable power loss. the Blue-C centrifugal compressor. The companies next intend to submerge it to 1.5% to 2%.5 MW of power. Using this technology. Proper design and procedure will have to be followed. Soelvik's company already has a frequency converter for up to 3. This design. which covers requirements for most multiphase booster and water injection pumps. Separately. GE is looking at a possible installation . This same project also uses a topsides version of ABB's electrostatic coalescer. which uses two units. water content and the type of oil in the reservoir when you are not doing hydrate mitigation. GE and Kværner Eureka have plans to install the unit on a platform for pre-qualification testing. • resonance/reflective wave. Also. it will be able to export gas between 50 and 62. ABB is developing wet-mateable connectors for high voltage transfers up to 36 kV. A field-proven version of a 12-kV system already is operating within a subsea separation system delivered to Norsk Hydro's Troll C development in the North Sea.

as well as service buoys to cut umbilical costs. could bring down the deep sea cost equation. FMC said part of the answer lies in using high-integrity pipeline protection systems to cut costs of long offset. heave-compensated lifting equipment for heavy payloads.Young Professionals: Mastering Your Career in the Energy Industry 11/17/10 .Tap the Creativity of the New-Breed Engineer 11/16/10 . Subsea pig launchers on pipelines could avoid round trip pigging and dual flow lines. There is consensus among contractors for the need to provide electrically heated flow lines to prevent hydrate formation. On the surface. one contractor said. Industry work is under way to extend the step-out envelope from 15 miles for oil wells and up to 60 miles for gas wells.Address Issues in Integrated Asset Management • • • • HOME EXPLORATION DRILLING PRODUCTION . too.of this unit on Norsk Hydro's Troll C platform in 2005.Great Minds: Significant Advances in Geophysics 12/09/10 . which can eliminate rigs or heavy lift vessels. "Longer tieback distances of up to 30 miles for oil wells and 120 miles for gas wells are being studied. cutting intervention expense. To provide longer step-outs. Subsea booster pumps and processing systems are also seen as part of the tool kit to reduce flow-assurance risk and to improve project economics. Deployment of fiber-optic control systems can improve the response time for data acquisition from long offset wells. Subsea chemical distribution for corrosion and hydrate-inhibiting fluids is part of the answer. • • • MOST POPULAR MOST EMAILED TOP SEARCH Great Minds: Significant Advances in Geophysics 9:00 a. high-pressure flow lines and risers. CST February 9. 2011 • • • • 02/09/11 .m. while there is also a need to further develop high power electrical distribution systems. while light well intervention capability for subsea wells could bring down the maintenance cost curve." FMC said.

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