Technology Focus: Offshore Facilities (February 2013)
- Ian G. Ball (Intecsea (UK) Ltd.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- February 2013
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 108 - 108
- 2013. Copyright is retained by the author. This document is distributed by SPE with the permission of the author. Contact the author for permission to use material from this document.
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In last year’s Offshore Facilities Technology Focus (February 2012), we highlighted the increasingly important role that constructive collaboration plays in facilitating delivery of successful field-development outcomes in increasingly challenging environments.
In this edition, we illustrate the vital importance of innovative technological advances in enabling some of these challenging field developments that would otherwise not be technically feasible.
Operators have generally tended to shy away from the upsides available by embracing new technology for fear of incurring downsides from suboptimal performance of the technology. This has inevitably slowed down the whole cycle of investment in, and adoption of, commercially advantageous technology to the ultimate detriment of the industry as a whole. It also certainly has tarnished our industry’s attractiveness to bright young engineers of the future.
An interesting shift, however, has been evident in recent years. There have been a growing number of instances whereby operators have been unable to implement potentially lucrative field developments without adopting technology that they would hitherto have deemed to be inadequately proven by others. In the overwhelming majority of such cases, where the desire to implement the field development has overridden the reluctance to adopt the necessary new technology, the outcomes have been successful.
A couple of key characteristics underpin these successes. One of those is constructive collaboration, which we have already touched on. The other is ensuring that both the nature and the dimensions of the associated technology-implementation challenges are properly understood and that the efforts established to overcome the challenges are realistically resourced to achieve success.
Very few operators are large enough to have the necessary specialist resources available in house for planning and executing such projects with demonstrable confidence that success will be delivered. However, those resources are still readily available to any operator for any desired duration if the appetite is there to enter into a collaborative venture for achieving the available upsides.
I hope you enjoy the opportunity to read how one operator is taking advantage of multiple recent technological advancements to complement an innovative commercial approach in transforming a hitherto unviable discovery into a fully viable field development. We also take a look at some other ongoing technological advances that have the potential to change the way we will do business in years ahead.
Please let me also take this opportunity to remind interested readers of the new sister SPE publication Oil and Gas Facilities, in which many more aspects of offshore facilities are explained and discussed. Your feedback on how you would like to see that publication evolve would be very much welcomed.
Recommended additional reading at OnePetro: www.onepetro.org.
OTC 23365 Autonomous Inspection Vehicle, A New Dimension in Life of Field Operations by James Jamieson, Subsea 7, et al.
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