The Beta Field Development Project
- Robert C. Visser (Shell Oil Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- November 1982
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 2,517 - 2,522
- 1982. Society of Petroleum Engineers
- 5.1.2 Faults and Fracture Characterisation, 4.2 Pipelines, Flowlines and Risers, 1.10 Drilling Equipment, 6.5.2 Water use, produced water discharge and disposal, 4.1.5 Processing Equipment, 4.5 Offshore Facilities and Subsea Systems, 4.5.2 Platform Design, 3.1 Artificial Lift Systems, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 7.3.3 Project Management, 5.1.1 Exploration, Development, Structural Geology
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This paper summarizes the design and the construction of platforms, facilities, and pipelines for the Beta field, offshore southern California. The field was discovered during the summer of 1976. The first phase of field development, consisting of bridge-connected drilling platform Ellen and production platform Elly in 265 ft (81 m) of water, has been platform Elly in 265 ft (81 m) of water, has been completed, and the field is on production. These are large platforms. The production platform includes a large platforms. The production platform includes a large power-generation plant to provide power for lifting power-generation plant to provide power for lifting low-gravity crude oil with submersible bottomhole pumps. Design and siting of the platforms provided unusual challenges because of the steeply sloping bottom and the earthquake environment. Major components of the platforms were fabricated in widely scattered locations. Both jackets were fabricated in Malaysia and the drilling and production deck modules were fabricated in Japan. Other major components were fabricated in Washington, California, Texas, and Louisiana. This paper describes the unique project control and management techniques employed to project control and management techniques employed to keep the project on schedule and within budget.
The Beta field is located offshore southern California in the Gulf of Santa Catalina (Fig. 1). Located about 9 miles (14 km) from shore, the field is about 5 miles (8 km) long and less than 1 mile (1.6 km) wide. Estimated recoverable reserves under the portion of the field we operate total about 150 million bbl (24 x 10(6) m3) oil. The oil accumulation is shallow, ranging from 2,700 to 5,000 ft (800 to 1500 m). The oil is heavy, with crude gravities ranging from 11 to 22API (0.99 to 0.98 g/cm3). There is little or no experience producing this type of heavy oil offshore. Water depth over our portion of the field ranges from 200 to 1,000 ft (60 to 300 m). This steeply sloping bottom necessitated a complex platform siting study to optimize reservoir recovery as a function of number and location of platforms and attendant reach and cost of development wells. Optimal development will be accomplished with an 80-well capacity drilling platform, Ellen, in 265 ft (81 m) of water and a future 60-well capacity drilling platform, Eureka, in 700 ft (215 m) of water. The platform, Eureka, in 700 ft (215 m) of water. The shallow-water platform has 30 curved conductors, and the deepwater platform will have 35 curved conductors. Wells will be drilled at angles up to 80. A single production platform, Elly, installed along with the initial drilling platform, Elly, installed along with the initial drilling platform handles all the field's production. platform handles all the field's production. The first phase of development is now complete. Development drilling began in Aug. 1980 and production began in Jan. 1981. The short time needed to bring this field on production is a remarkable accomplishment, particularly in view of the many time-consuming permits particularly in view of the many time-consuming permits required for this offshore California location.
Project Description Project Description The initial development of the Beta field consisted of installing drilling platform Ellen and production platform Elly. The two platforms (Figs. 2 and 3) are connected by a bridge 200 ft (61 m) long. The eight-leg drilling platform has slots for 80 wells. The platform has two modified API drilling rigs capable of drilling to 25,000 ft (7600 m). Each rig is completely self-contained with its own power plant. Conductors for 60 wells were installed by driving before drilling started. Thirty of these are curved conductors with a built-in curvature of 6 per 100 ft (30 m). The large number of curved conductors is necessary to reach the edge of the field with the limitation of 80 hole angle and the shallow depth of the reservoir. Without the use of the curved conductors, at least one more drilling platform would have been needed to develop the field fully.
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