2018 Offshore Technology Yearbook

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48 | December 2017 | 2018 OFFSHORE TECHNOLOGY YEARBOOK | SUBSEA can a number of operators with smallish discoveries be brought together to create an economically via- ble development–the key project is the one dubbed "small pools." The U.K. has more than 3 Bboe in reserves left on its shelf, but most are relatively small, and this initiative aims to fi nd ways to bring those barrels into production. "Technology has a role to play" in bringing these reserves to shore, said Chris Pearson, who is head- ing up this initiative for OGTC, but, he added, "No one gets the impact of the life cycle" of fi elds when they begin a project. He said that he had recently spoken to an engineer from one of the supermajors who said decommissioning is never part of his com- pany's thinking when they begin a project. This has to change, Pearson said, although he admitted that with no legislation in place from the early days of the sector it would be hard to blame companies for not focusing on the aban- donment issue. Pearson also said that there are no "silver bul- lets" that will solve the small fi eld issue, but there are some technologies being suggested that would assist the rapid and low-cost development of these fi nds, many of which are remote from existing infrastructure. Solutions could be production buoys–manned or unmanned–that might be linked to subsea or fl oating storage units, eliminating the need for fl owlines, a major capex item for a long-distance tieback (LDT) and an area of focus in cost reduction. Another is an adjunct to decommissioning–the recycling of equipment. Recovering and redeploy- ing fl owlines, resurfacing production hardware and the general reuse of various types of equipment are all seen as possible ways to reduce project capex. A new breed One issue that is tangential to technology is the new, different set of operators, Pearson said, and their approach to trying something new. Pearson pointed out the North Sea has had three phases: the fi rst in which most of the developments were undertaken by the big operators such as BP, Shell/ Esso, Chevron, Texaco, etc.; Phase 2, in which the middle-sized companies like Talisman and Apache OGTC program could reduce subsea facilities and abandonment costs by 50% and cut lead times by 1 year with the potential to add US$4 billion of value. (Source: WoodMac, Oil and Gas Technology Centre)

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