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This paper summarizes enabling technologies that operators can utilize when planning their field lifecycles, from development and construction through to decommissioning. By approaching field development in a holistic manner, it is possible to minimize total expenditure (TOTEX; the sum of both capital and operational expenditures), whilst also maximizing return on investment and hydrocarbon recovery.
With long-term regulatory compliance and production enhancement in mind, early introduction of flexibility into a subsea field infrastructure can enable simplified well or equipment access for common life of field activities, such as erosion sensor replacement. The resulting systems also permit execution of appropriate interventions by utilizing modest and therefore lower cost multi-service vessels (MSV) in place of larger multi-functional rigs at a premium.
In the following sections, eight different examples of various subsea production problems are presented, with an overview of how they were successfully resolved. These examples serve to demonstrate that the technologies required to deliver advanced production enhancement solutions are sufficiently mature. The paper concludes by demonstrating how more robust planning and provision for flexibility within subsea production system (SPS) design can lead to more rapid resolution and improved financial returns. Supporting these examples, discussion is provided on how digital analysis and hydraulic treatments can be used to help provide early identification and resolution of issues, thereby themselves acting as means of ultimately achieving production enhancement.
By adopting the approaches outlined within this paper, a step-change in production performance is within reach. Subsea systems designed for life of field may include digital technologies to perform on-going advisory services, live fluid sampling capability to assess production performance, and flexible architectures with access points. The optimization of on-going production and necessary intervention can drive informed operational decisions and continual optimization of the field.
The results include a reduction in operational risk exposure, maximized ultimate oil recovery, and the ability to effectively manage unplanned changes in performance. This forward-looking approach to field development, combined with a high degree of flexibility, is crucial for supporting prudent investment within today's challenging environment.