Today’s subsea production management is mainly passive. It generally relies on reservoir pressure to drive flow up to surface—a pressure that is decreasing, ultimately resulting in a significant amount of oil left in the ground. However, by adding energy, powered production systems help you achieve full reservoir potential, producing more for longer.
Let’s consider natural vs. powered production in a typical Gulf of Mexico field.
We cannot control initial reservoir pressure, but we can improve production by shifting focus to what we can control—the pressure drawdown. But what exactly is pressure drawdown? Drawdown is the difference between reservoir and wellbore pressure. This is what causes oil to flow into the well. But how can we increase it?
Simple. Add a boosting pump subsea where the wells comingle. With the pump you can increase drawdown by decreasing wellhead pressure. The result? Increased production. In effect, the pressure boost overcomes the tieback frictional pressure losses that limit your production—giving you the virtual effect of a dedicated FPSO sitting directly above the reservoir.
But powered production doesn’t just increase your production rates—it helps your field produce longer too. This graph shows the daily natural production from the four wells. In this case, adding a pump boosts your production rate by 15,000 bbl/d with 25 million barrels of oil production added over the now extended life of your field.
See? This is how much oil would have been left in the ground without powered production. This translates to 500 million dollars in cash flow. Why miss out? Powered production lets you produce more, faster, and longer, so you can maximize your returns.