Shell looks at pushing technical boundaries

Shell Exploration & Production brought up to date the status of its Perdido, BC-10, and Ursa Princess developments at a panel presentation today at the Offshore Technology Conference.

HOUSTON --Shell Exploration & Production brought up to date the status of its Perdido, BC-10, and Ursa Princess developments at a panel presentation today at the Offshore Technology Conference.

In setting the stage, Charlie Williams, chief scientist, well engineering & production for Shell, pointed out that even though the water depths are increasing, the cost index for TLPs has been driven down over time. He attributed Shell's cost reductions to, among other things, the fact that Shell manages all its own projects and that it has a long-term commitment to technological development.

Dale Snyder, project manager, Perdido, noted that the Tobago portion of the development holds the current record for producing well water depth at 9,627 ft (2,934 m). The drive at Perdido was to reduce weight, Snyder said. The payloads get bigger as you go deeper, and because Perdido was going to require a relatively high number of development wells in ultra deepwater, weight would be an issue. As a reference, he mentioned that risers in those depths each would weigh 1 million pounds (453,592 kg). With start-up scheduled in 2010, remaining work at Perdido consists of installing the drilling rig, risers, umbilicals, commissioning, and start-up.

BC-10 requires similar boosting technology as that employed at Perdido, said Ken Stingl, project manager. The project offshore Brazil is in deepwater and produces mostly heavy oil with low reservoir pressures. Among the technologies that enable BC-10 is the use of a surface BOP system, artificial lift of produced liquids using ESPs, and ultra deepwater high voltage umbilicals necessary to run the pumps. Current work at BC-10 is installation of the pipeline, flowline, and risers. Start-up is scheduled late this year.

At Ursa Princess, Shell is undertaking a major expansion in an existing field. The TLP in use at the development is slot-constrained, said Mike Loveland, venture leader, so the choice was made to employ subsea water injection for EOR. Some 165 MMbbl/d of treated seawater is being injected to drive enhanced recovery. The third water injection well is scheduled to come online this month.

05/05/2009

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