Operators seek alternative techniques to improve ‘stranded’ economics

Sept. 23, 2019

There are many concepts that aim to improve the economics of stranded resources, but one alternative for gas is reportedly gaining interest. It involves converting the resource to electric power and sending it through a subsea cable to shore, or to a local wind farm. It is called Gas-to-Wire. The concept involves adapting platforms serving declining reservoirs and converting the gas from the existing field and potentially nearby fields, developed or undeveloped, to electrical power. The technology developers are initially targeting marginal fields in the North Sea. Jeremy Beckman, Offshore Editor-Europe, provides a detailed review of the technology and potential applications, starting on page 44.

For stranded or marginal oil fields, subsea storage may provide a cost-effective field development option. Similar to Gas-to-Wire, this option is attractive in fields where discovered reserves do not justify the construction of new pipelines; and in areas where there is no existing pipeline infrastructure. Subsea storage has been deployed in the Solan oil field, in 135 m (443 ft) of water in the UK North Sea, where it has been operating successfully since the field was placed online in April 2016. The produced oil is stored in a specially designed steel subsea oil storage tank that is about 300 m (984 ft) from the platform. Oil is transferred from the tank to shuttle tankers, and then to market. Another innovative feature of the development is full automation, which enables remote control from an onshore control room in Aberdeen. Starting on page 42, Bruce Beaubouef, Offshore Managing Editor, discusses the design and operation of the subsea oil storage system, and other versions of the technology that are emerging.

Also, inside this issue, the Offshore editorial team reviews a selection of technologies for seismic data acquisition and drilling that are enabling E&P campaigns. This review starts on page 20.