ABERDEEN, UK – The Oil & Gas Technology Centre is supporting an industry-backed ‘Facility of the Future’ initiative designed to halve the cost of developing and operating an oil and gas facility of marginal discoveries in UK waters.
There are more than 360 marginal discoveries on theUK continental shelf, the Centre said, each containing 3-50 MMboe.
Development is not presently commercial via a fixed platform or floating vessel, and many of the fields are outside economic tieback distance of existing infrastructure.
The new initiative will help develop lower-cost, re-usable, smart facilities that are operated remotely from onshore control centers.
They will incorporate latest advances in automation technology with minimal manning, reducing the requirement for people to work in the hazardous offshore environment, while at the same time creating new land-based jobs.
Crondall Energy subsidiary Buoyant Production Technologies is leading the initial study, co-funded by the Technology Centre and collaborating partners, to develop a floating facility concept that expands the capabilities of fixed normally unattended installations (NUIs) used typically at shallow-water gas fields.
Operators and the supply chain firms will work on:
- Remote control and automation technologies
- Expanding the processing facilities for oil and gas
- Removing water depth limitations
- Exploring minimal manning approaches for produced oil storage and offloading.
Chris Pearson, Marginal Discoveries Solution Centre Manager, said: “The Facility of the Future initiative will help to significantly reduce life-cycle costs and strengthen the investment case for both marginal discoveries and more traditional reservoirs.
“Oil and gas is playing catch-up with many industries when it comes to automation and remote operations. We’re exploring how the combination of existing and new technology can be best used in the offshore environment to improve safety, reduce life cycle cost, and increase efficiency.”
The Centre is also co-funding a project whereby Ocean Power Technologies will supply Premier Oil with a PowerBuoy, a wave power device, for a first deployment in the Huntington field in the UK central North Sea, probably in October.
This is a nine-month lease contract, including an initial three-month trial, followed by a six-month extension if the trial is successful (with an option to extend the lease).
TheOPT PowerBuoy will be a self-sustaining, intelligent platform providing communications and remote monitoring services. During the deployment, Premier will investigate its capabilities and its ability to monitor the local environment and alert shipping of its position.