Operators and service companies are becoming comfortable with working in increasing water depths, but Dennis Calkins, J.Ray McDermott division manager for marine projects, wonders whether the industry should feel so secure in these deeper waters.
While water depths up to 3,000 ft no longer seem to faze oil companies, the leapfrog into depths beyond 6,000 ft of water has been posing puzzles for installation companies, he told attendees at the International Mooring Seminar 2003 in Houston in February. As installations move into deeper water, Calkins said, companies need to upgrade equipment to make it incrementally better. Moving beyond 6,000 ft of water is reaching the company's capacity to upgrade equipment without major investments, he said during the event sponsored by BexcoRopes, Bridon International, Vicinay Cadenas, and Vryhof Anchors.
Spending money on new equipment can be "harder to justify," he said, adding current concerns about going deeper probably are not a problem. "The industry has a way of adapting," he said.
One of the sessions focused on mooring FPSOs in the Gulf of Mexico.
FMC Sofec's Arun S. Duggal, a senior research engineer, said he doesn't expect to see amidships-based turret mooring system used for GoM-bound FPSOs.
"I don't see us using this turret system for the Gulf of Mexico, but there are a number of things we learned from designing it that we can apply to a turret system for the Gulf of Mexico," he said.
Duggal told the conference attendees that one of the biggest problems facing FPSOs in the GoM is the gas penalty.
"We have to find a way to deal with the gas," he said.