Offshore Newfoundland and Labrador is one of the harshest drilling environments in the world. The very cold air and frigid water introduce serious flow assurance issues, according to Shawn Hurley of Petro-Canada's East Coast business unit. Hurley addressed this subject at the ISOPE meeting in Toulon, France.
Newfoundland's flow assurance concerns increase with water depth. As exploration moves into deeper water offshore the province, flow assurance will become increasingly more significant as a production concern. Deepwater development in the region is only a matter of time, Hurley said.
"Newfoundland will soon have deepwater challenges plus the challenges that come along with the harsh environment," he said.
Today, production facilities in the Grand Banks consist of a gravity based structure and an FPSO. Hurley suggested a specially designed disconnectable spar could perform harsh environment production in the deepwater regions off Newfoundland that will soon see exploration.
Steve Edison, also of Petro-Canada, discussed some of the most critical flow assurance concerns off the province. He identified high static head in the flowlines and riser-induced slugging as the greatest impediments to safe, reliable, and economic transportation of fluids.
Edison suggested riser-based gas lift could lower overall fluid density and reduce pressure head.