ABERDEEN, UK – The future of subsea separation and processing was examined by FMC Technologies today at Offshore Europe. The future focus of the technology will be directed toward field development, seabed processing, and well intervention, said Tore Halvorsen, SVP of FMC Technologies in introducing the subject.
Halvorsen said the key priorities defined by operators for future work were the opening of new acreages, development of difficult reserves, improved oil recovery, reduced development and operations expenses, and enhanced environmental/safety considerations.
In looking at these priorities, Halvorsen said subsea separation and processing technology was making progress in meeting these needs. Currently, he said, tieback distances were being stretched to as much as 600 km (373 mi) for gas, 200 km (124 mi) for oil, and 100 km (62 mi) for heavy oil (14° API and more). Going forward, he said that heavy oil, deepwater, compact separation, subsea compression, and the ability to omit surface facilities are likely to mark the technology.
FMC’s recent receipt of a $90-million contract for Petrobras’ Marlim field offshore Brazil marked a breakthrough for handling of heavy oil subsea in a brownfield development. The project will require gas/oil/water/sand separation some 110 km (68 mi) offshore in 900 m (2,953 ft) of water handling 21° API oil at rates of 22,000 b/d. Among the firsts to come from this project will be subsea separation in deepwater for a mature field, reinjection of water into a producing reservoir, and subsea separation of heavy oil.
In taking a broad view of subsea separation and processing, John Gremp, EVP, FMC Technologies, said it is unusual for one new approach to solve so many problems. He said the technology is cost effective while increasing production and recovery rates, and also is an enabler to such developments as BC-10 and Perdido. Because of these facts, he said, subsea separation and processing will be more important in the future and will grow in acceptance and application.