DOT: Costs still dominate deepwater screening process

Reservoir uncertainty is one of the main issues for Statoil in deepwater production system selection, said Trond Stokka Melling today at DOT.

Offshore Staff

AMSTERDAM, the Netherlands -- Reservoir uncertainty is one of the main issues for Statoil in deepwater production system selection, said Trond Stokka Melling today at DOT.

Meling, one of the speakers in a panel discussion, said this uncertainty applied particularly to more complex, high-volume reservoirs in the Gulf of Mexico, where the recovery factor is lower and well costs increase. In these cases, he said, all production concepts can be equal in value, because the projects are all marginal.

Standardization is not necessarily the answer, he suggested, and instances are relatively few, aside from ExxonMobil's use of lookalike FPSOs and TLPs at the Kizomba project off Angola. "Standardization could work with spars, but that would need to fit with the project you're developing.

"I think we could save money if we didn't always optimize the production concept to fit the individual field."

Where possible, Statoil is also looking to cut costs by avoid manned platforms, but the decision is not always straightforward. "When is it cost-effective? It depends on the maintenance needs."

Load and metocean conditions also affect the decision process, Meling pointed out. ""After Hurricane Katrina, the need for hurricane loading has had a big impact on costs. For instance, the air gap and the height of the hull has increased significantly compared with the situation pre-Katrina."

As for Arctic developments, numerous unknowns affect concept choice, he pointed out, including the combination of ice, wave and wind, and whether to design the structure to withstand a 10,000-year ice load. And do you design the platform to be standalone or to disconnect - and how do you evacuate the crew from thick ice?

"There may be a need to have another drilling rig standing by to kill a well if you have another Macondo incident," he added, ""and we have to work on preventing large oil spill escapes...But there is a long way to go still."

Roger Smith of Anadarko Petroleum said: "We tend not to do a lot of new scenario projects...we try to choose facilities that are flexible, and start our selection process earlier than many, allowing us to scale up or down as new appraisal well information comes in, and develop our facility accordingly. We try to steer clear of having too many eggs in one basket.”

Generally, Anadarko sets throughput limits for a single production system, he said. At around 100,000 b/d, the company may look to bring in another host facility.

12/02/2010

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