Feb. 1, 2006
Total has increased its contract with FMC Technologies, Inc. for the Rosa project, offshore Angola.

Total amends FMC Technologies contract

Total has increased its contract with FMC Technologies, Inc. for the Rosa project, offshore Angola. The amended contract will include an additional five subsea trees including well jumpers. This amendment has an approximate value of $27 million in revenue to FMC Technologies.

The original contract called for FMC Technologies to supply 18 subsea trees, manifolds, production controls, and associated systems. The additional equipment is scheduled for delivery in 1Q 2007.

The Rosa field is located in block 17, offshore Angola. While Angola’s state oil company Sonangol is the block 17 concessionaire, Total E&P Angola is the operator. Other participants are Esso Exploration Angola (block 17) Ltd., BP Exploration (Angola) Ltd., Statoil Angola block 17 AS, and Norsk Hydro Dezassete AS.

The Rosa field is in 4,200 to 4,900 ft (1,300 to 1,500 m) of water about 9 mi (15 km) from theGirassolFPSO system to which the development will be tied back.

Rosa, scheduled to come on stream in the first half of 2007, will raise and prolong the peak production of the FPSO. Six new modules (5,300 tons) will be added to upgrade the existing FPSO installations. FMC Technologies also supplied the subsea production systems for Total’sGirassol FPSO project.

Peter D. Kinnear, executive VP for FMC Technologies, attributes his company’s increased capacity at their Angola facility with the ability to better serve their customers and meet Total’s timeline. He added, “Our initial contract with Total for the Rosa project and this amendment, increasing scope, reaffirms our commitment to offshore West Africa.”

Another North Sea contract for Subsea 7

Subsea 7 has received a contract award from BP Exploration Operating Co. Ltd. for subsea construction services in the North Sea. The $85-million contract adds to a growing list of subsea awards for the company in the North Sea.

The contract calls for Subsea 7 to provide a deepwater construction vessel with Subsea’s in-house designed and built Hercules deepwater work-class ROV systems. The primary scope of the contract will be for the vessel to be employed in development and maintenance work for BP’s deepwater Foinaven and Schiehallion oil and gas fields in the West of Shetland basin.

A number of construction tasks, as well as inspection, repair and maintenance (IRM) activities, will be undertaken in the work program. It will be supported by dedicated onshore project management and engineering teams with knowledge of remote intervention activities in harsh environments.

The Schiehallion and Foinaven developments are the deepest oil and gas production fields in the UK continental shelf to date, at water depths of 500 m. That depth, coupled with the harsh environmental conditions in the field, make for a very challenging arena in which to perform remote intervention construction activities.

Subsea 7 has performed construction and IRM activities for BP in the West of Shetland basin since initial developments of the Foinaven field commenced in the early 1990’s. The company will utilize over 100 Subsea 7 personnel both onshore and offshore in the provision of services to BP. In addition, BP may choose to deploy the vessel to other assets and fields should its services be required from time to time.

The two year contract is scheduled to begin on Jan. 1, 2007 and complete on Dec. 31, 2008.

JDR to provide intervention umbilicals

JDR Cable Systems has been awarded a contract by Expro International Group PLC for the design, manufacture and testing of three Electro-Hydraulic (EH) umbilicals with air powered reelers and sheaves. They will control Expro’s Electro-Hydraulic Landing String Control System for the deepwater GoM projects Tahiti and Blind Faith.

JDR�s EH umbilicals.
Click here to enlarge image

Each 8,000 ft long umbilical will be designed to work in 7,000 ft of water at temperatures of up to 210° F while exposed to completion fluids. The umbilicals will also have external pressure requirements of 6,000 psi and a maximum operating pressure of 15,000 psi. In order to adequately handle the high operating temperatures and pressures, each umbilical will be designed using HP/HT high collapse resistant hoses.

JDR will be expected to expose a sample length of umbilical to API 17E qualification tests including tensile, bend stiffness, crush and fatigue tests, with the last test to be performed on their fatigue cycle test rig. The rig simulates an umbilical’s path from the deployment reeler, over the sheave and into the landing string.

Patrick Phelan, managing director of JDRs oil and gas division said of the award, “We’re delighted to work with both the Expro Group and Chevron on umbilical systems that must be built to a very demanding specification.”

Deepwater drilling riser contract awarded

Maersk Contractors has awarded Aker Kvaerner Subsea a $32-million contract to deliver two deepwater drilling risers. Each riser will measure 2,250 m in length, and will be designed to operate in water depths to 3,000 m. The order includes options for a third 2,250-m riser and additional length for each riser of 750 m.

The risers will employ a connector technology known as the CLIP. Originally developed by IFP in the mid 1980s, the CLIP system has been manufactured and sold by Aker Kvaerner Subsea in an exclusive licensing agreement with IFP. Aker Kvaerner has delivered CLIP connectors previously to Pride and Global for deepwater operations.

The riser manufacturing project will be managed by Aker Kvaerner Subsea’s umbilical and riser group in Mobile, Alabama, with the first riser scheduled for a January 2008 delivery, followed by the second riser in January 2009.

Pioneer begins offshore South Africa gas development

Pioneer Natural Resources Co. has begun development activities on its South Coast Gas subsea project off the coast of South Africa. The project is a joint development between Pioneer and PetroSA, the South African national oil company, and will provide feedstock for PetroSA’s onshore gas-to-liquids (GTL) plant in Mossel Bay.

The South Coast Gas project will include a subsea tieback of gas from the nearby Sable field, where Pioneer and PetroSA have been producing oil and reinjecting associated gas since 2003. In addition to Sable, the South Coast project will include six additional gas accumulations to the existing production facilities on the F-A platform for transportation via existing pipelines to the GTL plant.

Engineering plans for subsea systems, pipelines, umbilicals and surface equipment modification are being finalized, and development drilling is expected to begin 1Q 2006. Production is planned to come onstream during the second half of 2007, and increase to an average of approximately 100 MMcf/d of gas and 3,000 b/d of condensate over the initial phase of the project through 2012.

Pioneer Chairman and CEO Scott Sheffield said that the project “will provide a growing production profile beginning in 2007 and is a good example of an important component of our strategy for adding value - seeking lower-risk opportunities to develop known oil and gas resources with strong economic returns.”

PetroSA will be the operator of the project with a 55% interest, and Pioneer will have the remaining 45%.

Rhum subsea tieback onstream

BP and partner Iranian Oil Co. UK Ltd. have begun gas production and export from the Rhum field in 350 ft of water.

This development has been a long time coming for the field, a subsea tieback to the BP-operated Bruce field. Drilled in 1973 and abandoned, discovered in 1977, the Rhum field in the North Sea was left undeveloped for over a quarter century before the field’s partners brought the field onstream using subsea technology.

The Rhum development is expected to access recoverable reserves of 800 bcf of gas. Gas will be exported onwards from Bruce via the Frigg pipeline system to St. Fergus, and associated condensate will be piped via Bruce into the Forties Pipeline System.

With the combination of a high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) gas reservoir developed using a 28-mi subsea tieback, Rhum is a world first, according to operator BP.

The field is tied back to the Bruce platform via a 28-mi export line which involves a 22-in. high integrity, pressure protection system (HIPPS) protected pipe-in-pipe main pipeline. The Rhum field is a high temperature, high pressure reservoir, experiencing down-hole temperatures of 150° C and pressures of 12,700 psi. For comparison purposes, the Bruce gas field records temperatures of 99° C and pressures of 6,000 psi. As part of the development, new gas processing facilities were installed on the existing Bruce Compression Reception Centre (CR) platform.

Production is through well 3/29a-5, which was drilled earlier this year, at an initial rate of 130 MMcf/d of gas. Production is planned to build up to a plateau of 300 MMcf/d when all three development wells are onstream. The project cost is about GBP 350 million to develop.

BP Director for North Sea Operations Dave Blackwood said Rhum represents a new type of development for BP in the North Sea:

“Rhum has presented a unique set of challenges for us in dealing with high reservoir pressures and temperatures, combined with the length of subsea tieback, and the modifications required on the Bruce platform. The project team has demonstrated how with dedication and innovation, these challenges can be overcome in order to increase recovery from the UKCS, maximize our investment in the existing infrastructure, and help secure future gas supply for the UK.”

Rhum was discovered in 1977 by well 3/29a-2. The 3/29-1 well, drilled in 1973, was abandoned due to the high-pressure gas. The field was long considered the largest remaining undeveloped gas reservoir in the UK continental shelf. Appraisal well 3/29-a4 was drilled in 2000. This well will be completed as part of a planned development drilling program.

BP and IOC are equal partners in the Rhum field.

Shell extends subsea technology agreement

Shell UK Limited has extended its frame agreement with Aker Kvaerner Subsea by two years and expanded the scope to include Shell Norway. The new contract has an estimated value of NOK 230 million.

Under the frame agreement, A-K Subsea will supply steel tube umbilicals and associated engineering personnel. The umbilicals will be manufactured at Aker Kvaener Subsea’s facility in Moss, Norway, and will be delivered to the Howe Phase 2 Project.

The original agreement was signed in 2001, and called for A-K Subsea to deliver umbilicals to six Shell projects in the British and Dutch sectors of the North Sea: Scoter, Pelican, Howe, Merganser, K15/K7 and K8.

“Frame agreements help promote an optimal way of working: alignment in the pursuit of HSE excellence; incorporation of lessons learned for efficient execution, resulting in shorter delivery times; and close dialogue on future needs, so we can allocate capacity for Shell,” according to Aker Kvaerner Subsea Executive VP Raymond Carlsen.

UK is the front runner in subsea industry

“The UK leads the world in subsea.” That is the consensus drawn from a recent study of the UK’s oil and gas subsea sector carried out by Arthur D. Little on behalf of representative body Subsea UK.

In a news release highlighting the study, Subsea UK’s Chief Executive David Pridden stated that the UK’s oil and gas subsea sector is the largest in the world, employing 27,000 people directly and generating $4.5 billion of sales in 2004, well over half of the global market.

Global management consultants Arthur D Little contacted the nearly 800 UK companies who are involved in the subsea oil and gas industry for information. The data collected for the survey was based on the most up-to-date information available, typically the previous year’s financial results.

Pridden added that the study demonstrated that “with limited global oil and gas supply, renewables being much further away than many want to admit and the likely issues over security of supply, it is vital that we recover the remaining reserves from the North Sea as well as tap deepwater reserves from around the world.”

“This will be increasingly achieved through subsea systems - almost 40% of UKCS oil production now comes from subsea wells. Global production from subsea wells is also set to grow rapidly and the requirement for subsea technology and services in the marine renewable sector will dramatically increase over the next 10 years as well.

Pridden says, “Bearing in mind we are experiencing one of the most buoyant periods in the North Sea and the subsea industry in general, it is vital we recognize this industry and make sure that we continue our global dominance in a sector that is predicted to quadruple in size from $5 billion to $18 billion per annum in the next four years.”

While the respondents represent the full subsea value chain, covering manufacture and supply of equipment from remotely operated vehicles to manifolds and wellheads and services for repair and maintenance to construction, design and project management, the figures do not include vessel charter information.

The turnover of the companies surveyed ranged from £100,000 to in excess of £200 million. The average turnover among respondents was £21.1 million.

The study also looked at capital and operating expenditure in the sector. The upstream operating companies spent around £1.25 billion on subsea related activities in the UKCS in 2004.

However, overseas business is critical for this sector. Of the $4.5 billion generated in 2004, approximately 50% was exported.

Pridden believes that although there is the potential for the UK to continue to lead the way in subsea technology and services around the world, there is a real vulnerability in terms of international competition, research and development capability and the fact that too few UK companies attain global scale.

“The risk is that the UK may fail to exploit the next wave of emerging technologies and services,” says Pridden. “The hope is that this study, highlighting the importance, contribution and potential of the sector will help us lobby those stakeholders so that we can work together to capitalize on our current, but little publicized, advantageous position.”

Arthur D Little is confident that the survey is very robust. Ben Thuriaux-Aleman ADL project manager says: “We adopted a rigorous, methodological approach and worked hard to remove any double counting and avoid overstating the importance of the sector. Despite this, the findings are very impressive. We obtained a high participation rate and had a built-in mechanism which allowed us to check that we had input from all the major players.”