515 field development projects underway worldwide

Nov. 1, 1999
Low oil prices, budget cuts constrain numbers

Low oil prices and cut budgets over the past year have resulted in a slight decrease in worldwide field development. Each year, Offshore publishes the Global Field Development Survey, which tracks field development projects in the planning, design, bidding, or construction phases. Last year, the survey recorded a total of 657 projects in some stage of development. This year, the number fell to 515. These figures are based on the total number of fixed platforms, floating production systems, and subsea projects reported in Offshore Data Services (Houston) bi monthly publication - Offshore Field Development International.

According to the report, 352 platforms, 53 floating production systems, and 110 subsea projects are in some stage of development. This compares to 405 platforms, 72 floating pro duction systems, and 180 subsea production systems from last year's report.

Driving forces

The drop in field development can mainly be attributed to the lasting effects of the past year's low oil prices, which negative impacted development budget appropriations. A number of developments entered production during the past year, however, it is doubtful that there were 142 projects brought onstream. The most likely scenario for the decrease is due to the low oil price environment elapsed over the last year.

When oil prices dropped and the industry went from boomlet to bust, operators cut their budgets and began re-prioritizing development programs. Smaller projects that were feasible at higher oil prices were cancelled. Large projects were suspended or pushed back to a later date. The majority of the deepwater and some of the larger finds remained relatively unchanged.

Some notable developments are coming in the future. For this year, the most notable will be Chevron's Kuito Field offshore Angola, slated for year-end. This will be the country's first deepwater field in production. In 2000, Exxon plans to bring the Diana/Hoover complex onstream in the Gulf of Mexico, and in 2001 Elf plans to bring the much-anticipated Girassol Field off Angola into production.

With these developments going onstream and oper ators slowly regaining their confidence in the higher oil prices, more and more developments are likely to be put back in the plans and the global field development numbers will again begin to rise.

Survey data

According to the survey data, the coming year will be the busiest in terms of installation. Almost 200 projects will be installed in 2000 (146 platforms, 18 floaters, and 32 subsea), in 2001 the number drops to 80 (50 platforms, 14 floaters, and 19 subsea), and continues to decline through the coming years. This year, however, still has a lot of activity planned. More than 180 projects are slated for installation (120 platforms, 14 floaters, and 47 subsea).

The most active area will be the Asia/Pacific region, with 150 projects planned. This is followed by North America (125), Europe (93), the Middle East and Former Soviet Union (57), Africa (49), and South America (41). As far as systems are concerned, Asia/Pacific has the most platforms scheduled with 90, while South America leads in the floaters (19, all off Brazil), and Europe leads in subsea with 52.

This year's Global Field Development Survey is broken into three separate tables based on the type of production system used: fixed platforms, floating production systems, and subsea production systems.

The survey includes 352 fixed platforms, 53 floating production systems, and 110 subsea production systems in some stage of development. A majority of these development projects are in the construction stage (200), followed by under design (135), planned (132), and bidding (47).

The information contained in this survey is compiled in Offshore Data Services' bimonthly publication Offshore Field Develop ment International, which regularly tracks offshore construction projects from design through installation phases. The data was collected under specific criteria and reflects information available at the time. Recent changes may not have been included.;

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