Shell fastrack subsea development

July 1, 2001
Shell Exploration & Production Co. (SEPCo) recently announced its latest subsea development in the US Gulf of Mexico.

Shell fastrack subsea development

Shell Exploration & Production Co. (SEPCo) recently announced its latest subsea development in the US Gulf of Mexico. The development, named Einset, is a subsea production system located in 3,500 ft water depth approximately 170 miles southeast of New Orleans in Viosca Knoll Block 872. This single well project is tied back to the subsea manifold of Shell's SE Tahoe project located five miles away in Viosca Knoll 784. The Tahoe system then carries production 12 miles to Shell's Bud Lite platform. Bud Light is located in Main Pass Block 252. At Bud Light production is processed and exported to shore.

Shell points out that the Einset project was brought on production within 9 months of project approval. Steve Sears, SEPCo's Manager of Subsea Development said the company is planning a similar accelerated development schedule for Einset. He predicts first production will come on line by February 2002. "Successfully fast-tracking such projects has become a part of our strategic cost leadership strategy," he said.

The Einset subsea project will develop resources from Viosca Knoll Blocks 872 and 873, which were acquired by Shell, for approximately $430,000, in OCS Lease Sale 169 in March of 1998. Shell is the operator of Einset. Dominion Exploration & Production, Inc. has a 50% interest. The discovery well was drilled in December 1998 on Viosca Knoll Block 872 by Shell using Diamond's Ocean Worker semi-submersible rig. The original well was sidetracked in January 1999. The target reserves are in turbidite sands at depths ranging from approximately 9,626 ft to 9,621 ft below the mudline. The average net thickness is approximately 25 ft. Shell said the project is expected to recover in excess of 30 billion cubic ft of gas with peak production rates as high as 60 MMcfg/d. The reserves are primarily dry gas. API gravity is about 40 degrees with no sulfur content.

When it is brought on line, Einset will be the 27th Gulf of Mexico deepwater field in which SEPCo has an interest. This is the largest number of any company.

Sensa buys WellTech

Sensa reached an agreement last month to acquire Well Technology International Pty Ltd. (WellTech). WellTech provides consultant engineering and business development services to operating and service companies in the upstream international oil and gas industry and is based in Perth, Western Australia.

Sensa said increasing demand for fiber optic based production enhancing services influenced Sensa's decision to acquire and integrate WellTech into the Sensa organization. Ken Andrus, founder and Managing Director of WellTech, will join Sensa to become regional manager for the Asia Pacific region. The combined organization will operate under the Sensa name and be based in Perth, Australia. The new organization will focus on supporting the upstream oil and gas sectors while providing specialist support on process and power applications.

Success for remote subsea pigging unit

This subsea pigging unit, designed by Aberdeen-based Copipe Sys-tems, is a remote self-contained device that can flood and pig subsea pipelines without the need for an attendant, surface vessel.
Click here to enlarge image

A new subsea pigging unit designed by Aberdeen-based Copipe Systems has successfully completed two projects. The subsea pigging unit (SPU) is a remote, self-contained device. The unit floods and pigs subsea pipelines without the need for an attendant surface vessel.

The SPU is positioned and initiated by a remote operating vehicle (ROV). Once in place, the unit provides filtration, chemical injection, and controlled flow-rate flooding independent of support. This independence allows for greater flexibility as well as cost-savings by eliminating the need for a surface support vessel. The two projects recently completed represent extreme applications of the unit's capabilities in shallow and deepwater.

  • The first project was performed on a 36.6-mile, 16-in. pipeline, located in 52.5-ft water depth offshore the UK. This job represents the shallowest water depth the pigging unit has operated in to date. Once in position, the subsea pigging unit flooded the pipeline. This operation was performed during installation of the pipeline, which allowed the client to significantly reduce wall thickness, according to Copipe.
  • The second project was performed in 4,482-ft water depth offshore West Africa. In this case, a 1.25-mile, 8-in. pipeline was successfully flooded using the subsea pigging unit. Copipe Systems said this is the deepest project completed to date. The unit has won several awards. The two projects "show how flexible the SPU is in regard to application and water depth," stated Les Graves, Copipe Systems (PAL Group) commercial director. "Our success in West Africa does demonstrate the potential for us in what is seen as the future growth area of the pipeline industry."

'Activity center' rig additions expanding

Hydralift received a letter of award from Santa Fe International Corp. for the supply of two well activity centers (drilling equipment), with options for two additional units. These centers will be produced for Santa Fe's newbuild deepwater semisubmersible units. The letter of award is subject to agreement on some issues, yet to be resolved between the two companies.

The semisubmersible hulls being outfitted with the centers are Friede & Goldman ExD-class units. The hulls will be built by PPL Shipyard Pte, Ltd. in Singapore. The well activity centers will consist of dual well centers and a derrick that is capable of accommodating all drilling tubulars for drilling to a total depth of 37,000 ft. The Hydralift well activity center is designed to optimize drilling activities and maximize efficiencies in performing various concurrent operations. In addition to the equipment package for the derrick, Hydralift will also supply the blowout preventers handling system and riser tensioner systems.

The installation will likely be conducted in Northern Europe and Singapore. This package, in excess of $80 million, represents the largest project award to date for Hydralift. Other deliveries are scheduled for late 2002 and 2003. The company suggested that other equipment could be added to the order.