The Standard for Deepwater Solutions aims to improve the quality of drilling operations and ensure that future drilling projects can be carried out with the same level of performance and reliability. The Standard is an independent assessment of a deepwater drilling company’s capabilities and is developed by a committee of the Oil and Gas Conservation Association. It is based on the lessons learned from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. It includes several areas: concept selection, first production, exploration, flow assurance, and studies from the horizon.
Flow assurance is one of the biggest challenges facing oil and gas producers. The subsea test tree can maintain the continuous flow of hydrocarbon fluids from the wellbore to the processing facility. As a result, effective flow assurance practices aim to improve productivity and reduce costs.
Optimal deepwater flow assurance involves the accurate analysis of fluid interaction and reservoir characteristics. It also requires that operators develop a holistic approach to flow assurance. This consists in understanding the reservoir, the well, and the pipeline to optimize performance.
A recent SPE training course webinar on flow assurance discussed the importance of a holistic approach to the process. This is especially important in offshore environments.
Flow assurance also requires operators to understand the production chemistry and the process of production surveillance. It is only when operations generate a reliable and profitable flow that flow assurance is considered successful.
Deepwater oil and gas exploration projects are characterized by higher engineering and geology risks and the need for more extended operations. As a result, these projects also require more investment. But they also offer great flexibility in project management. In addition, these projects can adapt production to market dynamics.
However, they are subject to several uncertainties, and the overall economic value of the project depends on several factors. In addition, the overall success rate of the exploration campaign is also challenging to gauge.
The economic value of a deepwater oil and gas exploration project can be calculated from the oil price at a specific time and the rate of decline of the produced reservoir volumes. Therefore, the return on investment (ROI) of a deepwater exploration campaign depends on identifying the right plays.
One of the critical drivers of many development decisions is cost. But, unfortunately, it’s also one of the hardest to measure.
Concept selection to achieve a standard for deepwater solutions is a complex process. It requires decision-making, problem-solving, and supportive engineering. Ultimately, success is not guaranteed. The challenge is to reduce the time from the concept to the first production.
The most successful companies can overcome this challenge. For example, Shell Global Solutions commissioned an enhancement to the traditional selection procedure to identify the most relevant concepts for the job. It included a questionnaire system, a simulation tool, and large-scale groupware.
The most significant benefit of this reworked process is the speed with which customer feedback can be collected. It is also possible to run simulations of the intended product.
A flowhead is a significant undertaking that must be planned and managed for success. Its development may take years to reach the first production. To ensure success, operators seek solutions to improve cycle time to the first production and reduce capital expenditures.
A standardized deepwater system is emerging to address these challenges. It includes a standardized platform and a flexible host location for multiple field developments. It is also designed to capture dynamic reservoir data to answer critical questions regarding the deeper waters.
The new generation of deepwater production facilities will allow the industry to move deeper. However, the industry continues to face the challenge of producing oil at ultra-deep water depths. To meet the challenge, new geologic thinking is needed.
Lessons from Deepwater Horizon
During the spring of 2010, a British Petroleum (BP) oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico. The explosion spewed millions of gallons of crude oil into the sea. Unfortunately, it also caused an environmental disaster. It took 87 days for the oil to be dispersed, and the resulting slick covered more than 1,300 miles of shoreline from Texas to Florida. The spill impacted marine mammals, fish, and turtles.
The spill was also a learning opportunity for scientists. They collected much information about oil degradation’s environmental and chemical processes. They also tested more than 120,000 response technologies. As a result, the Deepwater Horizon spill has resulted in more stringent clean-up plans and environmental regulations. The Deepwater Horizon spill was the largest oil spill in US history. It affected native wildlife, seafood industries, and South Louisiana.