World's First Subsea Gas Compression Plant Now Online

World's First Subsea Gas Compression Plant Now Online
Statoil reports that the world's first subsea gas compression plant is now online at the Asgard field in the Norwegian Sea, meaning the firm is a step closer to achieving its "subsea factory" goal.

Statoil ASA announced Thursday that the world's first subsea gas compression plant is now online at the Åsgard field in the Norwegian Sea. The move is a step closer to Statoil's goal of achieving a complete subsea processing plant (or "subsea factory").

Statoil said that the recovery from the Midgard reservoir on Åsgard will increase from 67 percent to 87 percent, while recovery from the Mikkel reservoir will improve from 59 percent to 84 percent, as a result of the new facility. The overall effect will be to add some 306 million barrels of oil equivalent to the total output of Åsgard during the field's life.

Statoil began the $2.3-billion project in 2005 and an estimated 11 million man-hours have been spent on it from start to completion. The firm said that more than 40 new technologies have been developed and employed as part of the installation.

Compression is a way to get fields to produce more oil or gas for longer as the natural pressure in a reservoir drops. Until now compression plants have been installed on platforms or onshore, but this new facility is under almost 1,000 feet of water.

In addition to improving recovery Statoil's models show that subsea gas compression will be more energy efficient than traditional topside solutions. The firm said that the technology significantly reduces energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions over a field's life.

With nearly 50 percent of Statoil's current production recovered through around 500 subsea wells, the firm plans to expand its use subsea gas compression and other subsea processing systems.

"Subsea gas compression is the technology for the future, taking us a big step closer to our ambition of realizing a subsea processing plant – referred to as the 'subsea factory'," Margareth Øvrum, Statoil's executive vice president for technology, drilling and projects, said in a company statement.

A former engineer, Jon is an award-winning editor who has covered the technology, engineering and energy sectors since the mid-1990s. Email Jon at


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