NPD Commissions Study on Unmanned Wellhead Platforms

A new study will look into the benefits and disadvantages of unmanned wellhead platforms (UWP) after the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate called for UWPs to be considered more often as an alternative to subsea tie-backs.

Commissioned by the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, the study will be carried out by Rambøll Oil & Gas and aims to gain further knowledge about different types of unmanned wellhead platforms. The study will be submitted to the authorities towards the end of December of this year.

Niels Erik Hald, principal engineer at the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, commented in an NPD statement:

"The main argument in favour of unmanned wellhead platforms as a concept, is that this could be an efficient development solution in terms of both cost and production. In fact, it is just as functional and robust as a subsea development, and it is also more accessible for inspection and maintenance."

An unmanned wellhead platform is a facility with a fixed substructure installed on the seabed, with dry wellheads located on the platform deck. The concept is an alternative to subsea wells where the wellheads are placed on the seabed. There are various types of unmanned wellhead platforms, from simple facilities to more advanced solutions, and some can be entered from vessels while others have bridges or helicopter decks.

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