Developing new subsea technology and approaches to field developments could help unlock 400 million additional barrels of oil and gas and generate $4.17 billion (GBP 3 billion) of additional value from the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS).
That is the view of the Oil & Gas Technology Centre (OGTC), which is currently developing an initiative that aims to half the cost and time to develop small pools in the region.
The ‘Tie-back of the Future’ initiative is bringing together a total of 25 operators, supply chain firms and technology developers in an effort to transform the approach to developing marginal fields within the UKCS.
Standardization, and the creation of a circular economy, whereby subsea equipment is designed for recovery, refurbishment and reuse, are key themes of the initiative, an OGTC spokesperson confirmed.
To date, the OGTC has invested $348,000 (GBP 250,000) in engineering activity to develop the initiative and five technology projects are currently underway. Thirteen technology proposals are also in the pipeline and six integrated studies have been completed.
“Small pools represent a big prize for the UK economy but they each have their own challenges. The Tie-back of the Future concept is making significant strides to making more of these fields economically viable,” Chris Pearson, OGTC small pools solution centre manager, said in an organization statement.
“Some of the ideas and early-stage technologies out there are really interesting. We are seeing developments in mechanical hot taps, mechanically connected pipelines, multi-use pipelines, the integration of renewable energy systems and unmanned facilities. These solutions could transform the development of small pools and extend the economic life of the North Sea,” he added.
Mhairidh Evans, principal analyst for Wood Mackenzie, said unlocking small pools was key to providing much needed new investment and extending the life of existing infrastructure on the UKCS.
“The UK industry, with the Technology Centre’s backing, is at the forefront of these new technologies. Approaches taken here will be much-watched and learned from around the globe,” Evans said in a Wood Mackenzie statement.