BP Starts Up World's Deepest Subsea Multi-Phase Pump at King
BP has successfully started up of the world's deepest subsea multi-phase pump project, a breakthrough in application of a technology with the potential to increase recovery of oil from deepwater fields.
Installation of the two subsea pumps and associated equipment at the King field in the Gulf of Mexico sets a double world record, for both depth and distance.
At 5,500 feet below the sea's surface, the King facilities are in water almost twice as deep as the previous deepest installation of multi-phase pumps. The pumps are also positioned over 15 miles from the Marlin tension leg platform -- well over twice the previous record distance from a host platform of six miles. BP is 100 percent owner and operator of King.
The two pumps will enhance production from the King field by an average of 20 per cent. After its 2002 start-up, the King field reached peak production in 2004, with recent production averaging 27,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day. In addition to the increase in production, this project will allow a seven per cent increase in recovery factor, extending the economic life of the field by five years.
"In line with our strategy to maximize reserves from our existing fields, the application of this cutting edge technology across BP's large deepwater portfolio has the potential to unlock significant resources that would otherwise remain unrecoverable," said Andy Inglis, BP's Chief Executive of Exploration & Production.
Oil and gas production naturally declines as reservoir pressure drops. Subsea boosting can reduce well back-pressure, thus improving reservoir recovery and increasing hydrocarbon flow rate. In addition, multi-phase pumping extends the distance over which the well stream can be transported -- increasing the step-out distances from existing infrastructure.
King is tied back to the Marlin TLP, which is approximately 75 miles offshore Louisiana in Viosca Knoll Block 915. King is located in Mississippi Canyon 84.
The deepest subsea pump installation until King was at 3,000 feet and the furthest from its host facility was previously six miles.
New technologies and techniques developed for this project include:
- A long distance high voltage distribution system capable of controlling multiple pumps at different speeds using advanced variable- speed drive systems. This overcame two challenges: umbilical designs that avoided 'cross talk' or interference, and the use of simplified 12kV ROV (remote operated vehicle) connectors to increase reliability.
- umbilicals linking the pumps to the distant control platform were developed as self-contained delivery lines for hydraulic fluids, chemical feeds, and lubrication oil, so reducing weight and cost.
- the umbilicals also house a new fiber optic communications system to ensure high speed pump response in respect to speed and lubricant oil pressure.
- Each pump station is mounted on a suction pile with the pump installed inside a manifold, and measures 33x20x13 feet and weighs some 92 tonnes. The umbilical and connectors are rated to supply 6,600 volts to the subsea pump.
- Aker Kvaerner of Norway supplied the subsea pumps, as well as installation services. Nexans of Norway supplied the umbilical. Installation services were supplied by Saipem and AMC.