New Technology Required to Further Develop Subsea Long Tiebacks

ITF, the Industry's Technology Facilitator is today, Monday, May 4 calling on international technology developers to come forward with proposals to address technology issues associated with the development of subsea long tiebacks.

On the back of a theme day hosted by ITF in March this year to identify the challenges in developing subsea long tiebacks, the not-for-profit industry owned organization is using OTC as a platform to launch a global call for proposals.

Identified by ITF's members as a key technology challenge to be addressed in 2009, ITF's theme day brought together industry experts from global operators, service companies and other industry sectors to identify the main technology challenges associated with developing subsea long tiebacks.

This call is asking global developers, research institutions and academia to come forward with ideas to address specific issues surrounding the technology gaps which exist in this area of the market.

The advancement of subsea long tiebacks is ultimately set to provide the industry with the ability to fast track field development projects. Increased production at lower cost, over longer distances and in deeper waters could become a reality if the industry had access to new technology in this area.

ITF's operations director David Liddle explained, "We have worked closely with our members to develop a cohesive understanding of the specific technology gaps facing the development of subsea long tiebacks.

"Key technology drivers center on the desire to produce fields in a more cost effective and efficient manner. As most of today's subsea developments are in frontier deep and ultra-deepwater regions and at step-out distances that make the use of existing infrastructure demanding, cost and feasibility are just two of the challenges being faced by operators.

"Increasingly resolution of subsea long tiebacks challenges are an important facet in the development of both new and mature oil and gas reserves. Having the ability to overcome these technological challenges could potentially release huge quantities of yet untapped, isolated and uneconomic oil and gas reserves, in addition to extending the viability of many of our mature and ageing fields.

"The expectation is that advances and improvements in subsea long tieback technologies will ensure the continued growth of subsea developments across all associated sectors through 2012 and beyond," he said.

Working on behalf of its member companies, including major oil and gas operators and service companies, ITF is calling for proposals to broadly tackle six technology threads within this theme.

These highlight the key technology challenges that are of explicit interest to ITF members:

  • Multiphase Fluid Flow and Flow Assurance (in particular hydrate management)
  • Subsea Processing
  • Subsea Electrical Power Supply and Distribution
  • Control, Communication and Instrumentation
  • Lower Cost Pipelines
  • Information Management

Mr. Liddle continued: "In addition to these specific technology requirements, there is a need for all technologies to contribute to increasing recovery rates from subsea completed wells -- ideally to achieve similar levels as that of platform completed wells. More cost-efficient solutions will be required to enable smaller and deeper discoveries to be developed.

"Although this information highlights key elements required, ITF allows for innovation and flexibility in interpreting the most appropriate technical solutions.

"The development of long tiebacks via conventional methods and procedures can lead to installations with high capex, opex, and technical limitations. New, innovative technology to deliver operational and cost benefits is therefore not just important but absolutely critical."