ITF Calls for Greater Improvements in Subsea Intervention

ITF, the oil industry technology facilitator, is today calling on global technology developers to come forward with solutions to a range of challenges associated with subsea intervention.

The collective output of an ITF technology challenge workshop held in Houston last year, this call for proposals aims to uncover innovative new ideas and technologies that will improve and extend the efficiency and capability of intervention techniques.

ITF is specifically looking for technological solutions to enhance subsea power, AUV mission, cost effective light well intervention, downhole diagnostic tools, high pressure/high temperature technology and better artificial lift.

Neil Poxon, managing director of ITF explained, "Subsea Intervention, whether for construction, maintenance or production enhancement is now the only viable option for many field developments, and for the first time, Inspection, Repair and Maintenance (IRM) has out grown construction as the number one subsea expenditure for upstream production.

"Improving and extending the efficiency and capability of intervention therefore plays a significant part in the lifecycle cost of subsea production.

"Innovative technology will help deliver these performance improvements and specialist intervention technologies will continue to open up new opportunities for subsea well intervention."

As part of the subsea intervention challenge, any proposal submitted must address one or more of the following identified requirements: 

Subsea Power

Future subsea field developments will demand steadily higher power from longer distance transmission and distribution systems therefore reliable and maintainable subsea high voltage equipment without a power connection to the surface is required. 

AUV Mission

There is a need to match advances in autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) technology to applications in subsea technology. This involves initially looking for solutions to diagnostic inspection but the key challenge is to move interventions on to full AUV intervention. 

Cost Effective Light Well Intervention (LWIV)

To perform rigless intervention cost effectively, new technological solutions are required to decouple technology from light weight intervention vessel platforms. New riser design methods, solutions for managing returns from coiled tubing, the development of 15,000 psi rated intervention systems and the standardization of LWI equipment are also critical. 

Downhole diagnostic tools

The development of a downhole autonomous tool to perform a well health check and monitor well integrity is required to improve well communications. 

HPHT technology

Technology to develop Electric Submersible Pumps (ESPs) for a high-pressure environment could accelerate production from tight reservoirs. In line with this, the development of ESPs for deep wells (20,000' Below the Mud Line) could improve intervention techniques. Innovations to support the development of Blowout Preventer BOP/Riser weight and solutions to make the wells slimmer are also pertinent. 

Better Artificial Lift

The development of a higher reliability artificial lift for subsea which is more compact with higher power is required. Wireline deployed Electro-submersible pumps and combined deep-set safety valves and pumps have also been identified as requirements. Overall solutions that could provide greater efficiency at high Gas Volume Fraction (GVF) and/or artificial lift in gas wells in addition to technologies that are deployable from vessels other than MODUs are also being sought.

Any organization seeking sponsorship for innovative technologies is encouraged to submit proposals for research, development, and / or field trial to ITF by March 15, 2010. SMEs, academia, research institutions, large organisations, consortiums, alliances, national or international organizations are all invited to submit their ideas by registering interest in the call through the ITF website