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Published by

January 2011

Technology

Impartial technical advice for a safer energy industry. Learn more about how we can help you – go to www.lr.org/energy

Services are provided by members of the Lloyd’s Register Group. For further details please see our website: http://www.lr.org/entities


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Technology 4 News

28 FLNG

Inde heads for Wallsend; Siemens and Statoil sign R&D venture; flexible pipe report published by UK Oil & Gas: Shell and Schlumberger join forces to create enhanced oil recovery research group

Analysts at the UK-based consultancy Douglas Westwood discuss the challenges faced by the nascent floating liquid natural gas market. Their conclusions are upbeat and positive for the industry

6 Brazil

30 Subsea

The giant offshore field Tupi is creating interest across the world for its pre-salt development which has thrown operator, the state oil giant Petrobras, plenty of challenges

Developments at UK Subsea and expansion of facilities at a Scottish subsea centre are highlighted alongside developments at Aberdeen’s NSRI

36 Patents 13 Arctic The icy waters that swirl around the coastlines of Greenland, Canada and other Arctictype environments are challenging from an environmental and production viewpoint. How is the industry responding to the challenge?

24 FPSO Here, marine engineering expert Ian Williams discusses the Vessel Integrity Program employed on the Hess-operated Triton FPSO currently employed in the North Sea

Houston, Texas-based lawyer Charles Knobloch introduces the world of patents, a vital service for the innovative oil and gas sector

38 Access Norwegian companies TTS Energy and Marine Aluminium offer a solution to the daily challenge of accessing rigs and offshore support vessels by helicopter and boat

40 Peening An explanation of the ultrasonic process used to tackle the thorny issue of structural integrity from LETS Global

January 2011

EDITORIAL PANEL The vitality of any magazine depends on there being a twoway conversation between the people who produce it and the audience it hopes to please. In order to strengthen that relationship Offshore Technology has invited an informal editorial advisory panel of industry experts. Recently recruited to the role, their guidance and industry knowledge is warmly welcomed. While the panel's input will be invaluable, we still welcome comments, suggestions and story proposals from all our readers and encourage you to write to the editor at bruce.mcmichael@imarest.org

Alistair Birnie Chief Executive, Subsea UK Aberdeen, UK www.subseauk.org

Dr Paul Jukes President of MCS Kenny Houston, Texas www.mcskenny.com

42 Events Listing A new section highlighting many of the leading conferences and exhibitions that oil wheels of the sector that serves and lubricates educational and social needs of the industry

Edward Jones Head of Strategic Services, Operations AMEC, Aberdeen, Scotland www.amec.com

44 New Products GeoStreamer from Kongsberg: intelligent plugs from PTC in Aberdeen; Hamworthy pumps, and Rack Phase Differential monitoring

Leen Poldevart Vice President, Marketing SBM, Monaco www.sbmoffshore.com


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Headline Sponsor

Subsea 2011 Exhibition & Conference AECC, Aberdeen, 9-10th Feb 2011 Conference – Wednesday 9th February (09:30 – 15:30) Exhibition – Wednesday 9th February (08:30 – 17:00) and Thursday 10th February (08:30 – 16:00) Subsea UK Business Awards Dinner – 9th February

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Subsea 2011 Sponsors

Media Sponsors


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Welcome to the January 2011 issue of Offshore Technology magazine hen the doors open for OTC 2011 it will be almost 12 months since the start of the biggest challenge that the oil and gas industry has ever faced in the Gulf of Mexico. The fallout from the disastrous BP/Macondo spill will reverberate across the energy and legal sectors for years to come. The mood at the 2010 show was rightly sombre. The industry, policy-makers and government legislators around the world must now take stock, learn lessons and implement new licences to operate in the challenging offshore environments, a fact reflected in the pages of Offshore Technology as exploration and production problems are batted away with innovative thinking, higher HSE standards and new technology. Conferences such as OTC are important conduits for such information. The world’s insatiable desire for oil is leading explorers

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into exciting and challenging new regions. In this issue we look at how companies are preparing to go big under the ice and permafrost with contributions from offshore Canada and Greenland and a technical analysis from MCS Kenny in Houston. We also look at what’s happening in Brazil with the focus on the huge Tupi field. Again, this is pushing the boundaries of knowledge and technical capability. Needless to say, whether oil companies are drilling in pristine Arctic conditions or in the seas offshore Brazil, health, safety and environment is at the top of their agendas. Another exciting topic is the growth of floating LNG technology and markets. Here, analysts at Douglas-Westwood cast their sliderule over this market which is changing the way remote gas fields are regarded by those making the investment decisions. Talking of floating production, this issue contains a fasci-

nating look at the Vessel Integrity Programme implemented on the Triton FPSO currently stationed in the North Sea. The VIP has successfully mitigated potential structural problems on the floater by employing an upfront, systematic approach to problem identification and eradication. We also bring you new ways of solving access problems during crew changes, particularly with respect to helicopter landings using motion compensation technology. Elsewhere, US-attorney Charles Knobloch discusses patent law, an important issue that is an ongoing issue for those of us creating and developing state of the art offshore technologies. And finally, we look at the curiously named ‘peening’, an important tool used to ensure effective integrity management. Bruce McMichael Editor, Offshore Technology bruce.mcmichael@imarest.org

An official journal of, and published by

80 Coleman Street, London EC2R 5BJ Tel: +44 (0)20 7382 2600 Fax:+44 (0)20 7382 2669 E-mail: publications@imarest.org Website: www.imarest.org

Editor: Bruce McMichael bruce.mcmichael@imarest.org Publisher: John Barnes john.barnes@imarest.org

Associate Publisher — Sales & Commercial: Stephen Habermel stephen.habermel@imarest.org Tel: +44(0)7710 122258

Offshore Technology January 2011

Graphic Designer: Jo Cooper Publication Sales & Subscriptions: Lorraine Jordan

Editor’s Letter

Cover Photo: Producing offshore Brazil. Courtesy: Petrobras

© Institute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology (2011). All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form (including photocopying, storing in any medium by electronic means or transmitting) without the written permission of the copyright owner except in accordance with the provisions of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 or under terms of a licence issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency Ltd, 6-10 Kirby Street, London, England, EC1N 8TS, website: www.cla.co.uk email: licence@cla.co.uk. Applications for the copyright owner's written permission to reproduce any part of this publication should be addressed to the publisher.

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Inde heads for Wallsend eolia Environmental Services (UK) with its offshore decommissioning partner, Peterson SBS will be investing in North Tyneside after winning a contract for the onshore recycling of structures from the Shell Indefatigable (Inde) gas field in the Southern North Sea awarded by Shell U.K. Limited. The contract will be based at the Wallsend Yard, the site of the famous Swan Hunter shipyard and now owned by North Tyneside Council. Veolia will operate the facility by arrangement with North Tyneside Council in order to facilitate the new Inde contract that, the company says, “gives it an important foothold in the Southern North Sea decommissioning market”. The company already has strong expertise in this sector operating an offshore decommissioning facility covering the Northern North Sea in Lerwick, Shetland. Contract preparation work starts in early 2011, with Veolia’s decommissioning partner, Peterson SBS, planning to offload eight gas

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Inde for scrapping

field ‘jackets’ (rig legs) and eight topside structures from April to October 2011. Each structure will be offloaded at Wallsend from a separate sea-barge with a

total anticipated tonnage of 10,500 tonnes of which 8,500 is metal. A recycling rate of 98% is being targeted with the primary fraction being scrap metal.

nology development area. An umbrella agreement has therefore now been developed, structuring the framework of the technology partnership within R&D and technology development and facilitating the start-up of new cooperation projects.

Statoil this year spends NOK 2.2 billion (£240m) ( on research. About half of this is spent externally. Siemens last year spent about NOK 31.5 billion on research and development, around five percent of the company’s revenues. .

R&D venture signed tatoil and Siemens have signed a technology development cooperation agreement. The partnership will initially embrace subsea technology, electrical engineering technology, wind power and energy efficiency measures. “This is a strategically im-

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portant agreement for Statoil,” says Halfdan Knudsen, senior vice president for process and refining technology in Statoil. Siemens is an important Statoil supplier within several areas, and the two companies already cooperate in the tech-

January 2011 Offshore Technology


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Digital rock hell and Schlumberger are joining forces for a multiyear research technology cooperation agreement focused on improving the recovery factor of oil and gas reservoirs and extending the life of existing oil and natural gas fields. The collaboration is an expansion of the joint work on several fronts Shell and Schlumberger already conduct together, and it will initially focus on two specific projects: Reservoir surveillance for enhanced oil recovery (EOR) projects, and Digital Rock for detailed numerical modeling of

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reservoir rocks. “With much of the world’s existing reserves only producible through enhanced recovery techniques, this joint approach aims to unlock these resources in a smart and efficient manner and to shorten time to full field development,” said Ashok Belani, president, Schlumberger Reservoir Characterization Group. The key target of the cooperation is to shorten development cycles, increase production, and enhance ultimate oil and gas recovery. To achieve this, the Surveillance project will explore the

News design, development and testing of a new generation of tools specifically focused on EOR applications. These new surveillance tools and techniques are expected to deliver more accurate field data and to accelerate EOR feasibility studies and pilot projects. The Digital Rock project targets development of better methods to forecast displacement and recovery at the macroscopic pore scale, as well as methodologies to scale up core and pore-scale work to reservoir level for both sandstone and carbonate fields .

Intertec win

Flexible pipe report major new report published by Oil & Gas UK aims to encourage the correct use of flexible pipe in the fast-growing area of subsea and floating oil and gas developments. The SureFlex report, which was compiled by Wood Group Kenny, comprises updated guidance on flexible pipe integrity assurance and state-of-the-art analysis of pipe integrity technology. Paul Dymond, Oil & Gas UK’s operations director, said: “The UK oil and gas industry is widely regarded as the technological leader in subsea operations. Subsea technology, including the use of flexible pipe through which hydrocarbons are transported above the seabed, allows cost effective extraction in increasingly challenging environments, maximising use of our existing North Sea infrastructure and avoiding the need to

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build new fixed production platforms at each offshore development site. “Testament to the benefits of subsea technology is the fact that two thirds of all new fields in the UK are likely to be developed as subsea tiebacks because they are remotely located, have reduced reservoir sizes or are being developed in deeper water. The technology is also a key element of floating production field developments. “The SureFlex report will help the industry in the UK to harness the wide-ranging opportunities presented by the growth of subsea developments both in the UK and in oil and gas provinces around the world.” Patrick O’Brien, group director of strategic business and marketing, Wood Group Kenny, commented: “Flexible pipe is used extensively in the oil and gas industry as it is the most viable techni-

Offshore Technology January 2011

ntertec has won the contract to supply pre-assembled electrically heated instrumentation enclosures for the Deep Panuke offshore gas project. The contract was awarded by specialist offshore oil and gas engineering company Single Buoy Moorings Inc. (SBM). Intertec is supplying more than 160 of its Diabox 87 instrumentation enclosures, equipped with tubing, valves and process transmitters to SBM’s specification. Each enclosure is fitted with a CSA (Canadian Standards Association) approved 100 watt Intertec Multitherm explosion-proof heater and sealed thermostat, factory preset to freeze protection up to 30 degrees Celsius. The enclosures are constructed from glassfibre reinforced polyester (GRP), and are insulated internally with polyurethane foam to minimise heat loss. Deep Panuke is located in the Atlantic, 250 km southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.

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Paul Dymond of UK Oil & Gas

cal and commercial solution for a variety of typical offshore pipeline systems including dynamic risers connected to floating production vessels and as infield flowlines for subsea developments. “The SureFlex report incorporates data and experience from the use of flexible pipe drawn for the first time from all major flexible pipe operators, manufacturers and independent specialists worldwide. Therefore the resultant best practice guidelines are comprehensive and encompass the latest technological developments.”

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Brazil

There can't be too many countries or oil companies with such great expectations for rapid growth as Brazilian giant Petrobras

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Salt spices up Brazil’s taste for oil etrobras and Brazil are betting on what appears to be a series of consecutive discoveries in the Tupi area off the South Eastern coast of the country for a long term future. These discoveries consist of 28 API oil, spiced by salt, indeed, mountains of salt-domes. Such domes have rarely been exploited before, thus bringing the eyes of the oil industry to see how the Brazilian engineers are handling what is believed to be first large scale commercial attempt to produce oil from such great depth below the salt. The main problem concern the great depths at which the sub-salt oil is found – down to 8,000 metres below the seafloor in places. But that doesn't scare the Brazilians. They pioneered some of the deep and very deep water fields in the record breaking Campos Basin. And now they are eagerly pursuing for solutions to challenges that crop up as they search for oil below the salt domes. Indeed. Petrobras officials don't talk about problems, they say they only have obstacles, in their way, which are being overcome by their offshore experience

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FPSO Cidade Vicente operating offshore for Petrobras

January 2011 Offshore Technology


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Tupi takes centre stage of oil dream OFFSHORE TECHNOLOGY: What is it about Tupi that makes the field such an exciting prospect for Petrobras? PETROBRAS: The Extended Test Well (EWT) at Tupi was brought onstream on May 1st, 2009. Over the past 15 months, the system gathered technical information for the development of the reserves discovered by the company in the Santos Basin. This information was decisive not just in determining the development model for the Tupi area, but also for other presalt accumulations in the Santos Basin, one of the biggest oil finds ever made. The company is led by president Sergio Gabrielle. The Santos Basin pre-salt field poses a number of challenges, although they are not regarded as barriers to commercial development. This new exploratory frontier consists of oil reserves in carbonate rock, located about 5,000 meters below the seabed and under a water column of over 2,000 meters. This is an unprecedented technological challenge because it involves drilling through 2,000 meters of salt, and through rock that the industry has little experience in. In addition, the deposits are located at some distance from the coast, requiring a new, complex logistics model for transporting

Petrobras president, Sergio Gabrielle

Scana contract

Executive manager of the Pre- Salt, Jose Formigli

Brazil

Offshore Technology posed three key questions to senior Petrobras officials E&P executives to learn about the company’s thinking on its huge Tupi project. Tupi is located in the Santos Basin, 250 km (160 mi) off the coast of Rio de Janeiro. The field was named in honour of the native Brazilian Tupi people

In Brief

SCANA INDUSTRIER is to supply STX Norway Offshore with a remote controlled propulsion system for an anchor handling vessel (STX AH11) which will be built in Brazil. Delivery is scheduled for January 2013. This is the third vessel that is ordered by Norskan in Brazil, representative of Norwegian shipowner DOF ASA, all of which will be equipped with Scana Volda propulsion system. Scana has manufactured propulsion system for 35 vessels that operate offshore Brazil.

Offshore Technology January 2011

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people and a plant for production, storage and offloading. Executive manager of Pre- Salt, Jose Formigli leads the company’s operations in this sector. The Tupi reserves consist of good quality mid-to-light oil (28º API) and will provide a way of obtaining greater knowledge of the pre-salt field. During the EWT, analyses were conducted on various characteristics of the pre-salt field, such as the behaviour of reservoirs under long-term production, the handling and draining of fluids during production, and subsea outflow. Studies were also conducted on the best geometry for definitive wells (vertical, horizontal and/or inclined). The Tupi EWT has also provided Petrobras staff with information on the carbonate rock oil reservoirs in pre-salt fields. This rock is of microbial origin, and represents a

GE in Brazil

In Brief

GENERAL ELECTRIC Co. is investing $500 million to expand operations in Brazil and accelerate technology partnerships with leading Brazilian companies spanning multiple industries. A $100 million Brazil Global Research Center will be located on the Ilha do Bom Jesus peninsula in Rio de Janeiro and, when fully operational, will employ 200 researchers and engineers. Work at the center will focus on advanced technologies for the oil & gas, renewable energy, mining, rail and aviation industries. first encounter. The test results were consistent with the technical estimates. The behaviour of the reservoir in terms of oil and gas flow through the rock (microbiolite) was in line with the simulations. This is very important as it considerably mitigates natural uncertainties related to the development of a field of this size in rock that is not usually associated with hydrocarbon production.

Tupi Pilot Project In October 2010 Petrobras started production on the Cidade de Angra dos Reis FPSO, located in the Santos Basin and the first commercial scale production platform planned for the Tupi field. Bringing this unit onstream was a major step in the company’s scheduled production operations. The Cidade de Angra dos Reis FPSO is anchored over a

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January 2011 Offshore Technology


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NSRI is offering a long-term vision for the future of subsea, linking industries and universities in a genuine partnership, engaging across the supply chain, in the UK and internationally. NSRI aims to provide the capacity and the skills required for the future: > To enhance and enable future subsea developments; > To reform and transform the way industry operates; > To be bold and visionary, to have a major impact on the future of subsea. Find out more by visiting www.nsri.org.uk

Our partners:

www.nsri.org.uk

Contact us for more information: Tel: +44 (0)1224 273182 nsri@abdn.ac.uk www.nsri.org.uk


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Brazil

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2,149-meter water column. It was immediately tied back to well 9-RJS-660 to start producing between 15 thousand and 20 thousand barrels of oil a day (bpd). The new platform can produce as much as 100,000 bpd and process up to 5 million cubic meter of gas/day. At peak production, it will be connected to six oilproducing wells, a gas injector, a water injector and, finally a water alternating gas injector. The Cidade de Angra dos Reis FPSO marks the beginning of phase one (Tupi Pilot Project) and will complement the EWT results, bringing valuable information on reserves and production, essential for designing other pre-salt operational units. This information is fundamental for optimizing the number of wells, determining the best geometry and type of stimulation, assessing the performance of the different recovery methods, and for calibrating studies aimed at guaranteeing oil outflow through subsea lines, checking subsea system performance and maximizing the operational efficiency of the platform’s gas processing unit. The Tupi Pilot Project

Clariant contract

SPECIALTY CHEMICALS group Clariant has won a pre-salt chemical contract, worth CHF 1.5 million (£1m) a year, with Petrobras, one of the world’s leading integrated energy companies. The agreement for pre-salt deepwater, the first one with performance products awarded through a tender to a chemical company, encompasses the chemical package and services for the Petrobras FPSO Capixaba, which operates in the Espírito Santo State coast, Brazil. Production is currently based on post-salt and pre-salt reserves, with pre-salt production having started in mid-2010

will include a number of directional wells and one horizontal well. So far, only vertical wells (directional holes) have been drilled in the pre-salt. Petrobras is a world leader in technology for drilling directional wells crossing the salt layer. Horizontal and directional wells increase the reservoir contact area and could ramp up production potential, depending on the reservoir’s characteristics. Optimum well geometry for draining an oil reservoir depends on factors such as: total depth, existence of several overlaid reservoirs,

Expo measurement

In Brief

UK-BASED EXPRO’S Connectors & Measurements team has been contracted to provide Aker Solutions in Brazil with new medium power subsea electrical connection systems, in a multi-million dollar contract. These will be installed in eight new MoBOs (subsea boosting systems from satellite wells). Expro will provide five SpecTRON 8 connector systems, which have been developed for one of the biggest operators in Brazil and its growing demand for subsea power connections. _ This is the first production order for the MoBO connection system, which has been developed over the past three years using funds from Expro’s New Technology initiative. Delivery of the systems will be completed over 2011.

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In Brief

type of oil, existence of a bottom aquifer or gas cap, horizontal and vertical permeability, etc. OT: What were the initial technological challenges faced in Tupi and in the sub-salt area in general? PB: Although it poses a stiff challenge, it is unusual to drill at a depth of two thousand meters, through around three thousand meters of sediment and two thousand meters of salt. This involves leading edge technology which poses no problem for Petrobras. The company has drilled several wells at this kind of depth and produces oil at 1,886 meters in the Campos Basin, a record when it started up. The greatest challenge is the salt layer which, under high pressure and at high temperature, behaves as a plastic material, making it difficult to guarantee the stability of the rock in the thick salt layer – it can flow and make it impossible to continue drilling. The salt layer features several types of salts, including halite, taquidrite and carnalite, and some of them are soluble. The drilling fluid can only be defined after chemical analysis is undertaken at the com-

January 2011 Offshore Technology


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pany’s Research Center. Engineers need to define the well lining, the specific geometry and the best drill bit to use. The main technical issue for drilling under these conditions is to ensure the stability of the thick layer of salt rock, up to 2,000 meters thick in some places, since it can flow and prevent drilling. A lot of progress has been made in recent years, allowing not only stable drilling through the salt layer, but also cutting drilling time. It is all a matter of technology. The first well Petrobras drilled in this pre-salt field took more than a year and cost $240 million to complete. The most recent wells Petrobras drilled took 60 days and cost, on average, $66 million. This was made possible through a learning process as wells were drilled through the 2000-meter thick salt section, in terms of well lining specifi-

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cations, improvements to drilling fluid quality and well geometry design, better drill bit specifications, as well as the progress achieved through repeated chemical analyses at research centers and by Petrobras' well engineering group. Production typically involves using wells that have a horizontal section. Petrobras has already drilled over 200 horizontal wells in deep waters through to shallower reservoirs above the salt layer. The task now is to drill wells below the salt layer and Petrobras efforts are centered on consolidating this technology Another challenge worth pointing out was carrying out seismic imaging of the layers under the salt, whose characteristics make it difficult to obtain imaging data. OT: How were those challenges solved? PB: The company’s techno-

logical development is centered on supporting exploratory advances and the Technological Program for Pre-Salt Reservoir Production Development (Prosal) has been set up, based on the successful programs already developed by the Research Center (Cenpes), such as Procap for deep water drilling. The temperature in the pre-salt layer was highlighted by engineers as the great challenge of this new frontier, but this has now been solved. Some said that the heat could melt latest generation drill bits. This was disproved by indepth studies and is no longer a problem in pre-salt drilling. Quite the contrary; the salt layer in fact helps keep the temperature down to between 60ºC and 100ºC, which is quite low. In the same type of well with no salt layer, it could reach 200ºC.

Brazil

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Offshore Technology January 2011

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2–5 MAY 2011 :: RELIANT PARK :: HOUSTON, TEXAS

D I V E R S I T Y I N E N ER G Y, PE O P LE, AND RE S O U R CE S

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Arctic

Extreme oil exploration conference ith several of the world’s leading oil and gas-producing countries forging ahead with plans to find and develop new resources in their Arctic territories, the need to advance and refine technologies and procedures so that the region is developed in a safe, environmentally responsible and commercially viable manner is paramount. Industry experts will be attending the SPE 2011 Arctic & Extreme Environments technical conference and exhibition this October in Moscow to debate the issues around exploration in remote and environmentally sensitive loca-

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tions. The 3-day event will feature an exclusive conference, including daily plenary sessions featuring worldrenowned speakers and a mixture of panel discussions and technical presentations. The conference will address technical challenges for Arctic and extreme environments, with particular emphasis on current onshore Arctic operations and the specific challenges faced offshore, such as those being tackled by the owners of the multi-billion dollar Shtokman gas field currently in its development phase in the Russian sector of the Barents Sea. The event is being organised “in response to industry

needs and growing demand” by the respected industry partnership between Reed Exhibitions and the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), which is already responsible for the established biennial SPE Russian Oil & Gas Exploration and Production technical conference & exhibition in Moscow, being held next week. The E&P industry has of course been exploring and producing oil and gas from Arctic environments for many decades, both on and offshore. However, exploring and operating there remains extremely technically challenging. Russia, Canada, Norway, the United States and Denmark are all focused on the eventual and further development of their Arctic territories, both on and offshore, all drawn by an area estimated by the U.S. Geological Survey organisation to hold up to 90 billion barrels of oil and 30% of the world’s undiscovered gas resources. The industry has many research projects underway

The challenge of finding, developing and operating Arctic oil and gas fields is one of the upstream industry’s most pressing issues, with a new event being launched in Russia to identify and discuss emerging technology needs and how to accelerate their adoption and implementation.

The ice-resistant Prirazlomnaya platform is destined for installation this year on the field in the Pechora Sea, and will be Russia’s first producing offshore Arctic oilfield. Courtesy, Gazprom

Offshore Technology January 2011

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studying potential solutions such as ‘on-ice seismic’, which offers an alternative to open water marine acquisition for near-shore shallow water operations. This essentially allows companies to acquire seismic in areas of shallow water when they are frozen, without disturbing local wildlife. There are also joint indus-

try projects such as that lead by the SINTEF research institute, to develop advanced clean-up techniques. Experiments are being carried out on ways to detect oil in ice, burn oil in broken ice, and disperse oil in broken ice. And in Alaska, Shell is developing a specialised shallow-water containment system.

A MAJOR piece of research, commissioned by international skills body - OPITO, has revealed that the industry is in overwhelming support of common global standards for health and safety training. The findings of the research, which was conducted by the Aberdeen Business School at the Robert Gordon University, show that a lack of consistency and variations in regional approaches to training are barriers to achieving competency and changes in behaviour. Launched OPITO’s first global Safety and Competence Conference which was held in Abu Dhabi late last year the study, entitled Beyond the Barricades, sought to provide in-depth understanding of the ways in which training is delivered, how it adds values to those operating internation-

Beyond the barricades

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ally, the means that are used to measure that value and the significance for companies of international standards in achieving improved safety and competency. Almost 97% felt that uniform global industry standards would result in higher standards, improved workforce mobility, efficiency, quality of training and capabilities in the workforce, increased ability of companies to respond to incidents, trade globally and to benchmark training, and greater capacity for organisations to assess and share resource requirements as well as reductions in training costs. The main barrier to achieving global standards was the variety and complexity of existing standards.

Lunskoye-A ice-resistant platform, part of the producing Sakhalin II subarctic project.

Industry experts have long stressed the need to transform the forecast resources of the Arctic, amongst others, into

Others were culture, language and climatic requirements as well as the confusing number and varying roles of regulatory bodies and organisations. The solution, according to respondents, is to develop an effective global standard that is flexible and takes account of local operational environments. Increased communication and awareness, high quality instructors, continual auditing, familiar frames of reference and improving a culture of personal awareness were all cited as ways of overcoming the barriers. “Armed with this research, we will now carry out thorough engagement and consultation across the whole industry to develop global

real production resources as soon as possible. However the eventual development of Russia’s Arctic oil fields, for example, remains a serious challenge for all those companies involved. Technologies will have to focus on expanding the window of opportunity on the Arctic shelf, usually icebound for all but three months of the year. This will mean in particular a need for technologies that can increase operating times, such as platforms that can continue operating in icy conditions, and the building of subsurface structures for safe operation of subsea wells. There is also a requirement for newbuild iceclass tankers, underground facilities for the treatment and pumping of oil, and the need for immediate and constant monitoring of the well sites. This year’s event will be held 18-20 October in Pavilion 75 at the All-Russia Exhibition Centre in Moscow.

standards within a framework that takes account of In Brief specific local and regional requirements in a meaningful way. Today’s conference provides a platform to kick-start that dialogue with key stakeholders.” However, Mr Doig points out that their efforts will fail if the industry, governments and regulatory bodies in all oil and gas regions across the globe are not aligned in supporting this ambition. “With safety very high on the agenda post-Macondo we have a strategic imperative to realise common standards before the urgency begins to wane. History tells us that this industry is reactive. Improvements and prevention have only arisen as a result of major incidents such as Piper Alpha in the North Sea. www.opito.com

January 2011 Offshore Technology


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Arctic Avoiding pack ice and managing icebergs was one of the key elements of Cairn Energy’s exploration drilling program offshore western Greenland in the summer of 2010. Andrew Safer reports

Iceberg being towed offshore western Greenland by an anchor-handling supply vessel for Cairn Energy. Credit: Cairn Energy

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Managing pack ice and icebergs airn Energy, a Scotland-based oil and gas explorer and producer, drilled three wells at approximately 70 north and 60 west, 150 to 200 kilometers offshore in its acreage in the Baffin Bay Basin during a much anticipated Summer 2010 campaign. These were the first wells drilled in the Greenland Arctic in 10 years. The objective was to identify the window of opportunity when the water would be free from pack ice, and to keep icebergs out of the protection zone around the drill site to ensure the exploration program could continue safely and without interruption. However, by October, Cairn said that its initial finds offshore Greenland were too small to commercialise, but that exploration in the area is

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at a very early stage and consequently to have encountered both gas and oil in two of the first exploration wells in the previously undrilled Baffin Bay geological basin remains ‘extremely encouraging’. The planning for this exploration program included hiring two rigs to explore together; hiring 14 support vessels including helicopters, warebarges for accommodating crew, emergency response, and iceberg management vessels; designing the drilling schedule so that only one rig entered a hydrocarbon-bearing section at a time; a well design with primary and secondary barriers to minimize the possibility of an uncontrolled release of hydrocarbons, reviewed in accordance with North Sea practice; and pre-operations and fortnightly testing of the blowout prevention equipment by both Cairn and independent authorities. In addition, Cairn contracted C-CORE and Provincial Aerospace Limited (PAL) of St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador “because they met the necessary technical, health and safety and commercial terms,” said Ellie Goss, Cairn Energy’s Corporate Affairs Manager. “They have experience providing successful iceberg and ice management services in similar climates to other members of the oil industry. These practices have been used for at least 30 years off the east coast of Canada

where there is a thriving oil and gas exploration and production industry.” Cairn also contracted Cougar Helicopters of St. John’s to provide helicopter support for the offshore operations.

Charting history To assist Cairn in planning their drilling program, in March 2009, C-CORE began gathering historical iceberg and pack-ice data by analyzing approximately 200 satellite images dating back to 2004. On board a 45-metre converted fishing trawler, in July PAL’s observers began a field observation program, photographing and collecting information on the length, width, height and drift patterns of icebergs. To gauge the accuracy of using the historical satellite images to identify icebergs, each day, CCORE sent PAL‘s observers a defined geographic area (four corners of a box) and the observers sent back a plot showing the icebergs they observed. C-CORE then processed that day’s modern high-resolution satellite imagery for that area, and compared their findings to PAL’s iceberg plot. According to Des Power, C-CORE’s Director for Radar and Vision, the positive targets derived from the satellite images were between 95 and 100 per cent accurate, depending on weather conditions. Based on this, C-CORE calculated an adjustment factor and applied it to the historical low-resolution

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(and less accurate) satellite images to determine a best estimate of seasonal and annual variability which is necessary for decision-making. “Cairn wanted to know what kind of icebergs were up there, and also the reliability of the satellite data,” explains Carrie Young, PAL’s Assistant Operations Manager, Environmental Services Division. The historical satellite imagery analysis and field observation data in 2009 provided a sound basis for planning ice management operations for the 2010 drilling operations. PAL and C-CORE submitted an ice management plan to Cairn, which included a recommendation for six ice management vessels [anchor-handling supply vessels were provided). During the drilling program, on average, PAL coordinated the management of one to two icebergs per day. Historically, an iceberg’s average speed is ½ knot but in heavy weather conditions it can travel at up to 3 knots. The drift direction is determined by constantly changing sea and wind conditions, as well as “tidal looping”, whereby tide change moves the iceberg in a loop pattern over a 12-hour period. PAL’s ice observers entered the iceberg information into the company’s proprietary Ice Data Network System (IDNS), a geographic information system and database PAL used to generate reports for Cairn.

Stena Don into action In June, C-CORE provided PAL and Cairn with maps of icebergs and pack ice that could potentially affect operations. In late June, when the region was clear of pack ice, a fifth-generation semisubmersible DP rig, the Stena Don, was brought onto location. To ensure that the rig had a clear path to the drill site, C-

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CORE used satellite imagery to identify positive targets along the route in Arctic waters and PAL observers coordinated iceberg-towing operations in the vicinity of the drill site. In July, the sixth-generation drill ship Stena Forth was moved into position at a second drill site 22 nautical miles from the Stena Don. During the drilling program, PAL’s observers served 12-hour shifts on the rigs and coordinated operations on six ice-management vessels. For iceberg detection, the ice observers used specialized ice radar developed by Rutter Inc. of St. John’s, and began directing ice management operations when the icebergs were 20 miles from either rig. Aerial reconnaissance wasn’t necessary because the facilities were dynamically positioned and the zones were relatively small. The ice observers compared forecasted weather conditions to observed conditions, and historical iceberg movement to observed movement to determine which icebergs needed to be managed. Based on the iceberg’s size, shape, stability and towability, it was either towed with a net or a

Offshore Technology January 2011

Coordinated by a Provincial Aerospace Ltd. observer, a water cannon is being used to change an iceberg's trajectory on the Grand Banks, Newfoundland. Credit: Provincial Aerospace

rope, or a water canon or prop washer was used to alter its trajectory. If the iceberg was large and stable, either one or two vessels towed it using a rope, in which five sections of 400-meter floating fiber rope are connected to the vessel’s work wire. The net, developed by CCORE in 2003 to improve iceberg towing on the Grand Banks offshore Newfoundland, was the preferred method for icebergs that were rolling or unstable, as the rope can slip off. “The goal is to capture and control,” explains C-CORE’s Director for Ice Engineering, Freeman Ralph. “so you use a catcher’s mitt instead of a slingshot: the pocket created by the net gives you more control.” The net is fitted on the iceberg below the water line. C-CORE provided engineering support for equipment design and modifications.

Growlers and bergy bits If the iceberg is small (known as a ‘growler’ or ‘bergy bit’), vessels equipped for firefighting can use water canons to pump seawater at the base to create a localized current that changes the berg’s drift direction. Similarly, prop washing (when an ice management vessel backs up close to the berg, applies full power, and creates a wash from the propellors) can be used to create a localized current. These “pushing” actions can be repeated until the iceberg changes direction. PAL’s Young notes that one vessel on the Cairn project that had azimuthing azipod thrusters was very effective in this capacity. During Cairn’s threemonth drilling program, PAL coordinated ice management operations on 143 icebergs. Due to ice detection and management services information provided by the PAL / CCORE team, Cairn’s key objective was met: no pack ice was encountered during the drilling program, and neither the Stena Don nor the Stena Forth had to disconnect and move to another location due to icebergs.

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Arctic Headquartered at the edge of the North Atlantic in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, CCORE has been providing ice engineering services to the offshore oil and gas sector since the mid-1970s, and Provincial Aerospace Limited (PAL) has been providing ice management services to the sector since the late 1970s.

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Ice expertise -CORE is a specialized engineering corporation that conducts applied R&D in radar and vision systems, ice engineering, and geotechnical engineering. Their offshore oil and gas team of 17 ice engineers and scientists, eight remote sensing specialists, and six geotechnical engineers is believed to be the largest such team in the world. C-CORE provides ice engineering services in all regions of the Arctic and sub-Arctic including: detecting and monitoring sea ice, icebergs, and icebergs in pack ice; managing icebergs and icebergs in pack ice; determining the risk sea ice and icebergs pose to offshore structures and ships, seabed installations, and pipelines; monitoring pack ice, iceberg, and atmospheric ice conditions, and determining the design impact forces of icebergs and pack ice on offshore structures and ships.

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Iceberg detection After Radarsat 1 became operational in 1996, C-CORE began investigating the use of

Coordinated by Provincial Aerospace Ltd, the trajectory of an iceberg is being redirected by a water canon, Grand Banks, Newfoundland Credit: Provincial Aerospace

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satellite imagery for iceberg detection. The launch of the European satellite Envisat in 2002 introduced polarization which vastly improved the ability to distinguish icebergs from vessels. Then in 2007, a new constellation of satellites from Italy and Germany and Canada’s Radarsat 2 began providing much higher resolution and superior filtration of noise and sea clutter which boosted the probability of detection from 70% to over 95%. Satellite images cover up to a 500-kilometer swath, compared to radar that can see from 20 to 38 kilometers out to the horizon, depending on elevation. After acquiring the images in a given area of interest, CCORE processes them to separate out the vessels and potential noise and sea clutter, and characterizes the iceberg distribution. Based on this information the operator knows what to expect regarding iceberg activity at a given location, either before a lease is purchased or to assist in the planning of drilling operations.

Envisat satellite images became available at no cost in 2009, whereas many satellite images had cost between $1,000 and $5,000 previously. “The value of satellite images is only seeing the light of day in the last couple of years,” notes Freeman Ralph, C-CORE’s Director of Ice Engineering. “Before, it would have cost up to $500,000 to access 100 images. Now, when companies come to us expecting all the answers, the economics fit within the expectations of the industry.”

Design specification for offshore structures Five oil and gas companies interested in leasing acreage offshore Greenland have engaged C-CORE to provide them with a preliminary design basis of the historical and expected ice conditions. C-CORE prepares environmental and engineering specifications for design, indicating how often ice can be expected to interact with the facility, the nature of the interaction forces and risk mitigation strategies. The specification identifies the global forces for the moorings and local forces for hull design. In the case of a gravitybased structure, such as the one C-CORE is specifying for the Hebron development on the Grand Banks, the specification pertains to the global forces for sliding resistance, overturning moment, and concrete caisson design. Based on the historical and expected distribution of icebergs in the area, a topsides elevation is also specified. White Rose project on the Grand Banks.

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Keeping watch on growlers ince the late1970s, Canada’s Provincial Aerospace Limited (PAL) has conducted ice reconnaissance missions and ice management operations on the Grand Banks, approximately 180 nautical miles east-southeast of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador for Hibernia Management Development Corporation, Petro-Canada/Suncor, ExxonMobil Canada, Husky Energy, Norsk Hydro, and Chevron Canada Ltd. The ice season begins in early March when icebergs embedded in sea ice typically begin to encroach on the Grand Banks. Focused on latitudes south of 48, PAL pilots flying ice reconnaissance missions in Super King Air aircraft follow a pre-determined grid pattern over the northern Grand Banks. Referring to drift models in PAL’s Ice Data Network System, the observer accompanying the pilot uses radar to identify and plot the position, size and shape of icebergs, and the concentration, age, floe size, speed and direction of pack ice, as well as the ice edge. Once the water is free of pack ice, drilling operations resume. The ice season runs until the end of April when the pack ice melts and the icebergs which are released float freely until July. PAL’s ice and weather observers on the offshore production facilities take photographs and plot data which is reported

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to the contracted weather forecaster who does site-specific forecasts for the operators. In the winter, PAL staff have measured winds in excess of 115 miles per hour and wave heights in excess of 30 metres. The marine weather data is also communicated to Environment Canada and is included in their weather analysis for national and international mariners. PAL assembles the ice reconnaissance and weather observation data into a package that is delivered each day to the operators and offshore ice and weather observers. Observers also do aviation observation in support of offshore helicopter operations, monitor seabird and mammal activity within the visual field of the rigs, and coordinate iceberg management activities. Icebergs range in size from growlers (the size of a refrigerator: less than one meter high, five meters in water line length, and about 1,000 tons) to very large (over 75 meters high, 200 meters in water line length, and greater than 10 million tons). PAL observers are trained at the Centre for Marine Simulation and the Offshore Safety and Survival Centre at the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University in St. John’s, where they are licensed to operate VHF and GMDSS systems. Pat Barron, PAL’s Operations Manager and Quality Assurance Manager, started working for the company as an

Offshore Technology January 2011

ice and weather observer off the coast of Labrador in 1979. He reports that in 2010 there were no icebergs on the Grand Banks due to elevated sea temperatures and drift patterns that kept the icebergs shore-based on the Labrador coast. “Icebergs survive in pack ice, which keeps them from melting,” says Barron. “As reported by Canadian Ice Services, there hasn’t been a year with as little pack ice on record.” In 2009, PAL tracked over 600 icebergs in the area. Asked if any of the operators on the Grand Banks has ever had to cease drilling operations due to an iceberg, Barron replied, “Neither Terra Nova nor the Sea Rose (the two floating production units) has ever had to move, and Hibernia hasn’t had to stop operations.” Outside the Grand Banks, PAL has provided ice management services in the Davis Strait and off coastal Labrador, and for ExxonMobil Canada, EnCana, and Canadian Superior offshore Nova Scotia, and Cairn Energy PLC offshore western Greenland.

Arctic

A chilly view from the bridge, offshore Newfoundland Credit: Provincial Aerospace

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Arctic Designing for Arctic O&G projects frequently requires considering conditions that are not typically relevant to other areas, writes Ayman Eltaher Technology and R&D Manager, MCS Kenny, Houston

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Frost heave and strudels Driven by increasing demand for oil and gas and by the amount of potentially undiscovered hydrocarbons in the Arctic (assessed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to be about quarter what is undiscovered globally), mostly offshore, a new wave of interest in the Arctic has started with emphasis on offshore fields. Designing for arctic O&G projects frequently requires considering conditions that are not typically relevant to other areas. These conditions include ice loading; interaction between buried structures or pipelines and the permafrost; ice-gouging; and strudel scour. A new chal-

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lenge that emerged in the last few years is the uncertainty in the arctic environmental loads due to global warming and melting of the Arctic.

Ice modelling Methods of modeling ice loading on structures may be divided into two main categories, namely globally/macroscopically and through material constitutive models for numerical schemes such as finite elements. Global/macroscopic modeling of ice loading has been developed for a number of structures, such as platforms, lighthouses, and ships. Currently available codes that ad-

dress ice loading include API RP-2N, IEC, and most recently ISO/DIS 19906. A number of authors have attempted fitting ice behavior into constitutive models such as elastic, plastic, viscous and “damage� models, or combinations thereof, with different levels of success. Linear elasticity is most useful in modeling ice pre-failure behavior, and can be used with fast loading and low stresses. Otherwise, it has been observed that ice response to loading is sensitive to the rate at which the load is applied; i.e., under constant stress, the ice strain increases (creeps) with time. For higher strain rates, the failure

BP's Northstar Island, Alaska. An icy challenge

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mode changes to brittle fracture behavior. Therefore, viscoelasticity has been used successfully to model ice behavior. The concept of material “damage� was adopted to account for the presence of microcracks and voids in ice, which permanently affect the material behavior through modification of properties such as the elastic modulus. This concept has also been successful in modeling ice behavior.

BP's trans-Alaska pipeline. Surface ice is well understood, but what lies beneath?

Frost heave Frozen (or freezing) ground interacts with structures that it supports in two main conditions, namely permafrost thawing and frost heave. Current standards provide little guidance as to how to incorporate these conditions in the design of structures and pipelines. Field monitoring and intervention is also suggested. Permafrost has been identified as a significant issue for pipeline design because of the

local subsidence/collapse of the ice-rich permafrost after thawing by the heat from warmer pipelines. Earlier work to analyze the phenomenon comprised the following three decoupled steps: a 2D thermal analysis of the permafrost with the warm pipeline; based on the estimated thaw bulb, a 1D soil settlement analysis is carried out to; finally, a structural model of the pipeline is used to assess the pipeline stresses. Aided by the development of faster computers and codes, recent developments have combined the three steps into a single 3D coupled model. If a pipeline is operating at sub-freezing temperatures, freezing pore water will expand around it, which may cause differential heave and possibly overstress the pipeline. Currently, structural modeling of the pipeline is used in the design of pipelines against frost heave. The amount of frost heave is typically obtained through testing. However, significant uncertainty exists in currently used methods.

it exposes even buried subsea structures to direct or indirect contact with the ice masses. Icegouging involves a number of complex interactions between the aero- and hydro-dynamic forces, ice mass, seabed and buried structures/pipelines. Further complexity is induced by the extreme deformation experienced by the seabed soil, which may lead to numerical performance problems. Given the design gouge parameters, the impact of the gouging event on the seabed and founded structures or pipelines has been assessed using empirical formulations, simplified structural analyses, and advanced continuum techniques. The mechanism of soil failure and associated soil displacements were studied by the PRISE JIP, which proposed analytical representations thereto. State-of-the-art models currently use fully 3D coupled Arbitrary Lagrangian Eulerian (ALE) or Coupled Eulerian Lagrangian (CEL) finite element methods.

Strudel scour Ice-gouging Ice-gouging is a natural phenomenon whereby an ice mass is driven by wind and current until it reaches shallower waters where it ploughs the seabed. Ice-gouging is a phenomenon that is of concern, as

Offshore Technology January 2011

Strudel scour is a localized, seasonal phenomenon that occurs in few areas, such as the Beaufort Sea, where the melting fresh water in rivers and streams flows over the surface of frozen shore-fast ice and rushes through the ice cracks

with velocity and volume that can scour the seabed. Scouring the seabed may expose buried pipelines, which in turn leads to problems regarding keeping the hydrocarbon temperature, exposing the pipeline to ice keels, and pipeline free spanning and buckling. Assessment of these risks can be carried out using conventional flow assurance and mechanical analysis tools and codes.

Conclusion The above-discussed analysis and design challenges have benefitted greatly from recent developments in advanced numerical tools (e.g., finite element), with the following definite added value: Optimization of pipeline burial depth; Minimizing expensive testing; and Financial savings in engineering and operation. Indeed, J P Kenny/MCS Kenny have developed a number of advanced numerical tools, with a focus on arctic applications, such as those addressing permafrost and ice-gouging interaction with pipelines. Author Ayman Eltaher Technology and R&D Manager, MCS Kenny, Houston www.mcskenny.com

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Viewpoint Oil and gas companies are turning to drama to develop a positive culture of health & safety for its workforce when working both on and offshore By Glen Robertson, Director, Forum Interactive

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A dramatic approach to health and safety y understanding the factors that influence human behavior, we can create a safer work environment. The HSE identifies such factors as: environmental, organizational, job related and also human and individual characteristics. Missing from this list are cultural and relationship factors – in the oil and gas sector the impact of culture and relationships is best illustrated by their effect on Health & Safety intervention. Most people in the oil and gas industry work alongside others. Therefore, any unsafe act will be witnessed by a colleague who could then intervene. If anyone who witnesses an unsafe act makes the choice to intervene, then this acts as a powerful safety mechanism. However, people can be reluctant to intervene because they fear the response they might get from colleagues, direct reports or those senior to them. They may also not know how to intervene, lacking the necessary skills or confidence. Many organizations within the O&G sector identify intervening as a key part of their behavior-based safety system. Some also recognize that people need to be actively encouraged and supported to intervene through initiatives that: a. Raise awareness among staff of the cultural and relationship factors that influence people's readiness to intervene b. Support staff to develop their confidence and skills in intervening.

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Shell UK’s Cutter field

How can this encouragement be given? Shell and Petroleum Geo-Services are two global organizations that recognise the value of intervention as a safety process. They have invested time and resources into developing drama based training programs that provide a ‘hands on’ approach to meeting these objectives. Here we will discuss what these training programs look like, and how they work.

Shell – Nils story Shell's behavior-based safety system, is based around three Golden Rules: Complying, Intervening and Respecting. Shell re-designed a series of mobilization workshops for their seismic and marine vessel crews in order to reinforce these rules in the context of 'personal responsibility.' In diverse groups, in terms of rank and role, the crews discussed their experiences and

their attitudes towards intervening in response to a drama ‘Nils Story.’ Nils story is based on a real incident, concerning two highly trained and experienced electricians – Anders and Nils. There is faulty equipment on Nils’ vessel which requires urgent repair. Anders offers to help out because he has had a similar problem on his own vessel. They set to work. There is an explosion which leaves Anders dead and Nils needing hospital treatment. In the investigation that follows, Nils admits that they failed to comply with basic safety procedures. The relationship between the two men is highlighted as a critical factor. Their close friendship led to a relaxed and informal approach in which basic safety procedures were ignored. Nils trusted Anders and felt obliged to him for his offer

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of help. This encouraged him to overlook his own responsibilities, leading to a passive attitude, despite his own authority and experience. In sharing their own views and experiences, the crews who watched the drama identified the cultural and relationship factors that influence their readiness to intervene e.g: Not wanting to offend senior people or create conflict with peers; Assuming that senior people know what they’re doing; Feeling pressure from peers to keep quiet; Feeling pressure from leaders to get the job done quickly. Factors like these cannot be dealt with unless people are given the opportunity to identify them and acknowledge their impact. Stories and action learning techniques have proven to be an accessible and powerful way of doing this.

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Petroleum Geo-Services Improving the quality of interventions PGS also identified fear of conflict as a barrier to intervening. They have a system of ‘Safe Cards’ which enables staff to report unsafe acts and situations. Their objective was to improve the quality of interventions by providing staff with the opportunity to practice and develop skills. Again this was achieved by introducing a story led training program - The ‘Safe Card’ content was used to create a drama, presented by actors, portraying a series of typical unsafe acts and situations. The culture and values of office-based staff within PGS was highlighted by the characters’ behavior in the drama. This was then examined by staff, who worked with the actors to question and discuss what they had witnessed from both angles: the person making

the intervention and the person whose behaviour is being questioned. This process gave individuals within PGS the opportunity to explore and try out how they might intervene, in a safe learning environment. The fact that they did this alongside colleagues helped to support a culture shift within the team, in which the importance of intervention was understood, and its practice encouraged and accepted.

Summary There is no doubt that cultural and relationship factors influence people’s readiness to intervene. By acknowledging and addressing these factors, and by giving people the opportunity to practice behaving differently, organizations can develop intervention as one safety mechanism that will make a difference. As we have discussed, a number of major organizations

within the sector recognise the importance of intervention. Many have invested in new ‘action’ based training techniques where drama could be used to address culture and relationship issues that act as barriers to intervention. This can prove helpful in shifting attitudes and developing confidence among staff and managers to take personal responsibility for safety. Author: Glen Robertson, Director, Forum Interactive Edinburgh www.foruminteractive.co.uk

Nils story: A sound slide of Nils story can be found at http://www.offshore-technolo g y. c o m / v i d e o s / 1 0 5 0 8 9 339001.html). Forum Interactive is presenting “Safe as Houses”, an event on safety leadership, for IOSH Offshore on 31st January. For details of this free event, see www.iosh.co.uk/groups/offshore_group.aspx.

OTC upbeat on expansion he Houston-based Offshore Technology Conference will be adding two new conferences to its portfolio of events this year, expanding its franchise internationally for the first time. The OTC model, which brings together a dozen professional societies and associations to create a comprehensive technical conference, will serve as the basis for the new Offshore Technology Conference – Brazil (OTC Brasil, 4-6 October in Rio de Janeiro) and Arctic Technology Conference (ATC, 7-9 February in Houston). The traditional OTC event takes place between 2 -5 May in the Reliant Centre, Houston. Founded in 1969, the Offshore Technology Conference

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is one of the world’s foremost events for the development of offshore resources in the fields of drilling, exploration, production, and environmental protection. OTC ranks among the

Offshore Technology January 2011

largest 200 trade shows held annually in the United States and is among the 10 largest meetings in terms of attendance. Attendance consistently exceeds 50,000, and more than 2,000 companies participate in the

exhibition. OTC includes attendees from around the globe, with more than 110 countries represented at recent conferences. Meanwhile, at the Houston show, planning continues apace. The show will boast extra outdoor exhibition space, while indoors a series of industry breakfasts, are being organised by OTC and the US Department of Commerce, offering expert views on doing business in emerging areas of interest for the oil and gas industry in particular Mexico; Malaysia and Cyprus. For more information on OTC contact www.otcnet.org. OTC is now also getting its message out on Facebook and twitter, both of which can be accessed from the website.

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Hamworthy pump for Papa Terra FPSO amworthy, the marine and offshore fluid handling systems specialist, has secured a key reference in Brazil’s growing offshore market, following the award of the contract to supply pumps and pump systems for the Papa Terra FPSO by BW Offshore. The Papa Terra oil field, 68 miles off the coast of Rio de Janeiro is 1,200 m below sea level. The field is reckoned to have the potential to yield up to one billion barrels of oil.

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To be operated by BW Offshore on behalf of Petrobras, the Papa Terra FPSO is being converted from the ULCC BW Nisa at COSCO Dalian, for redelivery by late 2011. The completed vessel will feature a cargo pump room system, firewater pump system and seawater lift pumps delivered exclusively by Hamworthy. “The Hamworthy pump room system (PRS) with deck mounted booster stations has been delivered to several FPSOs since 2002 when BW

Offshore converted their VLCC Berge Helene to an FPSO and has been selected again for Papa Terra,” said Paul Fleetwood, Managing Director, Hamworthy Pump Systems. “This is the optimal solution for the client as standard marine cargo pumps can be used in the pump room for normal offshore offloading to shuttle tankers, and when higher pressures are required, i.e. when offloading via an offshore buoy, an extra set of specially designed booster pumps on deck are used to boost the pressure.” Mr Fleetwood said the Papa Terra FPSOs Firewater Pump Package would consist of two mechanical hydraulic skids and one mechanical skid. “This also builds on previous experience with such packages that again go back to 2002 with the FPSO Berge Helene and 2006 with the FPSO Knock Addon. The detailed system design will be done by Hamworthy’s Baltic Design Centre in Poland and manufacture and testing will be carried out at Hamworthy’s newly extended facility in Singapore. “The cargo offloading system and four large pumps that make up the seawater lift package will also be manufactured Hamworthy’s Singapore plant.

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Triton gets VIP treatment Vessel Integrity Program is used to identify potential problems and allow early optimised physical “solutions” to be created to mitigate future structural issues, and has been successfully implemented onthe Triton FPSO offshore North Sea. A Complete Ship FE Model has been created by Bureau Veritas (BV), incorporating all the various forces acting on it. Theoretical and empirical data has been used to verify the model. With this VIP tool physical work has focussed on the issues, methods to prevent them or at least reduce them to a low probability of occurrence. Innovative solutions have been applied in a timely manner to prevent the issues arising. One of the key aspects is to ensure that there is sufficient marine expertise involved, enabling management to forecast, plan and commit resources in the right areas to mitigate against future problems. VIP is not just an inspection, repair and maintenance program – it a predictive analytical system coupled with a pro-active approach to extend vessel life and maintain structural integrity.

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term contract with Wood Group Engineering (North Sea) Ltd to provide operations, maintenance and engineering services. Wood Group (WG), on behalf of Hess UK , is responsible for the ongoing integrity of Triton. Triton was originally conceived by Samsung as a standard trading Aframax 105,000 te dwt tanker, but prior to use as a FPSO had vessel structural enhancements; her freely weather-vaning turret and topsides pallets were added in Singapore and Teeside. It was realised early in Triton’s life cycle that the Triton hull was subject to considerable stresses which had not been fully understood in the original design. Early signs of degradation were being seen at circa half the age that they would be expected on a normally trading tanker. In 2006, in conjunction with the Field partners HESS and WG devised a wide-ranging project initiative to address the structural life of Triton. “VIP”

– Vessel Integrity Program - is an inclusive project to encompass all aspects of Triton operational behaviours that have an influence on the hull structure, including superimposed topside loads, environmental, mooring forces, increased cargo and ballast frequencies. In addition the field Partners advised that they anticipated reservoir performance would justify a working life 30% beyond the original design life. VIP is considered an invaluable tool to ensure the future of Triton. The in-depth structural mathematical ship model has been correlated with empirical data. This now allows model interrogation to understand, predict and prevent structural issues before they occur. Specifically it is aimed at minimising future structural intervention with benefits to overall lifecycle safety and reducing pressure on available bed spaces. Intelligent use of the VIP model by experienced mariners

FPSO

Triton is one of the most successful FPSOs in the North Sea and was the subject of a ‘VIP’ (Vessel Integrity Program) devised to understand holistically the lifecycle structural issues of the Vessel moored in its North Sea environment

Ongoing integrity The Triton FPSO, stationed in the year 2000, circa 90 miles east of Aberdeen in the Central North Sea, is one of the best performing FPSOs in the UK. Triton is operated by Hess UK Ltd and supported by a long

Offshore Technology January 2011

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Peening in situ

has demonstrated its ability to reduce offshore work, improve planning and enhance safe oil and gas production operations.

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Structural review A full review of structural data was carried out to enable the build of an accurate FE model. This included detailed hindcast metocean data, which although it reinforced the 100 year storm amplitude, it has substantially added to the wind, wave and current directional combinations. It is also common that structural drawings may not be entirely accurate; hence every structural drawing was reviewed and for critical details – such as as-built offsets for cruciform joints – offshore surveys were carried out. Advantage was taken of the substantial steps forward in structural engineering since the original design work nearly 10 years previously. Discussions were held with a number of engineering houses and the work was awarded to Bureau Veritas, using their Naval Architects in Paris who then built a Complete Ship Model (CSM) of every detail of Triton. Strength and spectral fatigue analyses were carried out using the thousands of metocean loadcases available, with a view to understanding not just where structural problems would be occurring in the future, but to quantify these; and more importantly to understand what aspects of Triton behaviour were causing the individual future problems. Calculating fatigue lives to 2.5% probability, but also 20% and 50%, allowed an appreciation of the seriousness of each fatigue related issue – and the ability to calculate what the repair costs might be throughout the life of Triton. With the identified issues quantified a technical review team was developed to review the issues, and to develop a

greater understanding of the cause of each followed by identification of potential “solutions”. This was a deliberately open discussion on three separate forums and specifically sought ‘blue sky’ ideas. Each idea was then evaluated for its effectiveness in solving the issue, against practicality, safety and cost effectiveness. The CSM allowed WG and Hess to fully understand the benefits that potential solutions could offer. It was accepted that VIP would involve a range of engineering solutions and four were selected which vary in complexity and size to enable Triton to reach the predicted end of field life of 2026 whilst eliminating frequent shut downs for structural repairs in later life.

Pressure differential One of the chosen solutions has been relatively straight forward to implement. The cause of several of the seven future structural issues identified on Triton was the frequent change in pressure differential between ballast and cargo tanks. With a loading cycle of 7 to 10 days the pressure differential across the common bulkhead varied from +2 bar to –2 bar, and this was resulting in high stress ranges on many details of the longitudinal stiffener brackets, in turn leading to a reduced fatigue life. A more detailed look at the “standard” loading pattern, while showing it was well within the limits set by the loading computer, actually had a number of alternating stress cycles even within each loading. Following a review of the loading computer and subse-

quent calculations a much more even bending moment has been achieved (as demonstrated by the difference between the red and blue lines in the graph below). By limiting the L shaped ballast tanks to 85% instead of 95% by volume, the pressure differential was cut by at least 25%; and recognising that leaving a couple of metres of cargo in each tank could gain another 5% was another identified improvement. This latter does not influence offtakes if carefully scheduled, and if not then it is available to make up an export parcel on an occasional basis. Another selected solution was Ultrasonic Peening. This is not a procedure widely used in the offshore industry but independent research has demonstrated it can reduce stresses more effectively than shot peening. Triton has used this extensively for critical structural details and weld areas, with a fatigue life improvement expected of at least twice, and in some circumstances quadruple. One of the important advantages of ultrasonic peening is that it is “cold” work and applied by a small hand-held tool. Using the right frequency and tip shape does of course require expertise, and Triton investigated this subject in depth before committing to its peening program with an approved specialist contractor. The longest term solution is blasting and coating of several thousand structural details throughout the double hull ballast tanks. Like many hulls Triton’s ballast tanks were coated with Coal Tar Epoxy. This is a

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relatively rigid coating and it has been identified that at high stressed structural details the coating has cracked, and early signs of corrosion has started. Independent testing of the new high spec flexible coating was carried out in realistically damp ballast tank conditions, using a variety of application methods; this included adhesion, cracking, permeability and coverage; subsequent testing of actual ballast tank sites has shown that this coating is performing as per design. Another aim of VIP is as a tool for future development of the topsides or other equipment on Triton. Partners seek to maximise production, and installation of new equipment to maintain or improve production rates will inevitably have an impact on structural behaviour. Having the Complete Ship Model available allows proposed modifications to be evaluated by the Triton engineering team. On Triton two

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such proposals have already been evaluated demonstrating the effectiveness of VIP.

VIP compliance VIP was not originally conceived to be compliant with any of the Structural Integrity Management standards that have now been published; indeed VIP preceded ISO 19904-1 and others. Instead VIP was built on a need of a specific FPSO and its operation, and perhaps by being devised against that need has not been limited by what industry committees agreed to fit a wide range of scenarios. One of the key aspects critical to a “marine integrity system” is to ensure that there is sufficient marine expertise and experience involved enabling management to commit resources in the right areas to mitigate against future problems; most importantly VIP is not just an inspection, repair and maintenance program – it is a comprehensive pro-active

system for Hull integrity management. VIP works in conjunction with the ongoing structural inspection program. WG and Hess manage this with an integrated Steering Group for VIP, including representatives from the Triton structural inspection contractor, the peening contractor, operations department and the specialist analysis contractor (BV). This allows the effect of other systems to be kept in the context of VIP, encompassing cathodic protection systems, ballast pumps and lines, mooring system integrity etc. Triton has also been fitted with a number of accelerometers, strain gauges and other instrumentation, to provide an ongoing record of the hull behaviour and a comparison with that predicted by the VIP analysis. VIP is already delivering results and by taking this proactive approach to Structural integrity VIP is an integral part of preparing Triton for 2022 (and potentially beyond!)

About the author: Ian Williams has been providing Marine Support to Wood Group and Triton since 2004. “Marine” is often interpreted in different ways, but for Triton includes hull, mooring, cargo, offtake and all related systems. His experience was gained initially during 10 years at sea as a Deck Officer on tankers dealing with real life marine issues, during which he gained a 1st Class Honours in Nautical Studies, and then designing and managing projects in the North Sea and elsewhere using tankers in various roles within the offshore industry, including Extended Well Tests and FPSOs. This experience has enabled him to interpret and join operational and engineering input throughout his career, but he considers the most important aspect for such a multi-discipline project as VIP is to be able to take a step back to keep the bigger picture in view.

AMEC in the North Sea AMEC IS relatively well known in Aberdeen where our oil and gas headquarters are based. With origins in the UK stretching back 140 years, AMEC today employs about 23,000 in 40 countries across the world with about 4,000 people in its European oil and gas operations. Globally AMEC is a leading supplier of high value consultancy, engineering and project management services to the world’s natural resources, nuclear, clean energy, water and environmental sectors. AMEC designs, delivers and maintains strategic and complex assets for its customers. AMEC’s oil and gas services include conceptual field development planning, through to front end engineering design (FEED) and on to full project delivery. With op-

erations across the world, much of the global expertise has its origins in the North Sea. AMEC has over 40 years experience in the North Sea, in fact almost right back to its beginnings. We have engineered more than 550,000 tonnes of offshore facilities and fabricated, project managed and installed more than half of all the existing facilities in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS). AMEC prides itself on being able to provide the highest calibre of personnel and the consistently excellent project delivery capabilities. Our aim is to be the best contractor to our customers, the best customer to our suppliers and the most proactive and supportive partner in the communities in which we operate.

Offshore Technology January 2011

As our life of asset services continue to evolve, a broader portfolio of customers has led to a new and wider set of services focused on delivering innovative concepts and designs, performance improvement, value and cost efficiency to our customers. We provide a full range of asset development and asset support services from consultancy and design, right through to engineering, construction, installation, operations, maintenance and decommissioning. We also offer niche services which differentiate our mainstream capabilities such as production optimisation, advanced engineering and duty holder services to clients in the oil & gas market sector. AMEC is the Duty Holder on Fairfield Energy’s Dunlin cluster of oilfield production facilities lo-

In Brief

cated in the North Sea. Recent projects range from the unique Gateway Gas Storage development through to the world scale Ichthys project for INPEX offshore Australia which is being engineered in London. As part of our offshore global agreement with BP we are working on both Clair Ridge in the North Sea and Tubular Bells/ Kodiak in the Gulf of Mexico. We are providing detailed engineering and procurement for ConocoPhillips' existing Judy platform and the hook-up and commissioning of their new Jasmine facilities in the North Sea. To find out more about AMEC visit amec.com

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FLNG

The World FLNG Market Report 2011-2017, published by energy industry analysts DouglasWestwood, points a positive future for this cutting edge technology. Here, report authors Lucy Miller and Ian Jones explain their thinking

The world’s LNG market is strong. Courtesy: Shell

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Spending boost for FLNG terminals n recent years the awareness of the FLNG sector has grown rapidly and the sector is presently enjoying a very high profile. In many regions we are seeing that floating regasification units continue to be sanctioned and the various floating liquefaction systems are progressing well through the design and engineering process. Australia and South East Asia will be key areas of focus for the sector and it is clear there are many players evaluating the technology with an intention to deploy. For some remote stranded gas assets it will be the only technically feasible option, for others there are additional benefits to in terms of better flexibility, reduced lead times and even cost savings.

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FLNG liquefaction Despite the recent surge of interest, FLNG liquefaction is

not a new idea, the concept having existed in some capacity since the 1950s when a LNG plant was installed on a river barge in Louisiana. Since the 1970s conceptual studies have taken place to try and utilse this technology in offshore situations but these studies did not see further development. Moving liquefaction technology offshore presents a number of design challenges compared to conventional hydrocarbon production and transportation which, were in the past favoured by energy companies. However, in recent years, the rising global demand for gas has caused many energy companies to refocus their attention on the development of their gas reserves. Long-term global gas demand fundamentals remain strong with the

IEA forecasting annual growth of natural gas supply to average 1.7% from 2009 to 2030. By 2030, natural gas is expected to account for 23% of total worldwide primary energy supply, much of which will be transported in as LNG. Vast gas reserves are located far from any existing infrastructure such as pipelines and gas processing facilities therefore making the construction of onshore LNG terminals often unfeasible. The Timor Sea Joint Petroleum Development Area, is an excellent example of this, as subsea pipelines to the nearest shore (in this case Timor-Leste) would have to cross the Timor Trench, which reaches a depth of 3,300m (10,800 ft) at its deepest point. FLNG has been seen as a potential solution to this problem and many fields in this area such as Prelude and Greater Sunrise have been identified as possible FLNG vessel locations. FLNG liquefaction has also been seen as a potential solution to the problem of associated gas – that which is produced during oil exploration and production. In areas where there is little infrastructure for the gas it has traditionally been re-injected or flared, which is extremely wasteful as well as damaging to the environment. Mid-size FLNG vessels (1-3 mmtpa) are seen as a

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viable solution to the utilisation of these smaller quantities of gas.

Design challenges As mentioned previously, moving liquefaction technology offshore creates design challenges, particularly regarding the reduction in size or ‘footprint’ of the necessary liquefaction or regasification process equipment in order that it can be accommodated on a vessel. Other challenges include the use of specific containment and offloading systems.

Containment systems Sloshing, which occurs when the ship’s motion causes a violent liquid motion in the tanks, is a major problem in the storage of liquefied gas and is heighten when the vessel is partially full. Single row membrane-type containment systems, which are found on over half of the current LNG Carrier fleet, are particularly vulnerable to sloshing damage and therefore are mostly unsuitable for situations where the vessels spent a large amount of time partially loaded, such as FLNG liquefaction terminals. The Kvaerner-Moss Spherical containment system is also seen by most designers as unsuitable for FLNG liquefaction applications as it limits deck space which is needed for the all important topsides. Potential FLNG liquefaction vessel designers are increasingly moving away from existing systems mentioned above to either IHI’s prismatic SPB, which is currently operational on two small LNG carriers, or to new containment systems that are designed specifically with FLNG applications in mind such as the double-row membrane system or Sevan Marine’s LNG FPSO containment system. These systems are sloshing resistant and offer a flat deck space. However, both single-row

Australasia and Asia remains the focus of FLNG liquefaction projects. Courtesy: Shell

membrane and spherical-type containment systems have been successfully used on FLNG regasfication vessels. These vessels are often located in sheltered ports such as Bahia Blanca in Argentina, Pecém, Brazil and Teesside in the UK where weather and ocean conditions are less severe than the open sea. The deck space required for regasification equipment is also, much lower than for liquefaction which allows FLNG regasification developers such as Golar LNG to convert their spherical-type LNG carriers to floating, storage, regasification units (FSRUs).

Offloading systems Ship to ship transfer is currently one of the least proven technologies in the LNG Industry and therefore is the focus of much research, design and testing. Most of the operational floating regasification terminals use loading arms, similar to those that have been used at onshore terminals for more than 40 years. However, side-by-side offloading, which is likely to be the most common use of loading arms in offshore situations, has its problems. Sea states of more than approx. 2.5m significant wave height are likely to make this type of offloading impossible. In areas where such sea states prevail a different solution is required. An alternative offloading

Offshore Technology January 2011

system is a cryogenic hose which are designed to be used in hostile sea conditions make it harder to use loading arms. The first transfer of LNG between two vessels using cryogenic hoses took place at the Teesside GasPort in 2007 and since then this emerging technology has been the focus of much research and development.

Market forecasts

FLNG regasification

Conclusions

FLNG regasfication, already a proven technology with nine operational terminals in Argentina, Brazil, Dubai, Kuwait, the UK and the USA, is fast becoming the solution of choice for countries which desire fast-track or temporary import solutions. While onshore terminals still retain their comparative advantage when larger import capacities and storage is required, FLNG’s advantages lie in its quick lead-times and flexibility. Focus areas for FLNG regasification terminal development include South East Asia, parts of the Middle East and Latin America. The cost and construction time advantages are proving alluring even in countries such as India and China, which have traditionally favoured onshore development solutions. Indonesia, with its stranded gas fields and rapidly growing cities, is a focus for both floating liquefaction and regasification terminals.

Within the last year, interest in FLNG (both liquefaction and regasification) has grown substantially, a trend which is likely to continue over the next seven years. Commitment from majors such as Shell in the groundbreaking floating liquefaction sector serves as an indicator of the confidence in the future of the FLNG industry. Australasia and Asia remains the focus of FLNG liquefaction projects, largely due to the number of stranded gas fields in region as well as concerns over gas flaring. FLNG regasification projects are focused on countries which experience or are expecting to experience gas supply shortages and therefore need fasttrack projects in order to meet this increased demand.

DWL forecast $28 billion to be spent on FLNG facilities over the 2011 to 2017 period. Despite a large number of FLNG regasification projects, the vast majority of this capital expenditure will be spent on liquefaction terminals as Capex associated with a floating liquefaction terminal is more than triple that of a typical floating import terminal.

Further information is available at www.dw-1.com. The authors can be contacted via publications@dw-1.com or +44 1227 780999.

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UK Subsea’s Alistair Birnie

Subsea

Subsea 2011 n impressive line-up of the UK’s leading subsea industry figures will take to the podium at this year’s Subsea 2011 conference starting Wednesday, 9 February. Europe’s largest conference and exhibition for the subsea industry which takes place on the 9 and 10 February 2011 at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre will focus on the theme of Global Connections. Frank Bee, head of subsea at Shell, Ross Kinnear, head of subsea at BP and Colin Welsh, chief executive officer at Simmons & Company International will kick-off the conference proceedings with a look to the future of the sector and how its prosperity can be secured. Sponsored by Shell, the conference will cover a wide range of topics including major global projects, health, safety and environmental issues, innovation, operating strategies and legislation, skills development, recruitment and retentions, integrity, reliability and obsolescence. Other speakers will include Halfdan Knudesn, head of fast

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track projects in development and production Norway for Statoil; Mark Rae, senior market analyst at ODS Petrodata; Bill Donaldson, Scotland/North England Manager of Quest Offshore Resources; Jim Britton, chief executive officer of Deepwater EU; Steven Rossiter, senior engineer with BPP-TECH, Mark Stone, head of integrity support services at Sonomatic; Ron Cookson, managing director of Technip UK Ltd; Paul Simons, sales director at Subsea 7 and Mark McAllister of OSPRAG who will examine the UKCS response to Macondo. In a session on opportunities in alternative energy, Ian Innes, project manager at SSE Renewables will be joined by James Young, technical director at JDR Cables and Stephen Auld, managing director of Coda Octopus. Leading the discussion on ‘Decommissioning’ will be Decom North Sea’s chief executive Brian Nixon, Jason Tisdall, managing director of Fugro GRL and Proserv Offshore’s decommissioning manager, Kenny Anderson along with Stuart

Wordsworth of Interact Projects and Simon Davies of Veolia. Alistair Birnie, Subsea UK chief executive, said: “Every year we set out to deliver a thought-provoking, stimulating conference which covers the key areas on which we need to concentrate in order to see the subsea sector flourish. “This year we have an array of high profile, experienced and passionate speakers whose expertise, knowledge and pragmatic approach will benefit all delegates from across the supply chain. The parallel session will allow for smaller groups to debate the issues facing the sector in a more meaningful way.” Alongside the conference, Subsea UK will host the fifth annual subsea awards dinner to celebrate the excellence, innovation and outstanding achievements generated across the sector. Sponsored by Brewin Dolphin, the sell-out dinner will feature keynote speaker Lord Digby Jones and recognise the achievements of individuals and companies of all sizes to an audience of over 700 people. To register or attend log on to www.subsea2011.com

NCS supports Nord Stream positioning CS Survey has completed a pipelay support contract for Saipem for the inshore phase of the Nord Stream gas pipelines project in the Baltic Sea. Two vessels were mobilized with the Aberdeen, Scotlandbased NCS Survey’s real-time 3D SVS (subsea visualization system) for touchdown monitoring, operating from the 4-m (13-ft) contour

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at the beach pull-out to the intermediate lay-down locations. Both vessels worked on a 12hr rotation, transmitting continuous live video images and data of the touchdown point to the C10 barge’s engineer, relaying the touchdown position of each pipelines in real-time as they were laid into the pre-excavated trench. In addition, pre-lay and post-

lay surveys were performed, with field charts being completed within 24 hours. During installation of the second pipeline, laid parallel to the first, the barge display was constantly updated to provide the actual position of each of the pipelines in the trench and the separation, DCC (distance cross course) and KP (kilome-

ter point). NCS adds that the SVS enabled the C10 barge engineer to know where the pipelines were laid in real-time. This minimized the risk of the pipelines coming out of the trench, allowing the separation to be managed when laying round bends and near seabed obstructions such as wrecks.

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Scottish centre redevelopment leading commercial diver training centre is to embark on a £5 million improvement and expansion programme. The Underwater Centre in Fort William has been awarded £1.5 million by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to help with the development. The project will create 20 new jobs and safeguard the 53 already at the Centre, as well as increasing diver training capacity by around 100 per year. Finlay Finlayson, of The Underwater Centre, says: “This redevelopment project will improve our existing facilities including the pier infrastructure, a new diver training barge and various other training amenities at the Centre. This will undoubtedly give us a great platform for future growth in Fort William. With a growing oil and gas industry and a new

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TUC vessels and pier

TUC students in an electronics and engineering workshop

focus on marine renewables, improving the training for divers and ROV pilots is going to be fundamental for us to take real advantage of these opportunities. This is the largest investment we have ever undertaken and we are grateful for the support of HIE.” The Centre was purchased by current owner Finlay Fin-

layson in 2004 and has successfully established itself as a leading player in the commercial diver training market. In operation since the 1970s, its main focus has traditionally been on the oil and gas sector but with the growing importance of marine renewables, including offshore wind, the Centre's focus is evolving to reflect this in its training offer. As well as commercial diver training courses for both air and mixed gas diving, The Underwater Centre also undertakes Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) training and sea trials.

Alex Paterson, HIE Chief Executive added; “The development of The Underwater Centre is vital if the Highlands & Islands are to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the marine renewable sector. This is a great example of a locallybased company showing the ambition to be world-leading.” The Underwater Centre offers a full range of diving and ROV training for both new entrants and for subsea personnel wanting to develop their skills further. It is also one of only three centres in the world to offer closed bell diver training.

The UK’s leading manufacturer of hydrographic and oceanographic instrumentation. s4IDE'AUGES s7AVE2ECORDERS s#URRENT-ETERS s%CHO3OUNDERS"ATHYMETRY

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Offshore Technology January 2011

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Researching the future for the subsea industry he National Subsea Research Institute (NSRI) was created in January 2009 as collaboration between Subsea UK, the trade association for the subsea business in the UK, and Newcastle University, the University of Aberdeen, Robert Gordon University and the University of Dundee. A notfor-profit company, its purpose is to develop a nationally co-ordinated strategic programme for next generation subsea and underwater technology. Since its creation, NSRI has recruited 22 major company members from across the oil and gas supply chain. Together both partners and members have been working to review the major technical challenges facing the future of the subsea industry - a globally competitive sector of great importance to the UK economy, with an important cluster of subsea-focussed businesses located in the North East of England. According to Subsea UK, the global market share for UK subsea companies is around 20%. But with a trend in the

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subsea oil and gas industry towards seabed developments, the global opportunities over the next few years are forecast to increase to around £41 billion. In order to embrace this and position the UK as the global leader in subsea innovation, strategic investment in technology R&D is vital. Based on the strong engineering base, a history of innovation for the North Sea, and a track record of excellence in project management and skills development, the UK is well placed to seize this opportunity. Subsea technology development tends to be dominated by the requirements of the offshore oil and gas industry, technologies are equally transferrable to other offshore areas, especially the growing marine renewables sector and the ocean science fraternity, in which the UK excels. These are global markets, and new innovative ideas, services and products clearly provide opportunities for local businesses working in the sector. Through NSRI, the partner universities are leading with

new fundamental scientific and engineering research to address the principal challenges facing the industry. Especially: Step change improvement in reliability and integrity performance and management; Stronger and lighter materials for subsea applications; Autonomous and self-configuring subsea control systems; Locally generated subsea power.

at The Diver University of Brazil says: “As an ongoing effort to improve training and standardise the competence of Brazilian professionals, we have formed a partnership with one of the leading subsea training centres in the world, the National Hyperbaric Centre. With

this partnership, we will be able to run the courses held in Aberdeen at the Diver University in Brazil”. The first courses are due to commence in February, with the Air Diving Supervisor being the first, followed by the NHC’s Client Representative course.

Academics across a range of disciplines at Newcastle University, are looking towards new research ideas in sensor development and sensor networks; composite materials, subsea energy harvesting and applications of mathematical and computational modelling to produce ground breaking solutions that will deliver a step change impact on behalf of the industry. This will allow future subsea projects to lead the way in technological innovation, delivering solutions that will extend the life of existing subsea assets, particularly in the North Sea.

NHC training he National Hyperbaric Centre (NHC) of Aberdeen has recently signed an agreement with the Diver University of Brazil to provide a range of Subsea training courses under an International Marine Contractors Association (IMCA) approved scheme. The joint

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venture will see the NHC in conjunction with the Diver University deliver Diving Supervisor and Life Support courses in South America, translated into Portuguese, issuing students with NHC certificates, recognised by IMCA. Rafael De Nicola, director

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Paul Jukes

Key technical issues of the international offshore industry are discussed with Paul Jukes, President of MCS Kenny, Chairman of the US Gulf Coast Branch of IMarEST, President – Americas Division of IMarEST and Vice President of IMarEST Worldwide

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Rising connections he use of FPSOs in increasingly demanding environments and the need to extend service life and maximise operating conditions is changing the way engineering companies are approaching the market”, says Dr. Paul Jukes, President of MCS Kenny in Houston, Texas. Increasing demands on riser systems from the viewpoint of design feasibility, operability, installability, disconnectability, redundancy, vessel compatibility and riser management during operations is a key R&D interest of MCS Kenny, one of the world’s largest riser consultancies. MCS Kenny is part of international energy services Wood Group, and is increasingly working with sister companies within the group, including Houston-based Mustang (facilities engineering); J P Kenny (pipeline and subsea engineering and management contractors) and MSi Kenny (flow assurance and process optimisation). “We are aiming to create a seamless, integrated team within Wood Group,” commented MCS Kenny. The team recently completed a significant subsea project in the GoM for one of the major operators. Additionally, MCS Kenny is also one of the leading Certified Verification Agent (CVA) engineering consultancies, having worked over 20 CVA projects in the GoM. Elsewhere, MCS Kenny is actively looking into the ways of extracting the millions of barrels

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Dr. Paul Jukes

of hydrocarbons currently lying under the permafrost and ice of the Arctic regions (see pg 20). “Ice gouging, permafrost, ice mechanics, materials for pipelines, pipeline installation, and pipeline trenching are all key issues in which MCS Kenny has an interest,” says Jukes, for example, the design approach to harsh environment disconnectable riser systems differs significantly from traditional riser design. Turning his attention to the hot topic of exploration and production in ultra-deepwater waters of 10,000ft or greater, Jukes says that greater industry understanding of and investment in thermal buckle management strategies (sleepers, buoyancy etc) and Advanced Finite Element Analysis would save millions of dollars in engineering development. Looking at the coming five years, there are several key issues that need to be addressed and resolved by the industry. Jukes expects MCS Kenny to be working on solving and optimising many of these chal-

lenges. He and MCS engineers expect the company to be confronted with handling deeper draft spars—current design limited by dry tow vessel and transportation loads, although this is currently a shipyard location dependent issue. “We also see encouraging growth in the development of hybrid riser systems, flexible pipe,” he says. “The thorny issue of dry tree semisubmersibles with tensioned risers - remains to be solved with respect to riser/hull interface,” says Jukes, adding to the list. Other key challenges include dry tree riser hydro-pneumatic tensioner limitations (strokes) on semisubs and spar. TLP hulls capable of full drilling rig capacity and drilling development wells, with fatigue-capable drilling riser technology, are expected to be developed within the coming couple of years,” says Jukes. Also, TTR (top-tensioned riser) production riser threaded and coupled connections rated to 15,000 psi is another landmark technology, that while currently out of reach is a key target for the subsea industry. As part of the Wood Group organisation, and along with his company’s new Naval Architecture and Riser Delivery Group, as well as its interest in pushing R&D of subsea risers, Jukes is confident that MCS Kenny is in the right place to contribute significantly to the needs and demands of the offshore industry.

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Patents

Can offshore ideas and innovations be protected or must they be thrown overboard? By Charles Knobloch, JD, PG

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Intellectual property approaches It takes a lot of innovation to make things happen offshore. Simplicity and cleverness are many times the difference between success and failure. With limited resources offshore, and high costs to deploy even simple devices, ideas drive the non-commercial to commercial. The problem with offshore innovations, however, is that it is a big world out there and few seek to adequately protect innovations while in the idea, development, or even manufacturing stage. It is often too late to protect an idea once it is proven commercially successful. This article addresses a few ways to economically manage idea protection for offshore innovations. One of the perplexing issues with technology developed for use offshore is that the technology will be used around the world under many different legal jurisdictions. There is no such thing as an “international patent”, but there are mechanisms to coordinate patent and/or trademark protection in multiple countries. The other problem is that the early stages of an idea are when the value of an idea is most uncertain. Seeking patent protection can be very costly for ideas that do not ultimately generate commercial return. However, most coun-

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Houston-based geoscientist and attorney Charles Knobloch

tries are “first-to-file” countries – meaning an application has to be on file before the invention is used, sold, or made publically known. A few countries, including the United States, provide inventors with a one-year grace period in which to file their applications. This creates a balancing-act: how to select those ideas being developed by employees that may be worth protecting and that fit the company’s commercial strategic direction -- without wasting money. Part of this balancing act includes whether to seek patent and/or trademark protection and, if so, to what extent and in which

countries. Another approach looks at innovation and protection in a different way. A portfolio approach is used to overcome innovation and protection barriers. A strategic innovation discipline is created and managed. This discipline uses active and continual refocusing of development efforts back to the larger commercial goals – essentially defining invention and protection goals even before the inventions are made. In this way, protection strategies are integrated into – and influence – the development process. Regardless of the source or method of innovation, there are strategic and tactical options for those innovations worthy of seeking protection. In many countries, the Patent Cooperation Treaty provides a way to keep open the option of filing for patent protection in those Treaty countries. A single “international” filing is made, but the selection and filing in specific countries is deferred for many months, typically two and one-half years. The “international” filing never itself becomes a patent, but does provide a way to get an early filing date. One interesting protection strategy involves the use of a United States statute. If even a portion of the patented invention is “supplied” from the

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United States, it may create an infringement enforceable in the United States. The two situations are: (1) Whoever without authority supplies or causes to be supplied in or from the United States all or a substantial portion of the components of a patented invention, where such components are uncombined in whole or in part, in such manner as to actively induce the combination of such components outside of the United States in a manner that would infringe the patent if such combination occurred within the United States, shall be liable as an infringer. (2) Whoever without authority supplies or causes to be supplied in or from the United States any component of a patented invention that is es-

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pecially made or especially adapted for use in the invention and not a staple article or commodity of commerce suitable for substantial noninfringing use, where such component is uncombined in whole or in part, knowing that such component is so made or adapted and intending that such component will be combined outside of the United States in a manner that would infringe the patent if such combination occurred within the United States, shall be liable as an infringer. The statutory basis for this is found in 35 U.S.C. 271(f). Although some Courts have limited its use in certain situations (such as those including process patents or copies of software), this statute, however, remains a useful tool for

both protection and assertion in a wide range of other circumstances. This short article is just a hint of the possibilities available in developing an intellectual property strategy to protect offshore innovations. The important message is that protection strategies can be developed early in the development process, even if your technology will be cast into the far reaches of the world.

Charles Knobloch is a professional geoscientist and US intellectual property attorney with over thirty years experience in the oil & gas industry, over twenty of those years with Conoco. He is on the Program Committee for the Houstonbased Offshore Technology

Conference and Chairs their OTC-SEG committee. He was on the steering committee for the Society of Petroleum Engineers – Subsea Facilities Management Advanced Technology Workshop, holds the DuPont Engineering Excellence Award, and was member of the multiindustry team that developed a new method of drilling deep water wells on the seafloor, now being implemented by Chevron. He provides executive and upper management support, including deployment of his “Lost Secrets of Edison” technology commercialization program. He is partner at Arnold & Knobloch, LLP (www.aklaw.com), a US patent and intellectual property firm that specializes in strategic positioning of intellectual property around the world.

and gas companies and national oil companies – and even cooperation across industries.” Deloitte also states that the boom in unconventional natural gas is a game-changing event that is likely to continue in the short-term. However, its impact may not be as loud or as long as first anticipated, due to the increase in environmental activism based on government investiga-

tions into the hazIn Brief ards of hydraulic fracturing. Greater governmental oversight of all types of energy production is predicted for the year ahead. “The recent series of environmental, health and safety incidents in the oil and gas industry will likely result in increased scrutiny,” concluded Sheils.

About the author

Deloitte predicts a year of change THE EMERGING CIS and Indian markets and technologydriven E&P operations will be prominent in driving the energy sector in 2011, according to year-ahead predictions by business advisory firm Deloitte. The energy sector is likely to continue to experience challenging conditions in 2011, despite signs that the global economic downturn is beginning to ease. For those in the service sector, further down the supply chain, an uplift in activity may not be entirely visible until later in 2011. While we may expect an increasing focus on solar energy this should not detract from other natural energy sources and may aid momentum for development of renewable energy. “Obviously energy is pivotal in driving the global economy,” said Graeme Sheils, oil and gas partner at Deloitte in Aberdeen. “The oil price can be viewed as a simple yet unified measure of economic recovery,

the strength and sustainability of recovery will impact the ways in which all forms of energy are produced and consumed.” Deloitte also expect to see further technological advances in E&P operations. The recent series of environmental, health, and safety incidents in the oil and gas industry are likely to result in greater governmental oversight of all types of energy production. “Out of necessity, oil and gas companies have exhibited greater flexibility and adaptability to the shifting global economics and aggressive fluctuations in demand, production and price,” added Sheils. “At no time in the past have the complexities of exploration in remote, deep and geographically challenging locations been as arduous. “The expertise and costs required to address these challenges result in joint ventures, consolidation and joint developments between independent oil

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Access

Helicopter access in due time for crew change is crucial for many Offshore Support Vessels, and at times, delays represent a significant cost driver. Increasing the weather window available for safe landing and take-off, will have a direct impact on operational efficiency of many types of OSV

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Increased uptime through motion compensation An artist’s impression of the Uptime Gangway

wo Norwegian companies Marine Aluminium AS and TTS Energy have teamed up to create the Uptime Alliance, a technology and marketing collaboration aiming to boost efficiency and safety for offshore vessels and marine installations. Helicopter landing is one of the most safety critical operations offshore. Access to offshore installations by air is restricted, and marine weather conditions are a significant cost driver in the offshore business as it often causes an unacceptable operational environment and thereby costly downtime. Motion compensation technology has for many years been a valuable contributor in downtime reduction and operation efficiency of daily tasks in a marine and unstable environment with adverse weather and excessive motions. Any activity at sea is influenced by wave motion. Often weather conditions are adverse and important operations, such as transfer of personnel from a vessel to a fixed installation, becomes challenging and potentially dangerous when carried out under conditions with reasonably high seas. Compulsory safety requirements mean that in the North Sea at present, only a small degree of motion results

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in the activity being suspended and the task being postponed until the seas are calmer. As a result, it often takes a disproportionate amount of time to complete many of the daily tasks performed in a maritime environment. Ultimately this has a significant effect on the operators’ profitability, in addition to creating a negative environmental effect and increasing the cost of the energy produced offshore.

Partnership The Haugesund-based company Marine Aluminium has long expertise of manufacturing aluminium products and is a global market leader on marine helidecks and telescopic gangways for the offshore segment. TTS Energy has a unique technology base within advanced operation and extensive experience in development of motion compensation systems. Through the TTS Group,

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Uptime Helideck installed on a Ramform vessel

they have a worldwide service network. On this platform of complementary expertise and solid experience, the companies are forming a technology and marketing cooperation. Uptime Alliance will develop and market solid and cost effective solutions that increase safety, accessibility and uptime for offshore installations and vessels.

On the helideck The alliance offers two unique systems – the Uptime Helideck and Uptime Gangway. The world’s only motion compensated helideck Uptime Helideck utilises real-time control technology to keep the helideck steady relative to the helicopter, and safe landing is possible under conditions where the vessel would otherwise be moving too much. So far the patented system has been delivered to two of newest and most advanced vessels of the seismic company

Petroleum Geo-Services, PGS, namely Ramform Sovereign and Ramform Explorer. Uptime Helideck is compatible with all types of helidecks, and will now be introduced worldwide.

Active Roll Compensation The ARC system for helidecks is actually the helideck support structure. A conventional helideck of 28x28 metres is mounted on a sturdy frame with a horizontal rail system. This frame is connected with the main support structure. It runs on boogies and based on input from the Motion Reference Unit and controlled by the control system, it is moved back and forth with two linear compensators with a stroke length of 4.4 meters. The Uptime Helideck removes the y-motion in the xyplane projection of the vessels 3Degrees of Freedom (roll movement). Various sensors

An Uptime Helideck installed on the Ramform Singapore

Access for Qatari GTL OFFSHORE SOLUTIONS, the joint venture In Brief between AMEC and Cofely Nederland, has commenced operations of its Offshore Access System (OAS) to support personnel transfer to and from the offshore component of the Pearl Gas to Liquids (GTL) project in Qatar. Pearl GTL, the world’s largest GTL plant, is being jointly developed by Qatar Petroleum (QP) and Shell. OSBV, which completed sea trials in December, was awarded the contract by Qatar Shell GTL Ltd for three years, with an option to extend the contract for a further two years. This is the first GTL facility that OSBV has supported. The OAS is fitted onboard the Bourbon Gulf Star, a DP2, IBC* Type 2 platform supply vessel that will be used to transfer personnel to and from the plant’s two wellhead platforms to execute operations and maintenance work. The OAS will remain connected when personnel are onboard the platforms. The contract was awarded based on the OAS’ proven technology, safety record and the potential to increase operational efficiency, said the company. Operating since early 2006, the company has achieved over 5,500 operational connections and in excess of 67,000 personnel transfers without any safety or environmental incidents. Bourbon Gulf Star

give input on the actual position of the system at any given time. As vessels are different some initial considerations have to be done to modify and adapt the system/support frame to the specific vessel type. The Helideck has weight of approx. 80 tons, has a maximum velocity of 1.6 m and will compensate for vessel movement up till max 5 degrees.

Walking the gangway Uptime Gangway is an active motion compensated telescopic gangway in aluminium, especially designed to facilitate access between vessels and

Offshore Technology January 2011

fixed installations, such as offshore windmills and oil rigs. In addition to these solutions, the Uptime Alliance offers regulation advisory services, engineering services, operations, maintenance, modification, upgrading, installation and other services within expert control, training and certification relating to these products. The Alliance’s services and products will continuously be developed to meet requirements of customers within offshore and shipping, as well as offshore windmill parks, say the companies. www.uptime-alliance.no

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LETS (Life Extension of Technical Structures) Global has since 2005 been solving structural integrity challenges in the offshore industry. Here LETS’ Malcolm Hedmar (malcolm.hedma r@letsglobal.com) explains the process of peening, as the company expands in Brazil

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Ultrasonic peening focuses heat on steel ETS Global uses its own developed and approved ultrasonic peening procedure to treat fatigue hot-spots on offshore installations. As a result the company has effectively been extending the service life of offshore installations on the North-Sea and Gulf of Mexico and due to the level of expertise which they have gathered they expanded their services to Brazil this year. Ultrasonic peening, might sounds a lot like Ultrasonic Testing, which tends to mislead people into thinking that its some kind of inspection method. In fact, ultrasonic reefers to the utilised frequency, which happens to be in the ultrasonic spectrum which starts at 20 KHz, and the verb peening is derived from the hardened steel peen which works the steel surface. So when performing ultrasonic peening, a hardend steel peen is oscillated or hammered against a weld-toe or steel surface at 20,000 times per second.

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The procedure So what does it do? Well the LETS Global ultrasonic peening method can be broken down into two main aspects: both aspects occur simultaneously. The first aspect is the groove formation at the weld-

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toe; all uneven geometrical features of the weld toe will be removed with the oscillating peen. When the peen is pushed against and along the weld toe a groove will be formed, the peen hammers the steel surface at such a high rate that the grove seemingly effortless is created. As the grove is made, the uneven geometrical features and crack-like flaws in the weld-toe region will be removed. After the procedure this groove will have a radius of >2mm. The groove serves as a excellent transition between the deck plate and the weld, and it therefore very beneficial for the stress flow at the weld toe region. The second aspect is the redistribution of residual stresses. Because the hammering has such small amplitude a shallow layer close to the metal surface will get compressed, this without removing too much material. As a result a layer with compressive stresses will form. Underneath the compressive layer a neutral layer will form. These two layers are created by the procedure and therefore the harmful tensile stresses will effectively be removed from the treated area. Tensile stresses play a big role in crack initiation during high cycle fatigue. Thus using the Global Ultrasonic Peening Procedure you have the removal of crack-

like flaws, creation of a smooth transition between deck-plate and weld, a removal of tensile stresses and introduction of compressive stresses. This formula equals a tremendous improvement in endurance when it comes to high cycle fatigue, found in every structure on the sea; including FPSO’s, TLP’s, SPAR. In (conservative) numbers the LETS Global ultrasonic peening procedure will make a welded attachment last 4 times longer than an untreated fatigue hot-spot. Since the improvement of this procedure is so significant installations in the North-Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Brazil are starting to make more and more use of it.

Limitations All this might seem too good to be true. Well, as with any new method there will be limitations and obstacles. The procedure will only be significantly beneficial if the welds selected for the procedure is full penetration. Since only the surface of the weld and weldtoe is effected by the treatment a fillet weld will be left with a weak untreated area; the root. So the crack initiation at a fillet weld will start at the root instead of the weld-toe; limiting the full benefit of the method. The second obstacle is finding the location for the treat-

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Peening in action

ment. The method is more cost effective if the fatigue hot-spots in the structure have been located. Having said this LETS Global has gained a considerable amount of experience in this area, so finding the hotspots is more like a finding an elephant in a haystack than a needle.

FPSO structural integrity FPSO-operators face a tough challenge; safeguard the structural integrity of the installation without disrupting the production of the installation. In the past structural integrity enhancement often meant adding steel to the structure. In essence putting more steel in a structure as an attempt to solve a weak spot is a bit like repairing a rubber hose with a steel pipe; it will fix the leakage but it will also create breaking points at the two ends of the steel pipe. As

many FPSO’s originate from tanker hulls, they are designed to move with the waves. If steel is added to one section, it becomes stiffer. The stiffer section will most likely not fail, but the around located sections will become more vulnerable for fatigue cracking. Ideally one would want to strengthen the weakest points of the vessel but without altering the stiffness of the vessel. This is exactly was the LETS Global Ultrasonic Peening Procedure does. In many ways an offshore structure is like a chain; the structure is no better than its weakest link. So if you can increase the strength of the weakest link, you will increase the durability of the whole chain, or in this case offshore installation. The LETS Global Ultrasonic Peening Procedure has been used successfully on FPSOs.

Offshore Technology January 2011

One of the main reasons for this is that the procedure does not interrupt the production of the rig as the procedure does not produce any heat. Fatigue hot-spots which can be found in ballast tanks, cargo tanks and on pallet-stool brackets can limit the service life of FPSO’s. If ultrasonic peening is applied before cracks have started to initiate it is a very powerful tool to safeguard the future integrity of the structure without disrupting the production of the rig. It is a win-win case since the ultrasonic peening is far cheaper than conventional hot-work.

Effect on the industry Weld-repair and/or strengthening offshore structures with extra welded steel have always been tricky business and most of all expensive. When strengthening an installation which is already in serv-

ice by adding additional steel, the rigidness of the structure will change, leaving the unmodified section of the structure more likely to develop fatigue hot-spots. The real advantage of the ultrasonic peening procedure is that if it is used pro-active things such as weld-repair is a thing of the past; as strengthening is done without affecting the rigidness of the installation. Another big advantage is that the method does not disrupt the production of the rig. The structural integrity of a producing or drilling installation should not be the limitation of an asset; it should not be a prime concern for an operator. The operator should focus on the goal; pumping or drilling. Thus using a service such as LETS Global with its in-house trained Ultrasonic Peening Technicians, service life of any offshore installation can be extended.

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Events Diary

SUBSEA AUSTRALASIA 23 – 25 February Perth, Australia More than 500 delegates are set to converge on Perth to discuss the latest commercial and technical developments impacting the fast-growing subsea industry for the 2011 Subsea Australasia Conference. A joint initiative between Subsea Energy Australia, Subsea UK, the Society for Underwater Technology and the Australasian Oil & Gas Exhibition (AOG), the conference will feature a packed program of seminars led by a diverse mix of local and overseas speakers. www.subseaconference.com.au

FUNDAMENTALS OF SUBSEA ENGINEERING 26 January 09 February 2011 Organiser: IBC Global Academy The IBC Subsea Engineering programme explains how subsea oil and gas production is possible by examining the fundamental concepts, equipment, technologies and systems involved in drilling for deepwater oil and gas, and bringing it to the surface for storage and offloading. www.ibcglobalacademy.com/LR0 070BA401

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Exchanging views at a conference at the AECC © UK Oil & Gas

OFFSHORE PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY SUMMIT

SUBSEA 2011

30 January 1 February London Organiser: World Trade Group As economies now recover across the globe, offshore oil and gas companies are expected to resume previously stalled projects creating the need for new and innovative technical solutions to overcome challenges such as remote fields, strong and unpredictable currents, unusual sea beds and hazard and safety concerns. For more information contact Richard Jones, Marketing Manager for more information at Richard.jones@wtgevents.com

9 – 10 February Aberdeen, UK Last year at Subsea 2010, over a hundred exhibitors drew in thousands of visitors from around the globe to the largest annual subsea event in the world, and a further 750 people attended the Business Awards Dinner. This February, at Subsea 2011, it's going to be even bigger, says organizer Subsea UK. The conference is one of the key points of interest this year. With a focus on variety, we'll be covering a wide range of topics in order to broaden the appeal to delegates, with parallel sessions on a range of key aspects of all things subsea. www.subsea2011.com

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ARCTIC OIL & GAS NORTH AMERICA CONFERENCE 27 – 29 April Krasnapolsky Hotel, Amsterdam Organiser: IBC Energy

METOCEAN AWARENESS COURSE 22 - 24 March Houston, Texas, USA Organisers - IMarEST and the Society for Underwater Technology Information

NIGERIA OIL & GAS (NOG 11) 21 - 24 February International Convention Centre (ICC), Abuja, Nigeria Organiser: The CWC Group

UNCONVENTIONAL GAS ABERDEEN 2011 1 - 2 March Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre, Aberdeen, Scotland

Under the patronage of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Ministry of Energy, NOG is now established as the largest and most senior oil and gas event in Nigeria and West Africa. In its 11th successful year under the patronage of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Ministry of Energy, NOG welcomes over 7000 participants annually and is firmly established as the largest and most prestigious Oil and Gas event in Nigeria and West Africa. The 2010 event was opened by the President Goodluck Jonathan and the prestige of the event continues to grow every year.

As natural gas is poised to be the bridge between today’s oil-based economies and tomorrow’s sustainable energy sources, investment in “unconventional” gas sources worldwide has reached unprecedented levels. The inaugural Unconventional Gas Aberdeen Conference will be a unique event addressing issues central to the growth in international unconventional gas developments covering Shale Gas, Tight Gas and Coal bed methane. A number of internationally prestigious speakers will address delegates over the two days and Lord Browne of Madingley, former Chief Executive of BP and current Partner and Managing Director, Riverstone Holdings LLC, will deliver the closing speech.

www.thecwcgroup.com/nog11upstream.aspx

www.unconventionalgasaberdeen.com

Offshore Technology January 2011

For all offshore industries the effects of meteorology and oceanography (metocean) have a major impact on design and operations. Hurricane Katrina and the associated events of 2005 in the GOM particularly emphasised this, and brought into sharp focus the impact the weather can have on oil industry activities offshore, not only in the Gulf but also elsewhere around the world – indeed, wherever the industry operates. It also highlighted the need for all members of project teams to be more aware of the value of having a better understanding of the implications that weather, waves, currents and water levels can have on their operations and in design. A lack of awareness could result in things going wrong, with serious health and safety and economic consequences. It is therefore appropriate that Houston (Texas, USA) is the venue chosen for the next Metocean Awareness Course in the successful series run by the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST), in association with the Society for Underwater Technology. www.imarest.org/events events@imarest.org Tel +44 (0)20 7382 2600 or +1 713 995 5156

This conference will provide a platform for governments, oil companies, contractors and suppliers to discuss and debate the challenges and opportunities inherent in oil and gas exploration in the Arctic. www.ibcenergy.com/KA0103UP WL

ALL-ENERGY UK 18 - 19 May Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre, Aberdeen, Scotland All-Energy UK is the UK's largest renewable energy exhibition and conference. www.all-energy.co.uk

MARITIME MATRIX 2011 22 - 25 August Cairns Convention Centre, Cairns, Queensland, Australia Technology’s Impact on the Maritime Environment & Future Challenges. Cairns, Australia’s gateway to the Asia Pacific, and home of a strong marine science community, has been chosen as the destination for Maritime Matrix 2011, a major marine engineering science and technology conference and exhibition. It is being organised by the Australian New Zealand and South Pacific (ANZSPAC) and South East Asia Division (SEAD) of the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST). Further details www.maritimematrix.com and from execdirector.anzspac@imarest.net and jenny.seow@imarest.org

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Sand handling system

Jack Davidson (L) Environmental Business Manager for BIS Salamis and Corin Main, Managing Director of Merpro Ltd with RESTORE.

ndustrial services provider BIS Salamis has partnered with topsides process technology company, Merpro Ltd, to launch RESTORE, a sand removal system for the offshore industry. The new system was unveiled at Merpro Ltd’s headquarters in Montrose. The mobile system has a small footprint and allows for online solids removal at operating pressure, eliminating the requirement for production shut down, says the company.

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Deep casing reaming success nnovative casing and completion technology provider Deep Casing Tools has launched its new 5 inch completion reaming tool with a world-first successful application. The Aberdeen-based company’s new 5 inch Turborunner independently-powered high-speed tool was deployed for CNR International in a horizontal application offshore central North Sea. The Turborunne is a completion-compatible reaming tool that aids first time placement of the completion or liners at target depth. Suitable for all rigs and easy to deploy, it reduces risk at depth, time and

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Horizontal completion success

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costs. A 7 inch version of the tool was launched successfully last year, says the company. The 5 inch Turborunner is specifically designed to support smaller open hole completion placement, combines optimised washing with a rotational reaming capability and avoids rotation of the completion string itself. The very low operating pressure is ideally suited for integration with completion systems. In the North Sea project, placement of the liner was seen to be a significant risk due to the stability of the sand shale sequences in the long open hole section. The CNR International drilling team selected

the Turborunner to provide an operational advantage in the event of difficulties in running the liner. The tool was run on a 5,500 foot long 4 1/2” liner into a 6” open hole. Upon reaching planned depth, the tool and the liner were successfully cemented in place. Senior drilling engineer for CNR International Stephen Cameron said: “The Turborunner is a cost- effective solution which greatly enhances the successful running of the liner string in potentially unstable formations, without compromising the well”. Lance Davis, CEO of Deep Casing Tools, said: “This application typifies the challenges faced by the industry brown field opportunities. On one side, the challenge stems from balancing mud weights, particularly in long horizontals, to support the borehole. On the other, the challenge is to deliver what can be an expensive completion to target depth without rotation, premature setting or damage.

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Hamworthy pumps nternational pump manufacturer Hamworthy Svanehøj has launched the first of what will become a new range of combined seawater lift and fire pumps that meet the requirements of the offshore market. The new deepwell seawater lifting pumps and fire pumps ‘DWS’ will be available ranging in capacity from 700 m3/hr to 1700 m3/hr and with a differential pressure up to 180 mlc. The pumps are driven by a dry mounted electric motor in explosion-proof execution, through a pipe stack with transmission shaft and cargo lubricated bearings. These pumps are in addition to in-line Hamworthy pumps already available for seawater lift and firewater applications. “With our strong focus on the offshore industry, it has

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A new range of combined seawater lift and fire pumps

been our overall objective to develop a series of sea water lift and fire pumps that fulfill the requirements of API610 and NFPA-20, secure long Mean Time Between Repair

(MTBR), and reliable and efficient operation,” said Lars Fischer, Offshore Sales Director of Hamworthy Svanehøj. He also said that, initially, the new range of pumps was being aimed at seawater lifting and firefighting, but finds the new pumps can also naturally be used in modified executions for applications involving

New pumps for the offshore sector

chemicals, condensate and liquefied natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas. Other possible applications include CO2 pumping, onshore as well as offshore and onshore oil storage.

Jack-up monitoring he problem of Rack Phase Differential (RPD) for jack up rig operators is eliminated by a brand new monitoring system launched by Monitor Systems Scotland. The Aberdeen based company has developed the RPD M1000 monitoring system to position the three legs of a jack up rig accurately and securely on the seabed. Rack Phase Differential occurs when the legs encounter strong currents or variable, uneven ground such as soft or rocky seabed. Attempting to keep the leg chords even without effective, critical monitoring can cause serious, costly structural

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damage to the legs, racks, girder work and drive machinery. Monitor System’s automatic RPD M1000 monitoring system uses three permanently located daisy wheels engaged precisely into the rack teeth on the three chords of each of the three legs, enabling direct, accurate feedback from the source of any problems. The daisy wheel units cause minimal obstruction and are made from extreme weather coated robust steel and high-grade stainless steel, with all shafts “O” ring sealed to provide long-life reliability. The system is self checking

Offshore Technology January 2011

The first RPD M1000 monitoring system has been fitted to Transocean’s Magellan jack-up rig in the North Sea.

and eliminates human error, having an accuracy of 0.3mm resolution, derived from 32 Bit Absolute Encoders. These are not fitted to the jacking drive pinions, but to the independent daisy wheels, and are therefore unaffected by vibration, shock or lateral leg movement, up to plus or minus 100mm. Critical monitoring data is gathered from all leg chords and fed to a central control console, as well as to local monitors stationed at each chord, giving the operator clearly defined instructions on required RPD corrective actions and featuring auto-shutdown if disregarded.

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Technology Look out for the next issue of Offshore Technology magazine which will include the following in-depth special reports and geographical features  Gulf of Mexico/ OTC  Middle East/ Dubai  Subsea & ROV  Lubricants  Floating Production

Next issue April 2011

News…….profiles ……..new product listings …….and much more Offshore Technology is published by IMarEST, and is dedicated to professionals working in today’s oil & gas industry. If you are not a member of IMarEST and would like to receive your next free copy of Offshore Technology, please email – Stephen.Habermel@imarest.org or complete the coupon below –

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Future proof

Six key technology needs have been identified by industry facilitator ITF

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ITF highlights tech challenges for 2011 enior figures from international oil companies came together from Europe, the USA, Asia Pacific and the Middle East and debated 60 specific technology issues which have now been finalised to six priority challenges for ITF to focus on during 2011: Enhanced Oil Recovery Subsea technologies (including deepwater) Unconventional reservoirs (oil) Ageing assets (including tail-end production) Drilling Well intervention

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A programme of workshops is now being drawn up that will bring members together with the technology developer community at key locations around the globe during 2011 to help drive new groundbreaking technologies. The first will take place in Kuwait on February 7th on Enhanced Oil Recovery. Neil Poxon, Managing Director of ITF said: “Our members seriously debated the big issues they are facing in safely extracting hydrocarbon reserves and it is clear there are some very pressing technology needs for 2011. We will be announcing some major opportunities for investment from our membership in new technolo-

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gies that can get right to the heart of the challenges being experienced in the field.” Through joint industry projects, ITF supports novel technology development and implementation funded by its members. It has brought more than 160 new technologies to market and secured around £50 million investment from its member companies. Mr Poxon added: “There was a lot of discussion from our members around the particular challenges of deepwater drilling and the lessons being learned from Macondo in the Gulf of Mexico and these will be considered as part of our subsea technology challenge.” ITF aims to open offices in the Middle East next year and Houston and Asia Pacific in early 2012, initially employing four additional staff to service these key growth regions. Mr Poxon said: “The ITF model has been very successful in promoting collaborative research, development and deployment of new technologies and we have our sights set on further global growth. We have significantly grown our international membership and to be sustainable it is important that we have offices around the world to represent the spread and diversity of our member companies.” ITF aims to secure a further £50 million of investment from members to launch 40

joint industry projects per year by 2015. Marathon is the most recent member to join ITF. Randall Cooper, Manager of Petrophysical Operations at Marathon in Houston admits that technology development is top of the agenda. “ITF brings a high level of organisation, matching operators with technology developers with a great work ethic. There is no doubt about the importance new technologies have for the industry and we have to keep looking ahead.” Mr Poxon added: “North America is the world’s third largest oil and gas producer with Houston recognised as a centre for the industry and most of our members have operations there. The Gulf of Mexico and onshore provinces are technologically challenging with deep water, tight gas, heavy oil, arctic and unconventional resources and members see the ITF process as key to solving some of these issues.” Most ITF members are already active in the Middle East and Kuwait Oil Company and TAQA also recently signed up. ITF plans to establish an office in Abu Dhabi from where a regional manager will have responsibility for managing growth in the Middle East, Africa and AsiaPacific regions.

January 2011 Offshore Technology


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Offshore Technology -- January 2011