Crondall Energy and the Oil & Gas Technology Centre, have joined forces with international oil and gas firms to explore whether a new reusable production buoy concept could help extend North Sea production by unlocking smaller oil and gas reservoirs.
The study will explore the feasibility of a floating Normally Unattended Installation (NUI) as a stand-alone oil production facility for marginal fields in a North Sea environment and kicks-off the Technology Centre’s recently-announced ‘Facility of the Future’ initiative.
The multi-partner study has been initiated by FPSO (Floating Production, Storage and Offloading) and Subsea specialists, Crondall Energy, who developed the technology and will be led and managed by Crondall’s subsidiary, Buoyant Production Technologies.
The study is funded by Crondall Energy, the Oil & Gas Technology Centre and a host of industry sponsors including Premier Oil, Total E&P UK, Lloyds Register, Siemens, Wärtsilä, Ampelmann and BW Offshore.
Duncan Peace, managing director of Crondall Energy, said:
“New process and automation technology is playing a critical role in reducing the size and cost of offshore facilities and reducing the offshore man-hours required for their operation and maintenance. What makes our concept unique is the integration of these process and automation technologies with Crondall’s patented floating production concept, to deliver a material reduction in both the size of facilities and the level of manning. Together these innovations offer the opportunity to deliver a step change in lifecycle economics.
“The diverse group of industrial sponsors brings a wealth of expertise and insights to the table and we’re excited to be able to work with them to improve the economics of offshore developments. The support we’ve had from the Technology Centre and from our sponsors has been crucial in helping get the study underway and we look forward to continuing to work with them.”
The project aims to confirm that such technology can meet the requirements of remote operations with acceptable uptime and maintenance requirements.
The NUI concept developed by Crondall Energy could be used with subsea wells, to provide the production facilities and utilities required to exploit a field.
The partners will evaluate a generic opportunity for a field in the Northern North Sea, in 150m water depth, producing 20,000 barrels of oil per day with a low to medium gas oil ratio. They will also evaluate how the lessons learned from this case study can be applied more widely in the development of North Sea marginal fields with, for example, a minimally manned compact FPSO.
The joint-industry review, will widen the application of NUIs and demonstrate that they can offer improved performance and lower life-cycle costs.
The study will be conducted in two phases over eight months, evaluating the technical and commercial feasibility of the concepts developed.