Where it all began...
Subsea completions can be traced back to 1943 with the Lake Erie completion at a 35 ft (11 m) water depth. The well had a land-type Christmas tree that required diver intervention for installation, maintenance, and flow line connections. Shell completed its first subsea well in the Gulf of Mexico in 1961.
Subsea oil production systems can range in complexity from a single satellite well with a flowline linked to a fixed platform, FPSO, or an onshore installation, to several wells on a template or clustered around a manifold, and transferring to a fixed or floating facility, or directly to an onshore installation.
Subsea production systems can be used to develop reservoirs, or parts of reservoirs, which require drilling of the wells from more than one location. Deep water conditions, or even ultradeep water conditions, can also inherently dictate development of a field by means of a subsea production system, since traditional surface facilities such as on a steel-piled jacket, might be either technically unfeasible or uneconomical due to the water depth.
The development of subsea oil and gas fields requires specialized equipment. The equipment must be reliable enough to safeguard the environment and make the exploitation of the subsea hydrocarbons economically feasible. The deployment of such equipment requires specialized and expensive vessels, which need to be equipped with diving equipment for relatively shallow equipment work (i.e. a few hundred feet water depth maximum) and robotic equipment for deeper water depths. Any requirement to repair or intervene with installed subsea equipment is thus normally very expensive. This type of expense can result in economic failure of the subsea development.
Subsea Technology in offshore oil and gas production is a highly specialized field of application with particular demands on engineering and simulation. Most of the new oil fields are located in deep water and are generally referred to as deepwater systems. Development of these fields sets strict requirements for verification of the various systems’ functions and their compliance with current requirements and specifications. This is because of the high costs and time involved in changing a pre-existing system due to the specialized vessels with advanced onboard equipment. A full-scale test (System Integration Test – SIT) does not provide satisfactory verification of deepwater systems because the test, for practical reasons, cannot be performed under conditions identical to those under which the system will later operate.
The oil industry has therefore adopted modern data technology as a tool for virtual testing of deepwater systems that enables detection of costly faults at an early phase of the project. By using modern simulation tools, models of deepwater systems can be set up and used to verify the system's functions, and dynamic properties, against various requirements specifications. This includes the model-based development of innovative high-tech plants and system solutions for the exploitation and production of energy resources in an environmentally friendly way as well as the analysis and evaluation of the dynamic behavior of components and systems used for the production and distribution of oil and gas. Another part is the real-time virtual test of systems for subsea production, subsea drilling, supply above sea level, seismography, subsea construction equipment, and subsea process measurement and control equipment.
Subsea completions can be traced back to 1943 with the Lake Erie completion at a 35 ft (11 m) water depth. The well had a land-type Christmas tree that required diver intervention for installation, maintenance, and flow line connections.Shell completed its first subsea well in the Gulf of Mexico in 1961.
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