Online exclusive: Standardization is main topic at the Subsea Valley conference

Robin Dupre

OSLO, Norway – The topic of standardization within the subsea valley dominated the conversation at the conference this week.

Michael Sequeira, principal consultant, deepwater practice lead, OTM Consulting, discussed that the problem with incorporating standard practices lied with each operator having different field driven challenges, as each field has different needs, resulting in vendors internal challenges being tailored made.

“If each operator helps with approaching vendors with similar needs, then we can start the standardized process,” said Sequeira. “This may start with implementing the need for advanced subsea equipment standardization. However, despite the hype, despite the perceived benefits, deployment is low and costs are high.”

Historic problems with implementing standard practices include:

  • Incompatibility between vendor products
  • Multiple vendor standards
  • Major qualification requirements, but no global procedure
  • Many suppliers in supply chain
  • Reliability is a major issue with one-off project specifications.

Sequeira stated that the key learnings that the industry has gathered for the past 15 years, is that operators need to champion this process or it has no value up until the point that the standard is being used by everyone. He also commented that time and money are the biggest components for the industry to adopt the standard practices, as well as it being a political practice.

“It is a very competitive and political race that most within the industry know and understand, but don’t want to discuss,” he stated. “Also, making progress with standards is also challenging due to heavy workloads on key subsea specialists.”

He also commented that if the industry adopted a subsea component catalogue, that this would be a pivotal point in adopting these practices, as it would save engineering time, speed up deliveries and improve quality. A subsea component catalogue would consist of qualified subsea components with shared interfaces; allows equipment to be configured during production for a specific project; will have regional variations to suit local needs; and is shareable.

“But this would not be an attempt to eliminate differentiation between suppliers or stifle innovation,” said Sequeira.

He then proposed for the industry to not create another JIP but to define an operator vision based on an entire portfolio of assets; gather direct vendor feedback; and eliminate duplicates.

“The vendors in turn need to provide a real effort to finally move standardization from a buzzword into real practices,” he stated. 

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