DOT 2105: Expert panel looks at practical approaches to improving deepwater project returns

Offshore staff

THE WOODLANDS, Texas With the price of oil fluctuating around $50/bbl, enhancing deepwater project value has become a universal topic at the 2015 Deep Offshore Technology International conference and exhibition. A DOT panel of industry experts has taken direct aim at offering practical approaches to improving deepwater project returns.

This panel, which included operators and service companies, talked about the challenges of the current business environment, how their individual companies are addressing the topic of value, and how the industry could improve its response to value creation.

The broad conclusion of the panel members was that deepwater project value enhancements start with collaboration among operators and among operators and service companies, and with the benefits resulting from standardization.

Statoil’s building blocks for the future include standardization, targeted technology development, taking advantage of market opportunities, and operational excellence.

Sarah Delille, whose Statoil responsibilities include managing offshore technology for US operations, noted the company’s “design one and build many” approach. Implementation benefits can be 20-30% reduction in project costs and a positive impact on scheduling. She said repeatability will become the norm and will go in parallel with cooperation among operators and suppliers.

LLOG Exploration’s Rick Fowler, vice president of Deepwater Projects, identified challenges as including exploration risk reduction, project cost cuts, improved project schedules, and improved operations and capex totals. Fowler said LLOG focuses on doing what it knows best. On the technical side, that includes seismic acquisition and interpretation as indicated by a 70% exploration drilling success ratio. LLOG’s efforts to standardize benefit inventory and project schedules, and has resulted in a transition from discovery to first production of three years for a Gulf of Mexico floating production system.

OneSubsea’s Global Vice President of Engineering and Standardization Werner Menz also talked about the advantages of standardization, and that repeatability has the largest impact on total costs. Mean time between failures, for instance, improves with standardization as both the manufacturing and field application personnel become more familiar with the systems. He also brought in the idea of involving suppliers in the initial concept selection.

Areas liable to benefit from cost reductions can be divided into management, design, manufacturing, installation, and operations and maintenance, said Colin McKinnon, regional engineering director for Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, Wood Group Kenny. Wood Group Kenny has a VIP (value improvement process) to bring together the variables involved in an offshore deepwater development ranging from standards and specifications to proven reliability and life cycle extension.


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