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Offshore Oil & Ocean Engineering


March 2014 Issue

UK Oil Production Rises 44 Percent in 2013
The number of fields that began producing oil and gas in the U.K. hit its highest level for five years in 2013, as operators focused on development activity, according to the latest report into offshore activity from Deloitte.

The report, detailing activity across northwest Europe over the last 12 months and compiled by Deloitte's Petroleum Services Group (PSG), found the number of U.K. fields that started production rose by 44 percent in 2013 (up from nine in 2012 to 13 in 2013). This figure represents the highest number since 2008, when 16 fields were brought onstream.

Of the 13 fields brought onstream last year, 84 percent were eligible for tax allowances, pointing to a positive industry reaction to the government incentives in place.

However, a total of only 47 exploration and appraisal wells were drilled on the U.K. Continental Shelf (UKCS) in 2013, compared with 65 in 2012, a decrease of 28 percent. During the same period, the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) saw a 41 percent increase in drilling activity.

In the North Sea industry, despite the high oil price, margins are tight and the drop in drilling during 2013 most likely reflects the increased costs of operating (e.g., high staff costs and a limited number of rigs).

Nevertheless, government incentives are helping to stimulate field developments, even historic discoveries, with Chevron's (San Ramon, California) recent announcement that it will start work on the Alder field, which was discovered in the 1970s.

Advances in technology have also been vital to the development of this and other historic discoveries. However, incentives and technology are not the whole picture. Greater overall knowledge and understanding of the North Sea's complex geology and economics also play an important role in the current viability of these older discoveries.

The rise in field start-ups over the last year and increased interest in licensing rounds are positive indicators for the future of the North Sea, but Deloitte suggests a cautionary look at the market, with companies appearing to be at a crossroads in their attitude toward North Sea production.

Global Deepwater Expenditure To Total $260 Billion
Deepwater expenditure is expected to increase by 130 percent, compared to the preceding five-year period, totaling $260 billion from 2014 to 2018, according to Douglas-Westwood. As production from mature basins onshore and in shallow water declines, development of deepwater reserves has become vital. Robust oil prices support investment in deepwater developments. The sustained high oil prices over the past few years have increased confidence in the sector.

Africa and the Americas continue to dominate deepwater capital expenditure, with $213 billion set to be spent over the next five years. Africa is forecast to experience the greatest growth among the three regions, as East African natural gas developments begin production and become more prominent in the latter years of the forecast period. Latin America will remain the largest market, and North America is expected to experience the least growth.

A predicted temporary trough in global expenditure in 2015 would be primarily driven by delays to delivery of FPS units in Latin America. African projects have also experienced delays, resulting in a surge in capex from 2016 onwards.

Dubai Petroleum Selects 2H Offshore for Tripod Platform
2H Offshore (Houston, Texas) was appointed by Dubai Petroleum (DP) in the United Arab Emirates to deliver an intensive, fast-track design of an ultralightweight conductor supported tripod platform.

The tripod platform, known as T-02, has been successfully installed in the Fateh field, offshore Dubai in 50 meters water depth. The platform consists of a minimal topside and subsea structure and hosts an exploration well during an upcoming drilling and well test campaign. As part of the T-02 platform project, 2H Offshore investigated a wide range of development options to facilitate the exploration well for DP before ultimately proving the conductor supported tripod as the most economical and technically feasible solution.

The tripod is designed for installation from a jack-up drilling rig, enabling drilling to begin directly after installation. Leading the detailed design, 2H Offshore undertook the structural design of the subsea template, conductors and topside brace structure while liaising with DP on the access platform and other structural details.

Aubin, Flexlife Partner to Offer Full-Service IM Solutions
Offshore chemical engineering specialist Aubin Group (Ellon, Scotland) has formed a cooperation agreement with subsea flexible pipe specialist Flexlife (Bridge of Don, Scotland) to create an industry first in subsea integrity management (IM).

Aubin Integrity, a division of Aubin Group, and Flexlife are now working together to provide full-service IM solutions to the oil and gas industry.

Under the cooperation, Aubin Integrity will supply its development team to create bespoke products and provide offshore personnel for operations. Flexlife will bring its subsea engineering and project management expertise to ensure quality deployment for all applications.

The two companies have a history of working together to create bespoke products and services. This includes collaborating on a number of projects to help mitigate corrosion in hard to access areas around the critical splash zone region of offshore platforms where the seawater and air interface can lead to integrity issues. These projects serve to maximize the remnant life of risers and can defer or obviate the major capital expenditure that would be required if the degraded risers had to be replaced.

The cooperation has also developed a range of pipeline isolation polymers which have been used to address major integrity issues within the substructure of an offshore platform in the U.K. Continental Shelf. The companies worked together to create an internal pipework sealant, AXI-Lokk, and the delivery process, in record time to enable repair intervention following a serious breach in integrity.


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