An assessment of subsea production systems



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Texas A&M University


The decreasing gap between technology and the it?s applicability in the oil industry has led to a rapid development of deepwater resources. Beginning with larger fields where the chances of economic success are high, to marginal fields where project economics becomes a more critical parameter, the petroleum industry has come a long way. However, the ever growing water depths and harsher environments being encountered are presently posing challenges to subsea production. Being able to develop a field and then proceeding to ensure flow for the life of the field comprises many situations where the production equipment can fail and falter or through external factors, be deemed unavailable. Some of the areas where most of the current developments in subsea production are being seen are in subsea processing, flow assurance, long term well monitoring and intervention technologies ? areas that pose some of the biggest challenges to smooth operation in the deepwater environment. This research highlights the challenges to overcome in subsea production and well systems and details the advances in technology to mitigate those problems. The emphasis for this part of the research is on multiphase pumping, subsea processing, flow assurance, sustained casing pressure problems and well intervention. Furthermore, most operators realize a reduced ultimate recovery from subsea reservoirs owing to the higher backpressure imposed by longer flowlines and taller risers. This study investigates the reasons for this by developing a global energy balance and detailing measures to improve production rates and ultimate recoveries. The conclusions from this energy balance are validated by simulating a deepwater field under various subsea production scenarios.