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Subsea Technology

Topics: Subsea systems

My, what a difference a year makes as I look back at last year’s interest vs. this year’s. Improved-oil-recovery (IOR) technology and remotely-operated-vehicle support were in the forefront last year. This year, the buzz is around high pressure/high temperature (HP/HT). This is not to say that IOR technology has vanished or become passé; far from it. But this year’s group of papers heralds a technical sense of urgency to focus on tougher long-term basic science and research rather than quick-return near-term application engineering projects. HP/HT has been simmering as a long-term technical concern for the last 8 years. But HP/HT is a tough nut to crack, needing a lot of research-and-development funding for basic research that is only starting to show long-term benefits from understanding. This urgency is being fueled by industry, which is increasingly uncovering its own shortcomings in terms of current technology as it encounters new, challenging sources of hydrocarbons in deepwater, shale, and heavy-oil formations.

Many of this year’s HP/HT technical papers reflect the progress of efforts and the urgency to solve remaining barriers in

  • Fundamentals in design methodology, from simple 1D pressure-containing and -controlling designs and codes to multidimensional complex loading (combined pressure, temperature, tensions, and moments) combinations. These combinations are often beyond a single existing design code and will require new practices that combine several codes and methods to create a hybrid code that both industry and government can use.
  • Material and fabrication hurdles, including lack of material properties at elevated temperatures, joining and seal technology that is far more rigorous and exacting than what the industry currently employs, and higher strength/hardness vs. ductility/toughness. The latter are two material/fabrication properties that are often diametrically opposed, but they need to be merged for the material to survive extreme sour HP/HT conditions.
  • Predicting design life, from static maximum-load design criteria to addressing random cyclic loads (internally and externally), and how we monitor these predicted loads to determine the remaining life through in-situ sensing equipment.

Clearly, this year’s crop of subsea technical papers reflects the heightened interest in HP/HT while still recognizing continued advances in IOR technology.

This Month's Technical Papers

A Design Combining API and ASME Codes for Subsea Equipment in HP/HT Conditions

Design-Guideline Strategies for High-Pressure/High-Temperature Equipment

Fatigue Testing of Shrink-Fit Couplings for Joining High-Strength-Steel Riser Pipe

HP/HT Pipelines Designed for Lateral Buckling in the South China Sea

Recommended Additional Reading

OTC 24057 Design and Verification of High-Load-Bearing Interfaces by Nigel McKie, FMC Technologies, et al.

OTC 24150 Composite-Reinforced Steel Drilling Riser for Ultradeepwater High-Pressure Wells by C.A. Cederberg, Hexagon Lincoln, et al.

IPTC 16796 Flow-Assurance Study for a Subsea Production System With a Large-Scale Seabed Storage by Juneyoung Kim, KAIST, et al.

OTC 23968 Large-Diameter-Riser Laboratory Gas Lift Tests by G. Zabaras, Shell, et al.

OTC 24021 Wellbore Thermal Performance and Its Impact on Flow-Assurance Design of a Subsea Production System by Leon Liu, Intecsea, et al.

OTC 24052 Subsea-Pipeline Repair by Composite System: One Step Deeper by S. Boulet d’Auria, 3XEngineering, et al.

Brian Skeels, SPE, is emerging technology manager with FMC Technologies. He has nearly 30 years of experience in subsea completion and pipeline design and installation. Skeels serves as a technical subsea adviser and strategic-planning specialist for frontier technologies and new business opportunities and is program director for FMC’s high-pressure/high-temperature development activities worldwide. He holds more than 13 patents. Skeels holds a BS degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell University and an MS degree in ocean engineering from the University of Rhode Island. He has served on several SPE committees and currently serves on the JPT Editorial Committee. Skeels is a licensed professional engineer in Texas.

Subsea Technology

Brian Skeels, SPE, Emerging Technology Manager, FMC Technologies

01 August 2013

Volume: 65 | Issue: 8

No editorial available

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