Offshore Facilities

I had the pleasure of reviewing 322 offshore-facilities papers submitted to SPE during the past year and selected three for inclusion in this issue as well as three for additional reading. This is my first assignment as a member of JPT’s Editorial Committee, and I am grateful. During my summer family vacation, I enjoyed reading all of the papers and considered a special theme related to today’s disruption of our oil and gas industry known as “Industry 4.0.” The first industrial revolutions were related to the commencement of electrification, followed by machinery. The third is the computer era, and the fourth (4.0) is the current age of machine learning, artificial intelligence, data analytics, and the Internet of things.

Therefore, to start our discussion, let us ask the basic question: What is the definition of offshore-facilities project success in the context of Industry 4.0? Generally, cost (economic), time, and scope (quantity and quality, including safety) are the common project-success indicators. However, I believe we can expand these indicators to the social and environmental areas. So, for the oil and gas upstream industry, Industry 4.0 is the strategic positioning of technologies that can benefit production assets, business, and sustainability (social and environmental).

The development of new subsea and offshore technologies, methods, processes, and monitoring should consider the tangible benefit of social and environmental effects. The selection of innovative subsea processing systems, platforms, real-time monitoring applications, automation, smart fields, intelligent wells, data analytics, and well/reservoir/facilities technologies and decommissioning should reflect an initiative to improve environmental performance. For instance, when a stakeholder selects a subsea processing and facilities technology scheme, it should optimize and accelerate the recovery of hydrocarbon, increasing its yield, extending the life of the field, reducing the floating production facilities while minimizing carbon footprint, and creating a positive social effect and low environmental impact.

Let us consider another offshore-­facilities project example. The world’s offshore liquefied-natural-gas (LNG) production concepts began in the 1970s but were only significantly enhanced in the mid-1990s. I was a finalist in the SPE Student Paper competition at the national level in 1997, and I wrote about the concept of floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facilities in Indonesia as a case study. The FLNG concept has been used because it has the capability to transport the LNG to nearly any location. However, we know that the design of FLNG facilities has many challenges, including floating design, process selection, equipment sizing, process safety, wind effects, metocean effects, and product transfer. Therefore, for FLNG, bigger is not always better and a sustainable business model is important. It took almost 25 years for engineers and experts to construct an FLNG facility. Now, the Prelude FLNG is the world’s largest FLNG facility as well as the largest offshore facility ever constructed. To derive the greatest benefit from Industry 4.0, we must develop strong and reliable data, lessons learned, experiences, and knowledge management.

The three papers and recommended additional reading presented here reflect support for the implementation of Industry 4.0 such as innovation, digitalization (automation), low-cost facilities development, project flexibility, and facilities life extension. I hope you enjoy reading these papers as much as I did.

This Month's Technical Papers

Innovative Design and Execution Lead to Successful Grand Banks Platform Operations

Evaluation of a Riser After 10 Years of GOM Service Life

Extra-Long Subsea Tiebacks Reduce Deepwater Development Costs

Recommended Additional Reading

OTC 28256 Standardization and Replication of Lean Wellhead Platform To Accelerate Hydrocarbon Maturation From Exploration to Production for Marginal-Field Development by H. Yong, Shell, et al.

OTC 28276 Cost-Effective Riser Solutions for Deepwater Gas Developments: Steel Lazy Wave Riser and Tethered Catenary Riser by Stéphan Eyssautier, Subsea 7, et al.

OTC 28340 Pragmatic and Consistent Approach to Life Extension of Floating Structures by Cedric Morandini, Bureau Veritas, et al.

Ardian Nengkoda, SPE, is a facilities development lead at Saudi Aramco. He works as group leader for offshore-facilities development, including in field development, facilities-concept selection, flow assurance, production-chemistry risk, and project management. Nengkoda is a member of the Saudi Aramco Petroleum Engineering Technologist Development/Technical Review Committee, Composition and Development Review for Field Development Committee, and Oil and Gas Process Engineering Standards Committee. He has more than 22 years of experience in the upstream oil and gas industry, and, before joining Saudi Aramco in 2012, he worked for PDO, Shell, Schlumberger, and Unocal. Nengkoda is a recipient of the 2015 SPE Regional Projects, Facilities, and Construction Award and the 2014 Gas Processors Association GCC Best Paper Award. He holds a BS degree in gas engineering from the University of Indonesia and MEng and PhD degrees in chemical engineering from Gadjah Mada University. Nengkoda is a member of JPT Editorial Committee and the SPE International Energy Information Committee. He can be reached at

Offshore Facilities

Ardian Nengkoda, SPE, Facilities Development Lead, Saudi Aramco

01 September 2019

Volume: 71 | Issue: 9

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