Deeper, Longer: The Olympics of Offshore Tiebacks
Right before I sat down to write this introduction I registered for this year’s Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston. So it is very appropriate that for this selection of technical papers I selected papers that were presented at last year’s OTC. But to be very honest, it was not the OTC but rather the upcoming Olympic Games that inspired me to select these papers.
The motto of the modern Olympic Games is “Citius, Altius, Fortius,” Latin for “faster, higher, stronger,” which emphasizes the concept of pushing the limits. As an engineer, that approach really speaks to me—and offshore installations, and especially offshore tiebacks, illustrate that concept very well.
Obviously we install facilities in increasingly greater water depths, and whenever you talk about tiebacks, the maximum distance between the asset to be connected and the production continues to increase. So using the Olympic motto as an example, “deeper, longer” would be an appropriate characterization.
The four papers I selected cover a wide range of topics dealing with tiebacks. The first paper describes the results of a technology development program regarding very long (50–100 km) oil tiebacks, and describes how a combination of technical solutions together with an integrated control system are the key enablers of these tiebacks.
The second addresses an ultralong (> 150 km) tieback for a gas-condensate mixture along the lines of the proven pseudo-dry gas technology for transporting wet gas, and the last two deal with subsea multiphase boosting. One paper discusses the different aspects of subsea multiphase boosting and includes a comprehensive list of potential benefits of multiphase boosting that may positively affect a field development decision, while the other is a case study of a contract that included the supply and installation of a subsea multiphase boosting system in the Gulf of Mexico.
The common theme in all these papers is how to push the limits: how to extend the length of the tiebacks and thus to bring back production of a whole area to a production hub. With the approaches described in these papers’ assets, for which until recently there was no realistic development scheme, can now be developed.
I hope therefore that you will read these papers and get inspired to extend the reach of the tiebacks you are working on. But even if you are not working on tieback or on offshore projects, which means that the “deeper, longer” theme does not apply to you, I hope that these papers inspire you to find ways to do things differently, so all of us can do our part to enhance our industry.
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