New Urgency For Deepwater Installation Project
Recent increases in oil and gas prices and the pressing need to develop gas finds in ever deeper waters, have given added urgency to the need to understand how to install subsea hardware in deepwater. Fortunately, the third phase of the Deepwater Installation of Subsea Hardware (DISH) joint industry project gets underway this month, under the management of BMT Fluid Mechanics Ltd.
Through an 18-month programme, DISH Phase 3 will address the major remaining uncertainties and risks associated with the installation of subsea hardware weighing up to 250 tonnes in ultra-deep water (beyond 2,000m), without the self-weight limitations imposed by steel wire ropes. In particular it aims to provide the technology and confidence needed to design, develop and operate synthetic fibre rope deployment systems (FRDS).
DISH Phase 3 will include a post-mortem investigation into fibre rope failure and wear, as well as experiments to evaluate rope life on sheaves of heave compensators and winches. It will investigate whether in-field rope life management and rope retirement procedures are practical and assess the extent to which existing and planned FRDS systems will meet DISH requirements. The work programme also includes studies on subsea hardware hydrodynamics and on the need for heave compensation during lowering and its effectiveness.
Richard Snell of BP, Chairman of DISH’s steering committee, emphasises the importance of developing reliable and effective deepwater installation methods: “Installation has become a significant issue when operators assess the practicality and economics of developing ultra-deepwater oil and gas finds. They need confidence that subsea hardware will be installed in a safe and economic manner. Operators will be making major decisions about finds in water depths close to 2,500m in about two years’ time and studies are currently considering how to develop fields down to 3,500m in depth.”
Bob Standing of BMT Fluid Mechanics, DISH’s Project Manager, comments: “DISH has a strong team of major operators, engineering and installation contractors, specialist suppliers and technical experts, all working together to provide the necessary technology and confidence so that major development decisions can be made in 2006.”
DISH has become the main international focus for work on deepwater installation and aims to provide a solution that can be used worldwide, in both benign and severe environments, using conventional offshore construction vessels. Key areas of application include the Gulf of Mexico, West Africa, Brazil and the North Atlantic Margin.
OTM Consulting Ltd is responsible for project co-ordination and four oil and gas operators including BP and a number of installation contractors and specialist companies have indicated that they will take part in the third phase. The first meeting for DISH Phase 3 takes place on 21 December at BP Sunbury.