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Subsea High Pressure Storage and Processing System

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000233989D
Publication Date: 2014-Jan-06
Document File: 3 page(s) / 507K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Abstract

Producing hydrocarbons in high Arctic regions presents several challenges, including the safe and economic transport of produced fluids from these remote areas to the marketplace. Long-distance subsea tieback pipelines require significant infrastructure and are susceptible to damage from sea ice conditions. The invention below describes a subsea system that would eliminate the need for long-distance pipelines. Produced fluids are processed and stored locally near the wellheads and are transported to market via shuttle tanker.

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Subsea High Pressure Storage and Processing System

Abstract:

Producing hydrocarbons in high Arctic regions presents several challenges, including the safe and economic transport of produced fluids from these remote areas to the marketplace.  Long-distance subsea tieback pipelines require significant infrastructure and are susceptible to damage from sea ice conditions.  The invention below describes a subsea system that would eliminate the need for long-distance pipelines.  Produced fluids are processed and stored locally near the wellheads and are transported to market via shuttle tanker. 

Problem:

Oil and gas developments in the high Arctic are difficult and expensive undertakings, due in part to the harsh ice conditions, long supply-line distances, and remoteness associated with offshore fields above latitude 60°N. Very little can be done to reduce physical distance and remoteness per se, however, the adverse effects of harsh ice conditions, distance, and remoteness might be mitigated by undertaking as many fabrication and construction activities as possible outside the high Arctic, minimizing the facilities and people placed in these remote areas.  This can be accomplished by locating essential facilities beneath the ice, subsea. Additionally, economic development in the high Arctic requires large, high-quality, recoverable resources (notionally, billions barrels of oil or several trillion cubic feet of gas). Assuming that viable, extended-season or year-round, surface drilling systems are available for development drilling in the ice, subsea oil and gas development generally involves two processing and export options:

Produced oil can be processed subsea in the field to avoid ice, or at a distant host facility, such as an onshore plant, or an offshore bottom-founded platform in water depths less than about 100m. Separated oil can then be exported to market by pipeline or by shuttle tankers. This conventional approach is fraught with several problems that can contribute to high development and operational costs. Offshore flow lines to host facilities are likely to be long, large diameter, and very expensive to build and protect from sea ice and icebergs in the high Arctic. Long tie-backs may require multi-phase pumping and significant flow-assurance mitigation measures. Similarly, onshore flow-line landings, whether at an onshore processing plant or from an offshore host processing facility, are likely to involve long overland export pipeline routes through Arctic tundra to markets. The alternative to export pipelines involves building onshore oil storage tanks, harbors, and offloading berths in the ice for export by double-acting ice-strengthened shuttle tankers, operating with ice breaker support.

Current industry development of subsea processing technology largely focuses on continuous gravity or centrifugal separation, to mitigate flow assurance concerns of the long distance flowline. All of the subsea and surface facilities abov...