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Subsea Processing: Cutting out the Expensive ‘Middle Man’

Subsea processing, the technology of the future, is essentially about getting rid of those bottlenecks that keep production from reaching its potential, and oil services and equipment makers are the ones to watch here.

Last week, we took an in-depth look at the Subsea oil and gas sector; this week we would like to home in specifically on subsea processing, which is fast becoming THE technological solution for increasing production in mature or marginal fields.

Subsea processing can handle everything from water removal and re-injection or disposal, to single-phase and multi-phase boosting of well fluids, sand and solid separation and gas/liquid separation and boosting to gas treatment and compression.

What we’re talking about, essentially, is saving space and time (which means money) by performing processing activities on the seafloor rather than sending fluids back and forth between the seafloor and the processing facilities above water.

Subsea processing allows producers to separate the unwanted elements right on the seafloor, without using complicated and expensive flowlines to bring these elements up to the above-water processing facility to remove them and then send them back down to the seafloor to be re-injected. We’re cutting out the middle man here. The middle man in this case is the process known as “subsea boosting”.

Cutting out the middle man means an increase in hydrocarbon recovery from oil and gas fields, and a concomitant increase in profits. But it also means better efficiency and easier flow management. The bottom line is that subsea processing can turn marginal fields into major producers.

While this is the future, it is also the present, and subsea processing projects are already underway around the world, but the number of systems so far installed remains small. But that is changing and interest - is growing fast.

New Developments in Subsea Processing

Subsea Rotating Devices and Dual-Gradient Drilling

We are particularly interested in a new subsea rotating device that promises to enhance dual-gradient drilling (DGD). This is a system being developed by Chevron, which it is hoping to deploy in the Gulf of Mexico later this year.

Chevron thinks it will be a subsea game-changer for deepwater drillers. What the DGD system will do is render the thousands of feet of mud that is bearing down on the wellbore … well … weightless. A very significant…




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