OSLO, Norway—A small, Norwegian subsea company has thrown down the gauntlet to the subsea industry to reduce costs and complexity over the life of a well. Optime Subsea believes technology being released into today’s market must be simple and cost efficient.
Optime Subsea CEO Jan-Fredrik Carlsen explained during the Subsea Valley Conference in Oslo, Norway, his belief that the oil and gas sector’s—subsea’s in particular—needs for a lower cost base is highlighted by the fact that over the past 10 years costs have tripled.
“We think that is because of the increasing complexity, including a huge amount of documentation. This has led to no one developing really new technology,” Carlsen said. “There have been incremental improvements within the industry. We are aiming to make a big jump by introducing something disruptive—something very new, lighter, smaller and low cost as well.”
Optime Subsea might be the David in the race against the Goliaths out there, but its first shot across the bows is the Subsea Control and Installation Light System, a system targeted for subsea workover and intervention systems. It is a control system that combines the requirements from traditional subsea control systems developed for permanent installed equipment, with the modularity, flexibility and low cost traditionally seen in the ROV industry.
Benefits of the system are that it does not require a hydraulic umbilical from the support vessel, reducing both the cost and complexity of the topside structure, potentially freeing up the drilling rig and allowing installation to be carried out by a smaller vessel.
“We utilize this for the installation and test of subsea christmas trees as well as operating subsea tooling,” Carlsen said. “We take all the topside hydraulics that you see in a normal system and put that on the seabed, making the installation smaller. We don’t need a hydraulic umbilical with hydraulic hoses going from the topsides to the subsea component. We have all that subsea so our umbilical is simply fiber optics and electrical power, making the umbilical much smaller.”
“Aside from the drive to reduce the topside footprint by placing everything subsea there is also the desire to use smaller vessels. Rigs are designed for drilling the well and the completion—the heavy stuff—and then they should move on to the next well. Everything else can be carried out from a smaller vessel, less than 100 m (328 ft),” Carlsen added. “By doing this, operators can achieve a 60% savings on installation costs. This is a huge challenge today because at present you can’t really utilize small boats because they may be exposed to hydrocarbons and gas on the deck, but with our system where you don’t have a hydraulic hose rising from the seabed there is no risk. We seal it on the seabed so there is no exposure.”
All the designs are complete and work on cutting the metal has begun in earnest.
“We are now very targeted at what solutions drive the most optimization and by third-quarter this year we will have the smallest, most cost-efficient intervention workover control system in operation,” he said. “With specially designed equipment with a small footprint, facilitating operations from smaller and lighter vessels, giving a significant cost reduction, we should be an interesting alternative.”
At present, the company is concentrating on installation, but Carlsen is keen to emphasize that this is really a life of field system.
“We are starting with the easiest part, which is installing the christmas trees, then we are moving on to carrying out subsea intervention on wells,” Carlsen said. “We are also targeting subsea plug and abandonment from a vessel rather than a rig.”