Technology, bordering on the reliability of space

OAO "Gazprom" in the framework of the project "Sakhalin-3" is preparing to develop Kirinskoye condensate field. Previously, field commissioning was scheduled for 2014, but later decided to postpone concern launch of the site in 2011.

On Kirinskoye field for the first time in Russia will be applied underwater mining technology. About how they are used widely in the world, and why at this site choice was made in favor of the construction of subsea production system, in an interview with the editorial staff has told the head of engineering and technology for offshore "Gazprom" Vladimir Vovk.

Why "Gazprom" has decided to transfer the input Kirinskoye HCM from 2014 to 2011?

Start field is synchronized with the completion of the transport pipeline in 2011, and this led to the need for its development in the shortest possible time, which is quite logical.

Why the choice was made in favor of the subsea production system?

Subsea hydrocarbon production technologies started to develop since the mid 70's of the last century. First underwater wellhead equipment placed in service in the Gulf of Mexico. After several years of operation, showing the reliability of subsea engineering solutions, subsea production equipment is widely used in almost all regions of the offshore production from the shelf of the northern seas, to the southern latitudes.

The analysis of the supply of subsea production systems, according to research agencies, shows an ever-increasing need for them. This is an indication of how the reliability of such equipment, and cost-effectiveness of its application.

In regions with severe climatic conditions underwater mining technology helped to avoid major risks. For example, in the South-East Asia typhoons on the shelf of Canada — icebergs. In the freezing regions of Russia, where navigation is limited to the period of 3-4 months, an alternative subsea production system is not there.

This is the first application of this technology in Russia. Is there a belief in the efficacy and safety of its use?

Make no mistake that "Gazprom" has taken a hasty decision on the application of subsea production. This issue is being carefully studied a considerable period of time.

In 2000, the company's management decided to create a department of underwater work and deep technology whose primary responsibility is to study the underwater mining technology, analysis of global innovation in this area, the rationale for their use in future offshore projects of JSC "Gazprom" and regulatory support .

Still very well remember the accident in the Gulf of Mexico. Are there risks of such accidents when using subsea production systems?

What happened in the Gulf of Mexico — is another story. As we know, in many ways the cause of the accident at the BP rig was the human factor. There have been many errors relating to personnel management, have seen many bad decisions that ultimately led to the tragedy. Of course, we will take into account the risk of such errors.

However, we believe that the use of subsea production systems is safe. Of course, such sophisticated modern technology requires staff of the highest caliber. And so we are in the selection of personnel for such projects give preference to engineers with extensive experience in the oil fields.

Are there examples of similar projects with equipment FMC, how many years it operated as it is reliable?

It should be noted that in the world there are several manufacturers of subsea production equipment.

The drilling platform in the Kirinskoye field

This FMC Kongsberg Subsea AS, Aker Solutions, GE Vetco Gray, Cameron. Each of them would like to work on the Russian shelf. In this particular case, the choice was made in favor of FMC Kongsberg Subsea AS. However, this does not mean that the other candidates have lost the opportunity to participate in the Russian offshore projects.

Companies compete in a free market. Each produces a sound and proven subsea production equipment and can participate in tenders for the supply of its products.

In respect of existing projects with the use of subsea production equipment can be called a lot of examples. It should be noted that the equipment is widely used for gas and gas condensate, and oil.

Thus, this equipment is used in the gas field Ormen Lange Norwegian shelf, with water depths in the range of 800-1100 m, a distance of 120 km from the coast. After considering several options, everything, to achieve economic efficiency, was passed with the option of a field completely underwater production system of multiphase flow and transport of products to the shore. Placed at 4 Wheel bottom plates 24 subsea wellhead completion, through the manifold, together with two 30-inch pipelines with th onshore gas preparation for transport to Nihamne. The gas of 1200 kilometer sea pipeline transported to the UK. The field was put into operation in 2005. In 2015, to ensure a stable shelf production is planned to be installed at the Ormen Lange underwater compressor station. Developed by Aker Solutions prototype underwater compressor station is currently being tested.

Subsea production equipment company FMC Kongsberg Subsea AS is used since 2001 in the oil field offshore Angola Zhirassol, sea depths up to 1400 m of field development scheme involves the use of a floating oil terminal drive.

On the Norwegian shelf Snohvit field is applied fully underwater mining. The equipment for the project were supplied by GE Vetco Gray.

On the Norwegian shelf Goliat oil field supply of subsea production systems made by companies in Aker Solutions.

Currently there are more than 130 offshore fields where technology is applied as subsea production combined with gravity and floating production platform and completely underwater mining scheme.

Volumes of supplies of equipment from year to year increase. Reliable subsea production technology allow to achieve reasonable cost efficiency, environmentally safe, as evidenced by the many years of trouble-free operation in various regions of the world ocean shelf. However, reliable operation of subsea production systems is ensured not only by the technical solutions and high quality workmanship, but also a complex system of service.

Are there any similar technology applied in other fields of "Gazprom"?

Naturally. Industrial scientific research and design institutes are working on the most effective and reliable methods and techniques development of offshore fields. The draft of the Shtokman gas condensate field will be used underwater mining technology. The companies-suppliers of subsea production equipment involved in tender procedures conducted by the operator of the project — the company Shtokman Development AG.

These technologies have been studied for use in field development projects Priyamalsky shelf. Promising subsea hydrocarbon production technologies and fields of the Caspian Sea.

Will the attraction of foreign advanced technology development of Russia's technological capabilities?

To this question I would like a clear answer, as these technologi
es — this is a quantum leap into the future for the Russian science and industry in general, but not so simple. For approval of the development of the Russian scientific and technological potential is hard work, not only in technical and industrial sector.

To be worked out many legal and organizational issues, including at the state level. After the introduction of innovative, bordering on the reliability of the technology space — a delicate intellectual process where it is necessary to calculate and provide for all the details.


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