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PARQUE DAS CONCHAS An Ultra-Deepwater Success A Supplement to E&P Magazine

An Ultra-Deepwater Success

A Supplement to E&P Magazine


Foreword Kent H. Stingl Project Manager Parque das Conchas Parque daS COnCHaS The successful execution of

Kent H. Stingl Project Manager Parque das Conchas

Parque daS COnCHaS

The successful execution of the Parque das Conchas (BC-10) project by Shell in the ultra-deep water offshore Brazil demonstrates that a dedicated and focused team of highly skilled individu- als working together can rise to the challenges presented by this highly complex project and safely and effec- tively deliver amazing results. From a technical perspective alone, this is a noteworthy accomplishment. Yet in my opinion, it is far more.

The three keys to our successful execu- tion are our people, our processes, and our focus on new technology development.

When I think of our people, I think of the multitude of diverse groups located

The 327,000-ton FPSO Espirito Santo takes its place as a visible symbol of Shell’s ultra-deepwater leadership.

(Photos courtesy of Shell)

all over the world, working dili- gently and enthusiastically toward a common goal. I think of the partnering and collabo- rative spirit that permeated the mindsets of each project team member. representatives of more than 20 different cultures speak- ing more than 20 different languages worked simultaneously on the project. I think of their commitment to excellence and their total dedication to safety and the environment during the execution of this project. I also think of the people of the state of espirito Santo in Brazil, each of whom will benefit from the success of this development.

When I think of the processes, I remem- ber the meticulous planning, down to the last detail, that enabled the seam- less integration of all the components and activities that needed to be coordi- nated, scheduled, and executed. I think

of the many legal, tax, finance, con- tracting, and permitting activities that needed to be coordinated with an enterprise-first mindset.

The accomplishments of our engineers and geoscientists on the development of cutting-edge, fit-for-purpose designs are impressive indeed, proving once again that our people are our most important resource.

I congratulate each and every one of the individuals who took part in the BC-10 Parque das Conchas’ develop- ment. each of them can take great pride in achieving world-class perform- ance on this world-class project.

Muito Obrigado!

perform- ance on this world-class project. Muito Obrigado! Kent H. Stingl Project Manager Parque das ConChas

Kent H. Stingl Project Manager

ance on this world-class project. Muito Obrigado! Kent H. Stingl Project Manager Parque das ConChas n
PARQUE DAS CONCHAS An Ultra-Deepwater Success A Supplement to E&P Magazine HART ENERGY PUBLISHING contEntS


An Ultra-Deepwater Success

A Supplement to E&P Magazine



1616 S. Voss, Suite 1000 Houston, Texas 77057 Tel: +1 (713) 260-6400 Fax: +1 (713) 840-8585


Foreword: Parque das Conchas




Exploration to Production: An Ultra-Deepwater Success




remarkable effort came to a successful climax when

Manager, Special Projects


first oil flowed from Shell’s BC-10 ultra-deepwater development offshore Brazil in July 2009.

Contributing Editor


Profiles Editor




Assistant Editor





proactive strategy on health, safety, security,

and the environment pays off.

Corporate Art Director



SurfaceProduction ProductionFacilitiesAreWorld-Class Designed in Monaco and assembled in Singapore, the surface production facilities can efficiently process 75,000 b/d of water injection, 100,000 b/d of oil, and 50 MMscf/d of gas.

Assistant Art Director


Graphic Artist


Production Director


For additional copies of this publication, contact Customer Service +1 (713) 260-6442.


Group Publisher, E&P



SubseaProduction A‘SubseaCity’RisesontheSeafloor Most of the BC-10 construction was conducted onshore in Brazil.

Associate Publisher, E&P


Director of

Business Development


On the cover: Parque das Conchas (“Shell Park”) lies almost 1 mile (1.6 km) beneath
On the cover: Parque das Conchas (“Shell Park”) lies almost 1 mile (1.6 km) beneath

On the cover: Parque das Conchas (“Shell Park”) lies almost 1 mile (1.6 km) beneath the FPSO Espirito Santo about 75 miles (121 km) southeast of Vitória, Brazil. It is operated by Shell on behalf of co-venturers Petrobras

and ONGC Videsh. (Photo courtesy of Shell)

Vice President,



Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer



Executive Vice President


President and Chief Executive Officer


DevelopmentDrillingandCompletion DrillingChallengesandInnovations Drilling the BC-10 development wells required

DevelopmentDrillingandCompletion DrillingChallengesandInnovations Drilling the BC-10 development wells required great precision and careful control of equivalent circulation density. Drilling the BC-10 development wells required great precision and careful control of equivalent circulation density. Many drilling records were set in the process.

FuturePlans TodayandTomorrow Plans include development of a fourth field, with first oil in 2013. Plans include development of a fourth field, with first oil in 2013.

(Photos courtesy of Shell)

field, with first oil in 2013. (Photos courtesy of Shell) 49 50 Acknowledgements TheParquedasConchasTeam The
49 50

Acknowledgements TheParquedasConchasTeam The BC-10 project required the expertise and dedication of many individuals.

CompanyProfiles ItTakesTeamwork Shell had many partners on the BC-10 project.

CompanyProfiles ItTakesTeamwork Shell had many partners on the BC-10 project. Parque das ConChas n June 2010

BC-10 production flows to the FPSO Espirito Santo, where it enters the massive turret assembly in the forepeak, then through the swivel tower on top before being routed to the two processing trains.

(All images courtesy of Shell)

Vitoria ~Gasoduto Porto de Ubu ES Ostra Argonauta RJ BC-10 ~120 km Nautilus Abalone BC-60
Porto de Ubu
~120 km


The BC-10 block is located about 75 miles (120 km) south southeast of the city of Vitória and lies offshore of the Brazilian state of Espirito Santo. it lies just east of several prolific blocks developed by Petrobras.


A remarkable effort came to a suc-

cessful climax when first oil flowed

from Shell’s BC-10 ultra-deepwater development offshore Brazil in July

2009. This is the story of a singular combination of people, process, and technology to reach a goal in

a challenging environment.

The BC-10 block offshore Brazil is operated by Shell with a 50% equity share. Co-venturers are Petrobras with 35% and ONGC Videsh with 15%. The license was awarded on Aug. 6, 1998. After an intensive exploration

campaign, a declaration of commer- ciality was issued in 2005. Operated

by Shell, the BC-10 project represents

a complete field development project

from exploration to first oil production,

and is now proceeding to long-term

field management. Every phase of field development was accomplished under Shell’s control, and although this account implies a sequence of events,

in actual fact, it was not performed in

sequence; rather, several activities were conducted simultaneously like a sym- phony orchestra performing a concerto.

Each “instrument” played its role in a

Great care was taken to ensure that the local fishing community was kept informed, and

Great care was taken to ensure that the local fishing community was kept informed, and that field development activities did not interfere with their livelihoods.

coordinated way, so that the entire proj- ect came together seamlessly like a fine piece of music. The diverse aspects of offshore field development transcend drilling and completion. They also include permitting, contracting, human resources, health, safety, and the envi- ronment, all of which were essential and critical to success. That the project was accomplished on time and on budget is a tribute to the hundreds of workers both within Shell and within the ranks of its co-venturers, its contractors and suppliers, and those of the various agencies of the government of Brazil.

Field description Sometimes discoveries are attributed to good fortune or blind luck. In fact, a recently discovered deepwater field in the Gulf of Mexico is unabashedly named “Blind Faith.” However, in most cases, discoveries are all about knowing where to look, and interpreting the subtle clues that encourage additional explo- ration until a scientifically supported drilling case can be postulated. Starting with the investment in existing seismic data, the search began, culminating in the decision to purchase the BC-10

block and launch a five-well exploration drilling campaign. During the search and evaluation phase, additional seismic in the form of a more definitive 3-D survey was acquired. A large area span- ning some 4,900 sq miles (12,500 km 2 ) was acquired from which the BC-10 joint venture partnership purchased about 1,172 sq miles (3,000 km 2 ). Shell geoscientists participated in the processing of this data. Approximately one dozen prospects were identified and detailed from these seismic data.

The four fields constituting the BC-10 block were not easy to evaluate. The first well drilled in 2000, the 1-Shell- 01-ESS, probed what later became Argonauta B-West and penetrated the oil/water contact, which in itself is a powerful clue to evaluating the prospect’s possibilities. The planned five-well program quickly grew to eight wells that were drilled between 2000 and 2004 as geoscientists built their initial models. Ultimately, a total of 13 exploration and appraisal wells were drilled and evaluated in the exploration phases from 1999 to 2006. Eight successful wells discov-

ered and delineated six separate oil accumulations—an admirable success ratio in anyone’s book—still significant uncertainties remained. The gaps in pre-development reservoir knowledge were so significant that plans were in a state of flux right up to the time the field development wells were drilled. To understand why the prospect was so puzzling, it is worthwhile to look at its geology and morphology.

Situated at the northern extent of the Campos Basin, offshore Brazil, are sev- eral prolific fields on the South American continental shelf. These have been devel- oped over several years by Petrobras, the national oil company of Brazil, and oth- ers. The fields lie closer to the coastline than the BC-10 block, which is about 75 miles (120 km) southeast of the coastal city of Vitória. But they are in much shal- lower water. Nevertheless, there are several correlations between sedimentary sequences penetrated by these shelf wells and those found in the BC-10 block. These correlations provided encourage- ment to the BC-10 explorationists.

Shell geophysicist Gunnar Holmes provided details of the regional geol- ogy. Like a complex puzzle, the geo- logical description was put together by considering all available information. The challenge in these situations is virtu- ally the same everywhere. The informa- tion does not come simultaneously, nor is it in an actionable form. As a result, each clue must be evaluated and care- fully weighed. The geoscientists must be skeptical, because often, early theories are contradicted by subsequent revela- tions as more, definitive data are acquired. Raw data must be processed and assumptions must be validated—it is an iterative process that requires infi- nite patience and inquiring minds.

The earliest studies involved a regional 2-D seismic survey that had been acquired prior to entering the block. After committing to explore Block BC- 10, a 3-D survey was acquired from

WesternGeco. Encouragement was provided by the identification of “full stack bright spots” that usually signal the presence of structures compatible with hydrocarbon accumulation. Holmes wrote in a geological descrip- tion of the region, “The BC-10 survey area covers a passive margin basin. The discovered BC-10 fields to date are post-salt, occurring in deepwater Upper Cretaceous through Paleogene turbidites overlying or adjacent to salt- induced structures. Piercing salt walls and diapirs are dominant to the east of the block while salt swells are domi- nant toward the west. Sediment sources are interpreted from the west and north- west. Amalgamated sand-filled chan- nels and turbidite aprons, with large areas of overbanks (sands, silts, and shales) are the dominant depositional features.

“All of the BC-10 oil fields are deepwa- ter sand-dominated turbidite reservoirs with different structure and stratigraphy closures. Ostra is an Upper Cretaceous age sandy turbidite valley system draped over a salt dome. Abalone is

a salt flank, mini-basin ponded Ceno-

manian turbidite system. Argonauta-BW

is a Lower Paleogene channel belt

complex of turbidite sands with a com- bination of structure drape and strati- graphic closure. Argonauta-ON is an Eocene age stratigraphically controlled, sandy turbidite apron.”

BC-10 is off the continental shelf, on the lower slope, in waters ranging in depth between 4,600 and 6,560 ft (1,400 and 2,000 m). There is evidence of extensive subsea landslides throughout the area as vast masses of sediment sloughed off the shelf and cascaded down the slope. This is seen in the tur- biditic nature of the rock extending from

the mudline down into the reservoir itself. Detailed geomechanical studies con- ducted for shallow-drilling hazards eval- uation from the seabed down about 135 ft (41 m) below the mudline uncov- ered a field of scattered mass transport deposits, which consisted of huge buried chunks of sediment “floating” in

a sea of debris, the artifacts of recent

landslides off the continental shelf. At deeper levels, as if to complicate the

BC-10 Discoveries Argonauta-ON, Argonauta-OS Accumulations Argonauta-BW, Nautilus Accumulation Ostra Accumulation
BC-10 Discoveries
Argonauta-ON, Argonauta-OS Accumulations
Argonauta-BW, Nautilus Accumulation
Ostra Accumulation
Nautilus Accumulation
Abalone Accumulation
Cretaceous Salt - mobile substrate
Source Rock: Lagoa Feia

The stratigraphic sequence at BC-10 indicates a complex column with post-salt discover- ies in the Ubatuba and Namorado formations.

evaluation, several salt diapirs thrust upward from beneath the reservoir cre-

ating extensive faulting. The reservoir itself is challenging, consisting of Paleo- gene and Cretaceous age sediments that are largely unconsolidated with complex mineralogy. The strata at Ostra were characterized by a very narrow window between the fracture pressure gradient; that is, the pressure at which the rock would fracture and pore pres- sure gradient, the pressure of the fluid occupying pores in the rock. Drilling under these conditions is inherently risky. If mud pressure is too low, an influx of formation fluid could enter the borehole, possibly initiating a blowout

or the formation may become unstable

and collapse. Conversely, if mud pres- sure is too high, the formation could

fracture and drilling fluid could be lost, damaging the formation and leading to

a potential blowout.

damaging the formation and leading to a potential blowout. “The rock physics models derived from the

“The rock physics models derived from the well data and the resulting modeled seismic responses were validated early in the discovery phase.”

—Shell geophysicist Gunnar Holmes

According to Holmes, “The rock physics models derived from the well data and the resulting modeled seismic responses were validated early in the discovery phase. Additional wells pro- vided refinements but no contradictions to the rock physics model that sustained successful seismic amplitude and attrib-

ute work. Definition of direct hydrocar- bon indicators (DHI) amplitudes for many of the initial wells in the first tier, high probability of success (PoS) prospects, was not difficult: the ampli- tude extremes are highly correlated to the hydrocarbon accumulations and the prospects generally had multiple DHI

BC-60 (PBR) BC-10

The Parque das Conchas: Four Shell-operated BC-10 area production licenses are shown in red. Extensive Petrobras development can be seen to the west of the BC-10 fields in the Parque das Baleis.

attributes. On the other hand, the sec- ond tier of prospects with spotty to low amplitudes was often difficult to refine, and even with additional analyses, the PoS could not be improved above 50%. To resolve geologic and geo- physical questions within BC-10, we conducted reprocessing projects on smaller field areas within BC-10, to follow up specific field discoveries and support appraisal work, as well as development activities.”

The determination of Shell’s geoscientists to follow the clues revealed by the data enabled the generation of increasingly valuable information through additional analyses. By collaborating with many Shell and vendor experts, an investment- grade reservoir model evolved that con- tinues to provide useful information and that will be invaluable when additional development wells are considered.

Challenges Despite the drilling risks, seismic explo- ration of the area was promising and was complemented by data from wells on the continental shelf and continental slope between the BC-10 block and the Brazilian coast. Further encouragement to proceed on the BC-10 development came from the fact that the task was well within the realm of possibility—proven technology existed to characterize the reservoir and implement its exploitation. With the technical hurdles deemed solv- able, the only remaining challenges were purely economic ones—could an economically attractive and sustainable solution be found to achieve reasonable recovery factors for the medium to heavy crude, safely and with concern for the environment?

Shell’s involvement When thinking about the BC-10 project, one theme consistently rises to the surface. The project is a textbook example of coordination. How else could one characterize a program whose diverse and technologically complex phases were simultaneously conducted in

different locations around the world, and ultimately executed so successfully? Using a multinational, multicultural team operating in a number of different time zones and integrating the hardware, software, and labor of more than two dozen separate suppliers amounted to orchestration on a global scale.

In a macro-sense, the major compo- nents of the project can be segmented

into seven separate efforts: exploration and appraisal, permitting, development drilling, facilities construction, well completion, subsea installation and tieback, final assembly and commis- sioning. But most of these activities were carried out concurrently on a global scale. That they all came together seamlessly on time and on budget is a tribute to the ingenuity and perseverance of the team members.

to the ingenuity and perseverance of the team members. The Enhanced Pacesetter design, six-column semisubmersible

The Enhanced Pacesetter design, six-column semisubmersible Stena Tay was converted for deepwater service in 1999 as the demand for deepwater units soared. Its water depth capacity is 7,546 ft (2,300 m).

Coordination was the name of the game, both in the macro sense and in the micro sense. Like the precise move- ment of chess pieces on a chessboard,

individual offshore activities had to be carefully sequenced, so there were no clashes, and no gaps in critical work flows. The comings and goings of each vessel were not only timed to ensure no two vessels were scheduled

to occupy the same space at the same

time, but the needs of indigenous fishermen in the area had to be taken into account. If even one vessel was

delayed for any reason, the result was

a “domino-effect’ that cascaded

through the plan, often necessitating

a total plan rebuild.

through the plan, often necessitating a total plan rebuild. “Coordination is not something you do once;

“Coordination is not something you do once; it is a continuous 24/7 job from launch to first oil.”

—Shell offshore coordinator Mark Kite

coordination was required so some could work simultaneously without com- promising safety. This required gaining the respect and cooperation of several workgroups both within and outside the company. Naturally each group was looking after its own interests. I had to convince them to focus on ‘best-for- project’ solutions.”

Kite continued, “Deepwater offshore vessel costs are very high. For example, rig spread costs were more than US $1 million/day. Pipeline lay barges cost upwards of $700,000/day, and a great deal of money might have been lost if a vessel were required to standby while another vessel completed an activity. In addition, the added time would have delayed first oil.”


Asked to explain how the challenges were successfully addressed, Kite said, “Planning and communications. We needed to have good plans that were communicated to all stakeholders. But most important, we needed built-in flexi- bility to react to changes. A big part of our success was gaining the coopera- tion and respect of the other [Shell] team leaders and the clear understand- ing that we were all working towards a common goal. The success we experi- enced was exceptional. We had very little downtime and first oil was in line with the P10 [most optimistic] schedule. Many times delays were avoided by only a matter of a few hours, and often, when one vessel experienced problems, another pitched in to help out. I recall a specific example when the umbilical cable laying vessel helped the drilling rig by providing remotely operated vehicle support.”

A well-coordinated SIMOPS plan rever- berates throughout the project, and can eliminate or at least minimize logistics problems, project delays, conflicts, and most important, safety incidents. “Coor- dination is not something you do once,” Kite concluded. “It is a continuous 24/7 job from launch to first oil. No matter how well the project is planned, some- thing will come up that requires a change. Fortunately, we knew this from the start, so we had contingency plans we could implement while we re- grouped to get back on the main plan. I’m proud to say that the project was completed with minimum to no vessel standby charges and early first oil.”

Shell offshore coordinator Mark Kite explained the challenges of coordinat- ing simultaneous operations (SIMOPS). “A key objective was to minimize the time from project launch to first oil.

Coordinating the activities of multiple vessels, sometimes numbering as many as 10, was a major challenge. Our goal was to minimize vessel downtime

or standby time. Many of the vessels’

work scopes conflicted with each other

due to their physical location, and



Depths Below Mud Line 950m 1200m 2450m Ostra is very shallow and it is difficult
Depths Below
Mud Line
Ostra is very shallow and it is difficult to turn the boreholes to the
horizontal through these relatively soft overburden muds into the
reservoir oil sands.
Location Map
Depth (mbsl)
Depth (mbsl)

A 3-D seismic line through the BC-10 block illustrates the complex post-salt structure and

closeness to the mudline (seabed), the principle challenge for the drillers.

Good citizenship The coordination involved more than logistics. Government permits had to be obtained, bids tendered, and contracts written. The local population had to be kept informed and their rights taken into account. Unlike many nations with off- shore production, Brazil has given cer- tain rights to the inhabitants of coastal communities regarding the development of offshore areas lying opposite their vil- lages. These rights must be honored, and permission must be obtained at the local level before operations could com- mence. Coastal communities actually hold a stake in the hydrocarbons pro- duced from off their shores, and these stakes must be clearly established and agreed to in advance. In addition, all equipment and supplies brought to the project from outside Brazil had to receive customs clearance and any duties paid. This was true even for items that never actually landed in Brazil, but were brought into the coastal waters with the floating production storage and offload- ing (FPSO) vessel. All of the above items fall under the category of “good citizen- ship” and Shell was determined and totally committed to be a good citizen. This meant going above and beyond the minimum requirements, and taking a pro- active stance to ensure that Shell, its employees, and its contractors were viewed as highly desirable members of the community at large.

Two areas stand out as excellent exam- ples of community stewardship. Not surprisingly, the first was the extension of Shell’s HSSE initiatives to all contrac- tors, subcontractors, and stakeholders. Not satisfied to simply establish a safe workplace offshore with “zero incident” objectives, the company rigorously enforced its Life Saving Rules on all service and supply companies, on land or offshore, engaged in the project. Secondly, the company supported environmental groups in monitoring activities to ensure that none were detrimental to the local populations of whales or other sea creatures. This

extended to fish and oyster farms along the coast. The concerns of the commer- cial fishing community were addressed.

A perfect example of Shell’s safety

commitment played out onshore. A Brazilian pipe yard was engaged to

assemble and apply protective coating

to the miles of riser pipe that would be

needed. On an initial inspection of the facility, it was observed that a pipe- coating machine had no emergency shut-down switch. Shell insisted that the operation be discontinued until the machine could be retrofitted. A few days later, a worker’s coat became entangled in the feed mechanism. Trapped, he was being inexorably drawn into the machine where he most certainly would have been maimed or killed. The worker was able to push

have been maimed or killed. The worker was able to push The Transocean Deepwater Naviga- tor

The Transocean Deepwater Naviga- tor underwent a US $305 million conversion in 2000 to bring it back to drilling mode, increasing its water depth capacity from 2,500 to 7,218 ft (762 to 2,200 m) and modernizing its drill floor equipment. Added flotation sponsons can be seen along the sides of the drillship.

the emergency button, stopping the machine, and was subsequently disen- gaged from the feed mechanism by his colleagues. By refusing to turn a blind eye to workplace hazards not on com- pany property, the Shell inspector likely was responsible for saving a life.

Early planning Between the initial BC-10 discovery in 2000 and 2005, an aggressive

Trained teams tagged and monitored the whale population using sophisticated elec- tronic beacons and GPS

Trained teams tagged and monitored the whale population using sophisticated elec- tronic beacons and GPS devices, analyz- ing the animals’ movements and behavior in the vicinity of the BC-10 block to prevent infringement on habitats or traditional migration lanes.

exploration and appraisal program was followed to map the field and delineate its reservoirs. Four separate reservoirs were identified: Ostra, Abalone, Arg- onauta B-West, and Argonauta O- North. The decision was made to develop the prospect as a cluster devel- opment in two phases. First, the Ostra, Abalone, and Argonauta B-West fields would be developed in Phase I; then Argonauta O-North would follow in Phase II. The fields were named after indigenous shellfish from the area, using their Portugese names. Accordingly, the BC-10 area was named “Parque das Conchas,” meaning “Shell Park.” In December 2005, a Declaration of Commerciality was signed with ANP (the Brazilian National Petroleum Agency) and the project was sanctioned in November 2006.

During the exploration period, the objec- tive was to gather sufficient information to put together a development plan. Seismic analyses were conducted by Shell to refine specific prospect areas and the uncertainties prior to drilling.

As each well was drilled, it was logged extensively. All seismic, drilling and log- ging data were integrated, forming the kernel from which a comprehensive 3-D reservoir model would be derived. In all, 13 wells were drilled with six field dis- coveries, and all of the subsurface infor- mation enabled the partners to write a compelling Declaration of Commercial- ity for submission to the government.

The exploration drilling was conducted by the dynamically positioned semisub- mersible drilling unit Stena Tay and the dynamically positioned drillship Deepwater Navigator.

Because of the water depth, a subsea development and production scheme was envisaged. The decision was made to gather all production from each field, perform initial processing on the seabed, then boost the production up to an FPSO vessel, moored at a more-or-less central location. During the early planning stage, a search was begun for such a vessel.


A series of community meetings was held, and members of the local pop- ulation were encouraged to share any concerns.

held, and members of the local pop- ulation were encouraged to share any concerns. 12 June

BC-10 Execution Level 1 Schedule

Status: January 2010

2009 2010 Phase I 2007 2008 Start Finish 1 2 3 4 1 2 3
Phase I
3 4
3 4
3 4
3 4
Design & Precurement
Hull Conversion
Design & Precurement
Design & Precurement
Preinstall Mooring
Design & Precurement
Integration & Commissioning
Transport & Install
Riser Pull-ins
Mill Run & Coating
Pipeline & Flowline Installations
Manifold Installations
Jumper Installations
Install Umbilicals
THS/Tree Deliveries
PLET Deliveries
& ALM1 Manifold Deliveries
PM2 & ALM2 Manifold Deliveries
Subsea Control System Deliveries
Complete Precom F/L & Umbl.
Abalone Appraisal - AW
BW Production
BW Appraisal
Abalone Production - AW
Gas Disposal
First Oil Abalone (A West)
First Oil
= Offshore
= Design
= Fabrication
= Deliveries
= Permits
= Integration

A typical project

time/activity chart

illustrates how simul- taneous components

of the project were

managed to result

in a seamless

assembly, on time and on budget.

(L1) = D & C, trees and ALM installation; (L2) = Risers, flowlines, jumpers, manifolds and flying leads installation

Health, Safety, Security, and the Environment TOTAl COMMITMEnT CHARACTERIzES BC-10 PROjECT A proactive strategy on

Health, Safety, Security, and the Environment


A proactive strategy on health, safety, security, and the environment pays off.

areas, but HSSE cannot be measured by the number of plaques on a manager’s wall; it is a mind-set―an attitude― that must permeate the conscious and uncon- scious acts of every employee, every contractor, and every stakeholder. HSSE begins with sharing a culture of commitment with all affected parties, by setting the example, employing best industry practices in every endeavor, and providing leadership.

Fostering this attitude in such a way that it permeates the vast universe that constitutes the BC-10 area of influence

starts at the top. Robert Patterson, Shell’s vice president of Upstream Major Projects, Americas, said, “Our ability to work as a team internally, and our ability to partner with others externally, should stand as an example of cultural, technological, and sustain- able diversity. The conventional wis- dom is that you can’t do this sort of thing; you can’t break the team up, spread them over multiple time-zones, challenge them on several levels, some outside their discipline, and expect results—but we did. The BC-10 story is one of bringing people together in a

The BC-10 saga is a story of great technical and scientific achievement. But it would never have been told without a simultaneous proactive and aggressive commitment to health, safety, security, and the environment (HSSE).

Shell’s HSSE record on the BC-10 project serves as a shining example of what can be achieved through total commitment. Impressive records were set in many

common theme, working together to achieve a goal, bringing the very best to bear, and

common theme, working together to achieve a goal, bringing the very best to bear, and accomplishing something that’s truly remarkable.”

Kent Stingl, BC-10 project manager, added, “This element of partnering is not just an internal one, nor is it limited to our suppliers. It also includes the local community and the environment in which we work. We wanted to ensure that our immediate neighbors were informed and involved from the begin- ning, just as we wanted the global community to know we were protecting their environmental interests as well. In this regard, our corporate policies of no harm to people and protection of the environment stood us in good stead.”

Ignorance is the worst enemy of a proj- ect of this sort. If the stakeholders don’t know what’s going on or whether it affects them personally, speculation

Shell was determined to leave the beautiful Brazilian coastal environment untouched by hydrocarbon development

just offshore. (Photo courtesy of Shell)

and conjecture can poison their ability to behave or think reasonably. Accord- ingly, Shell adopted an “open-stance” from the very beginning of the project, holding popular town meetings with interested and affected parties from all over Brazil. These events included transportation and accommodations for three days. Every aspect of the

project was discussed, questions were addressed, and follow-ups were imple- mented where necessary.

In Brazil, the indigenous population shares in the profit from development in the sea offshore from its communities, so the people were indeed stakehold- ers. Others, like the fishermen, were

were indeed stakehold- ers. Others, like the fishermen, were “Our ability to work as a team

“Our ability to work as a team internally, and…to partner with others exter- nally, should stand as an example of cultural, technological, and sustainable diversity.”

—Robert Patterson, Shell’s vice president of Upstream Major Projects, Americas

BC-10 TOP 10 HSSE Risks 26 Jun 09

Note: This is to support regular discussion (based on judgement, not structured assessment), and ensure focus; items may move up and others move down. This list can also aid those visiting worksites to maximise their contribution by focussing in the right place. – BC-10 covers a very wide geographical area; risks vary by location. Focus is on controls required now (rather than design stage). – Visible management commitment to HSSE is acknowledged as the most important management system component.

Have the risks been identified? Are the barriers in place? Is there visible reinforcement at the worksite?



Main Barriers


People falling from heights (into holes, from working platforms, collapse of structures) resulting in major injury or death

Risk assessment Competent supervision Effective toolbox talks Physical, clearly visible barriers Adequate lighting Good housekeeping Approved scaffolding structure Fall arrestor securely in place


Failure of objects under tension, resulting in major injury or death

Inspection of lines Assessment by competent persons of loading Toolbox talks Physical barriers, separation distance


Assaults on personnel or their families

Security induction Avoidance of high risk areas Awareness and minimisation of profile Appropriate response if confronted Selection of suitable location and housing JMP compliance


For lifts:


Dropped objects – falling onto people resulting in major injury or death

PTW and associated controls Competence of L1 & 2 critical positions Competent supervision Effective toolbox talks Controlled lift area Effective communications Sound lifting procedure Pre-use inspection Functioning safety devices Operation within environmental limits Area below remains clear of personnel Work carried out only when weather does not jeopardise safety


A number of fatal or near fatal injuries recently in other projects when

workers removed boards or planks and fell through a hole below.

Recent MOB with plywood board covering hole and earlier fall down ladder on vessel.

Fatal incidents elsewhere: The addition of the hatch in the walkway should have been risk assessed and a MOC process followed. Better to not install these hatches.

Risk assessment hierarchy: Avoid, prevent or mitigate falls.

Leadership reinforcement of toolbox talks required.

Spooling, guy & support cables, anchor chains, tow & barge tie-off ropes, slings.

Testing of vessel propulsion system shall not be carried out whilst moored.

Review of spooling activities has taken place.

Shell lifting and hoisting.

Numerous high potential consequence incidents recently eg during riser pull-in.

Brazil mostly, numerous incidents involving attack on pedestrians and car jacking.

Exposure increased by travelling alone.

A means of contact when travelling and location details are

helpful for recovery and assurance if delayed return.

Location for residence, temporary stay and travel.

Residence should meet security recommendations.

Recent incident in Copacabana involving spiked drinks.

Incident in Nov 08 resulted in fractures.

Huge amount of lifts has taken place; both major lifts of items onto the FPSO and more routine lifts. Major lifts onto FPSO now complete.

Numerous dropped object hi-potential incidents at Singapore yards.

For major lifts, lift plan signed off by technical authority.

Many of the controls listed will be within a specific PTW.

Crane operators and riggers are L1 critical.

Hard hat has prevented significant injury in a number

of recent small object incidents

(Table courtesy of Shell)



Main Barriers



Dropped objects – falling onto people resulting in major injury or death

Non-lifts – objects being carried or objects positioned at height:

Equipment and tools may fall

Toolbox talks Housekeeping Inspections Protect area below e.g. netting or restrict access3 point contact when using ladders Toe boards on scaffolding Kick plates around openings in floors.

Tools not to be held when using ladders


Incorrectly secured tools when using ladders or stairways have led to injuries to others.

Falling unsecured equipment or construction material has led to injuries.



window (1x.3 m) with a known hinge defect fell from

crane cab fell 6 m, Jun 09.

For stacked pipes Suitable piperacks

Leading causes of storage rack failure: Poor design; incorrect installation and assembly; wrong handling equipment to load and pipe; operator error; and structural problems with the storage area.


Marine vessel collision or sinking leading to major injury or death

Competence Marine standards implemented Adverse weather policy


significant marine presence now exists in Brazil, plus

the FPSO is heading to Brazil.

A significant ballast incident occurred recently, rapidly causing


a 10 deg+ list.


Helicopter crash

Competence Aircraft standards implemented Adverse weather policy Simops plan

Mar 09, Nov 08: Crew change flight not meeting Shell requirements. Helicopter transport is always a noticeable component of offshore fatal accident rate.


Competence includes escape and survival training for passengers.

Shell Aircraft involved in aviation contractor selection and Helideck audits.


Loss of control while driving – includes pipe transport by forklift (with and without pipe clamps) resulting in major injury or death.

Drivers Competent drivers inc no use of phones etc Fitness to drive Implementation of JMPs Suitable vehicles – inc seat belts Consequence management for non-compliance Secured loads – inc pipes Passengers Intervention if necessary Use of seatbelts

Includes loss of control by third parties. Ref EP2005. Also links to security risks. Inc defensive driving training. Fitness includes not under influence of drugs or alcohol.


Passenger’s refusal of unsafe transport.



Competence Use of locks and tags at isolation points Testing and monitoring of isolation

Risk increases at commissioning.


PTW should cover the control stated and other requirements.


Systems under pressure generating missiles, resulting in major injury or death.

JSA, PTW, toolbox talks Physical barriers, separation distance Signs warning of hazard

Hydro-testing, pigging. Recent incident on FPSO during leak testing. Avoid pneumatic testing.


Fire or explosion due to ignition of hydrocarbons

Competence Effective management of change Inspection and verification of critical systems PtW system

Emerging risk as we move towards first oil.

concerned that the project might destroy their livelihood with pollution, or in some way drive the fish away from their traditional spawning or feeding areas. Farther offshore, environ- mentalists were interested to learn if operations would disturb the habits of sea mammals like whales.

Every single one of these issues was addressed. Shell assisted in mariculture, helping establish oyster breeding grounds and fish farms. The company maintained a “whale watch” and sup- ported a whale tagging and monitor- ing program so environmentalists could study and evaluate any changes in the whales’ behavior possibly attributable to offshore development. In a practical sense, Shell closely coordinated the movement of the myriad of vessels nec- essary for such a comprehensive devel- opment project to ensure that marine traffic jams did not materialize that would disturb the local fishing, recre- ational, and sea transport activities.

Do no harm, leave no footprint The process was not limited to the sea. Shell also recognized the impact of air and land transport on the local commu- nities. Major freeways and road net- works are not found in the coastal area of Espirito Santo state, and clogging the existing roads with 18-wheelers hauling supplies to support Shell projects did not project the good neighbor image Shell was determined to create. All these activities were coordinated with sustainable development objectives in mind. Do no harm, leave no footprint.

Another aspect of being a good neigh- bor and desirable development partner is scrupulous adherence to the law. Shell proactively implemented a strictly enforced and clearly communicated policy governing contracts, taxes, import/export duties, and local content. As many of the contracts as possible were negotiated with Brazilian compa- nies or companies with manufacturing facilities in Brazil. Brazilian nationals

with manufacturing facilities in Brazil. Brazilian nationals “We addressed the risks and identified the most

“We addressed the risks and identified the most appropriate controls from the boardroom to the worksite.”

—Robert Parker, HSSE manager

were hired. These policies were commu- nicated to all would-be subcontractors and suppliers who were expected to become good neighbors too.

The main contractors included Brazilian Deepwater Floating Terminals, a joint venture of SBM and MISC which own and operate the floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessel; Subsea 7, onshore fabricators and off- shore installers of pipelines, flowlines, risers and jumpers, and installation of umbilicals manifolds and subsea distri- bution hardware; FMC-Brazil, fabrica- tors of subsea trees, controls, and artificial lift modules; and Transocean, drilling and completion operations. Contracts with these providers included HSSE compliance elements, as well as tax, legal, and financial aspects.

By insisting on an open operational and negotiating culture, Shell won the confidence of Brazil’s Federal Environ- mental Agency and the Brazilian Navy, two agencies that wield considerable influence in the granting of operating licenses. A total of six critical licenses were applied for, vetted, and approved with no delays to ongoing construction and operations.

Robert Parker, HSSE manager, explained how the team implemented the commitment to continuous improve- ment: “We addressed the risks and identified the most appropriate controls from the boardroom to the worksite. We supported our contractors directly,

by deploying safety coaches, and indi- rectly, by conducting focused reviews of safety at the workplace. But we also

challenged our contractors to drive their own improvements. We created a dynamic Top-10 list of HSSE risks, and focused on the barriers that need to be

in place to manage those risks.”

A popular newsletter was launched. It

not only spread risk awareness but kept the BC-10 team apprised of progress in each facet of the project, no matter where the activity was located. Staff in Brazil could see the shape of things to come by seeing photographs of progress on the FPSO halfway around the world.

In the area of health, proactive steps

were taken to protect workers from local seasonal diseases such as den- gué fever. Shell’s Diving Center of Excellence was called in early to pro- vide greater assurance over the diving activities, where errors quickly develop into fatal accidents. Interactive health and safety meetings were held in the shipyard to change the culture of hun- dreds of workers so they would under- stand the benefits of good practices for themselves and their co-workers. Rewards were given for identification and reporting of hazards. These were just a few of the proactive steps initi- ated by Shell and its contractors.

By relentlessly pursuing its “no harm

to people” philosophy, the BC-10 proj-

ect has made significant strides toward Shell’s “Goal Zero” target. n

The hull was taken to the Keppel Shipyard in Singapore to be inspected for upgrading and conversion to an FPSO.

(Photo courtesy of Shell)

Surface Production


Designed in Monaco and assembled in Singapore, the surface production facili- ties can efficiently process 75,000 b/d of water injection, 100,000 b/d of oil, and 50 MMscf/d of gas.

Water depth limited the number of options for producing the BC-10 fields. The fields could be developed 100% subsea with tieback to shore via a long pipeline similar to the technique employed at Ormen Lange, or by a com- bination of subsea production modules tied back to a floating production facil- ity. The great distance from the coast, water depth, and nature of the pro- duced well fluids favored the latter technique. Another important decision was to choose the type of floating production facility to be used.

In selecting the production facility type, the principle decision factors included fluid volume capacity and production rate, size and weight of required sur- face processing equipment, number of

risers, and, of course, cost. A wide variety of production systems is presently employed offshore Brazil, so there is an excellent base of historical data and experience to support the decision- making process.

The FPSO All factors being considered, Shell chose to use an FPSO. Although there are many FPSOs in operation around the world, it should be noted there is really little similarity between them, except perhaps in the area of storage. The processing trains located topside on the vessels are custom-designed to handle the specific production from the field(s) being produced. Accordingly, it is highly unlikely that an FPSO designed for one field can be relocated to another. So the story of the BC-10 production starts with the story of the FPSO, and can be divided into three parts—the hull, the topsides, and the turret. A fourth part, equally important, is the story of the mooring system.

Hull—Shell selected a very large crude carrier, the Japanese-built, 1975-vintage, single-hull steam turbine tanker T.T. Niel- stor. The vessel was originally employed as a trading tanker until 1992; then it was converted to a floating storage and off-take unit and re-named the XV Domy, operating offshore Nigeria until 2003. After being taken out of service for two years, the hull was taken to the Keppel Shipyard in Singapore to be inspected for upgrading and conversion to an FPSO.

While the hull was marketed for conver- sion by owner SBM, Keppel Shipyard began the task of removing corroded steelwork. As work progressed, surveyors were able to refine their estimates to return the vessel to a “like new” condition with a 20-year life expectancy. With the feasi- bility study completed to the satisfaction of Shell, the vessel’s owners, the classing society (ABS), and the insurers, BDFT, a joint venture between SBM and MISC, signed a contract with Keppel, and the steel replacement and hull refurbishment

To achieve the required double-sided configuration, 10-ft (3-m) wide sponsons were attached to the FPSO

To achieve the required double-sided configuration, 10-ft (3-m) wide sponsons were attached to the FPSO hull on both sides over 90% of the vessel’s length.

(Photo courtesy of Shell)

commenced. Meanwhile, naval archi- tects and marine engineers from Shell and SBM began the task of designing the overall conversion and establishing a reasonable expected time schedule. The work was conducted at SBM’s offices in Monaco. Plans included upgrades that Shell felt were necessary, the most exten- sive of which was the vessel’s conver- sion to a double-sided design. Shell’s commitment to safety and environmental protection required that all prudent steps be taken to protect against a spill of produced fluids into the sea.

and conversion at the shipyard. He said that one of the biggest challenges was ensuring the safety of the workers. With the excellent cooperation of SBM and Keppel Shipyard, safe working condi- tions were established. These included adequate lighting inside the hull as well as positive ventilation in confined spaces. Many of the shipyard workers were immigrants from other countries; as a result, as many as 19 different lan- guages were known to be spoken. With different languages and cultures, one of the critical tasks was to establish effec- tive safety training. Safety is more than wearing hard hats and safety boots, it involves communication so each worker is aware of what others around him are

doing and being alert to spot hazards and warn co-workers. Shell, SBM, and

Keppel established a program of safety classes during shift changes and breaks that were very effective. Muirhead explained, “Through a series of safety meetings, workers learned the benefits

of safe work practices and cooperated

fully with enforced rules. To their credit, the workers responded positively and adapted quickly to the improved condi-

tions and work practices.” The effects on quality and efficiency were so tangible that the program spread quickly to other projects ongoing in the area. Improve- ment was noticeable. “One of the most

difficult habits to break was the failure

to wear safety eye protection, but by

project’s end, we were getting excellent compliance,” Muirhead said.

Not counting the sponsons, the total

steel replaced in restoring the hull to

a like-new condition was more than 5,000 tons. The sponsons added

another 5,400 tons. In all, the addition

of tanks, bulkheads and foundation

structures to support the proposed top- sides and the turret amounted to 17,700 tons. To restore its corrosion resistance, the hull was blasted to bare metal and six coats of marine paint were applied. An impressed current cathodic protection system was installed. Internal tanks were also part

The double-sided protection was achieved by designing 10-ft (3-m) wide sponsons that extend for almost
The double-sided protection was achieved
by designing 10-ft (3-m) wide sponsons
that extend for almost the full length of the
ship’s hull on both port and starboard
sides from just below the gunwales to the
empty-hull waterline.
Shell project engineer Tom Muirhead pro-
vided oversight during the refurbishment
Topsides modules comprise three
separation trains of two stages each—
a plumber’s dream. (Photo courtesy of Shell)

blasted and coated to protect the steel, as were the full internal surfaces of the sponsons.

The ship’s engines and boilers were refurbished so the vessel could sail under its own power to Brazil from Singapore. Subsequently, the ship’s steam boilers will be used to operate steam turbine generators to provide electrical power to operate the FPSO and all seabed modules. The boilers can be fueled by heavy oil, diesel, or field gas. Field gas is the preferred fuel with diesel as backup.

To honor the Brazilian state off of which the BC-10 FPSO was to be moored, the ship was named Espirito

Santo. It is owned by a joint venture between SBM and MISC and is under

owned by a joint venture between SBM and MISC and is under “Through a series of

“Through a series of safety meetings, workers learned the benefits of safe work practices and cooperated fully with enforced rules.”

—Shell project engineer Tom Muirhead

The three separation trains are required to satisfy Brazilian allocation and metering regulations. One train serves Ostra and Abalone production which can be com- mingled. The other trains handle Arg- onauta B-West and O-North, respectively, even though the latter is not in operation

at this time. The second stage separators


long-term lease to Shell and its co-

are needed to heat and process the crude

venturers, Petrobras, and ONGC.


achieve allocation quality requirements


they can be commingled later in the

Topsides —Consisting of three separa- tion trains of two stages each, the top- sides is capable of processing and metering production from all four BC- 10 fields. This is not as easy as it sounds. Argonauta B-West produces heavy crude oil in the 16° to 18°API range. Argonauta O-North, which will be developed as part of Phase II scheduled for completion in 2013,

is expected to contain similar heavy

crude. However, the Ostra field contains 24° API crude while Abalone contains light gas condensate of 42°API gravity. The topsides modules were built in Singa- pore by Dyna-Mac and BT Engineering and were installed atop the hull using heavy-lift mobile cranes.

process. Following separation and meter- ing in their individual trains, the produced fluids from each source are combined and treated in a single bulk oil treater. Gas released in the process is compressed and routed to the gas injection well located about 5 ½ miles (9 km) away near the Ostra subsea complex. Ultimately, the gas

will be transported via subsea pipeline to link with a Petrobras line being constructed

in 2010, and then to shore. As in most

field processing facilities, some of the gas is siphoned off to run heaters, tur- bines, and engines on board the FPSO

to satisfy various requirements.

A very innovative heat recovery and

recycling technique was employed.

FPSO Espirito Santo with its modules

identified. (Image courtesy of SBM Offshore)





Fuel Gas M Turret Topsides Ostra Gas M M Gas/A/BW M Ostra Oil M P
Fuel Gas
Ostra Gas
Ostra Oil
2nd St.
2nd St.
2nd St.
Hull Tanks

Heat application is critical at various stages in the process to prevent the for- mation of scale, or the precipitation of wax, asphaltenes and hydrates that clog tubulars. Heat also speeds up the sepa- ration process. Instead of allowing the heat from the bulk oil treater to dissipate into the atmosphere, recycled water at 250°F (121°C) from the treater was piped to heat exchangers where a sig- nificant percentage of the heat was cap- tured and used to heat the second stage separators up to 230°F (110°C) to facil- itate water separation in that stage. The water does not mix with the crude oil in the separator; it merely transfers its heat. Up to 33% of the heat energy was recovered and reused to facilitate the process and reduce costs. After the water transfers its heat, it is cleaned and treated to acceptable environmental standards for safe disposal into the sea.

Another innovation that pays big divi- dends was the ability to re-circulate processed crude, called “dead oil” (meaning all dissolved gas and water have been removed). On the seabed are several very large pumps that

“boost” the produced liquids from the seafloor more than a mile (1.6 km) to the FPSO. If these pumps lose their prime during startup, they can undergo consid- erable damage up to and including destruction. Accordingly, arrangements were made in the design to remove a small amount of dead oil from the FPSO’s storage tanks and send it back to the seabed to maintain the prime on the subsea pumps. While this is an effective solution as far as the pumps are concerned, any dead oil used for this purpose must be carefully metered so it is not counted twice. A total of 20 alloca- tion meters (M) are used throughout the process to keep track of the various liq- uids and gases as they travel through the maze. At the final stage are the fiscal meters (FM) that measure the crude oil and gas that is leaving the FPSO. Fuel gas is considered to be consumed in the process and is not required to pass through the fiscal meter.

Turret —The internal turret is the key component linking the subsea system to the FPSO. Built by SBM, the turret is a marvel of engineering. Occupying

Topsides processing

schematic. (Image courtesy of Shell)

about 20% of the bow space of the FPSO, the turret accepts all production fluid that enters the vessel from the seabed modules. It also transmits all power, hydraulic pressure, and data between the FPSO and the subsea system using a series of highly complex umbilical conduits. Because the FPSO moves with wind and current and the seabed modules are stationary, the tur- ret contains swivels that allow the FPSO to “weathervane” 360° as needed. The swivels are configured with an “over-pressurization” system to prevent external leakage, and a leak recovery system to contain any hydrocarbon that bypasses the swivel seals.

The turret acts as the upper terminus of the steel lazy-wave risers that carry pro- duced fluid from the seabed (or act as conduits for dead oil circulation) and the umbilicals that control the subsea modules and wellheads. A total of 21 riser and umbilical slots are contained in the turret. Some FPSOs, notably those located in hurricane- or iceberg- prone seas, have “quick-disconnect” features so the FPSO can sail away to safety in the event of an approaching hazard. Fortunately, neither hurricanes nor icebergs plague the seas off the coast of Brazil, so this feature was not deemed necessary.

The turret is also the upper terminus of the nine mooring lines. Three clusters of three lines each spaced at 120° intervals run from the turret down to suction pile anchors driven deep into the seabed. Mooring lines are combi- nations of chain and polyester rope. Polyester rope has been proven to be an excellent mooring material. It is not subject to corrosion or rust like steel cable is and it is almost neutrally buoyant in water, thus it does not add weight to the vessel or detract from its variable deck load capacity. The turret is equipped with numerous sets of wheels, called bogies, that run on tracks surrounding the turret and allow 360° movement of the FPSO as it

weathervanes due to the effects of wind and/or sea currents. The multi- bogie design prevents axial and radial movement of the turret while evenly distributing the weight of the ris- ers and mooring lines to the hull of the FPSO so there are no high-stress points no matter which direction the ship’s keel happens to be pointing at the time. Offloading of crude is carried out by traditional shuttle tankers that con- nect to the FPSO using flexible transfer hoses over the stern of the vessel. The FPSO mooring is suffi- ciently robust to moor the shuttle tankers during crude transfer.

Because of occasional episodes of slug flow, it is possible for a high pres- sure surge to hit the turret. To protect against a possible dangerous over- pressure condition, the turret manifold is equipped with a high-integrity pressure protection system (HIPPS) that senses if

The turret is the “cornerstone” of the FPSO. It is the point through which all production, communication and moor- ing between the subsea system and the FPSO must pass. The swivel stack tower atop the turret allows produc- tion, recirculation, hydraulics, power and communications lines to maintain 100% integrity while the vessel swivels with the wind and sea current.

(Image courtesy of SBM Offshore)

the vessel swivels with the wind and sea current. (Image courtesy of SBM Offshore) Parque das
The massive turret with its swivel stack tower on top dominates the bow section of

The massive turret with its swivel stack tower on top dominates the bow section of the FPSO, and provides full, 360-degree weathervaning for the

vessel. (Photo courtey of Shell)

turret pressure rises above safe limits (300 psi) and automatically opens valves that blow down the riser pres- sure to prevent high-pressure fluid from entering the turret swivels that are not rated to withstand high pressures.

Accommodations aboard the Espirito Santo are designed ergonomically so crew members can get the rest, recre- ation, and nourishment they need to operate safely and at peak efficiency. A maximum of 100 persons can be accommodated in one- or two-bed

cabins, although normal crew strength is 75 persons. A large galley and mess area is provided as well as TV lounges and a gymnasium. A hospital and treat- ment room has been included for crew safety and health.

Safety first The central control room controls all onboard and subsea operations includ- ing offloading of production. Video camera monitoring gives control room personnel a view of all critical areas of the vessel and topsides. The blast bulk- head that separates the crew area from the rest of the ship has been raised to an A60 rating, and a safety zone has been established to the aft-most top- sides modules on deck. Sufficient life boats exist to accommodate the entire

crew, and there are strategically placed life rafts around the ship also capable

of accommodating the entire crew.

Safety stations equipped with breathing apparatus, first-aid kits, and defibrilla- tors are also strategically located. A buddy system ensures that no crew member enters a hazard area without a

partner to help or observe the activity.

A helipad overhangs the ship’s stern.

Although gas flaring is not anticipated, there is a flare stack amidships to be used in an emergency.


While the FPSO was being readied for


role in receiving and processing BC-


production, a geoscience team

from Shell, SBM, and Fugro Geocon-

sulting was carefully studying the BC-

10 seabed data for the optimum

places to embed the anchors that would moor the FPSO in place. Anchor design has evolved greatly since the traditional anchor-shape seen on the uniforms of naval personnel. In fact, the anchors used to moor floating drilling and production vessels do not resemble those traditional anchors in the slightest.

The team used data from a combina- tion of piezocone penetrometer tests, jumbo piston cores, gravity cores, and side-scan sonar to analyze the seabed. They discovered that the entire area was quite complex, the result of mas- sive sloughing off the continental shelf. Unlike oil and gas prospectors, they were looking for very low permeability, uniform sedimentary sections; ones that would accept the anchors and main- tain the suction. Instead, they encoun- tered mixed geology containing several large rock masses “floating” in a sea of failed sediment. The plan was to try to identify and locate these masses so they could be avoided. It would be like trying to drive a tent peg and encoun- tering a boulder just beneath the sur- face. Because of the turbiditic nature of the area, development of a predictive soil model was undertaken by the team for the optimization of the mooring

A geoscience team from Shell, SBM, and Fugro Geoconsulting carefully studied the BC-10 seabed data for the optimum places to embed the anchors that would moor the FPSO in place.

anchor locations. The model was based on the integration of the geo- physical survey and the geotechnical data in an area characterized by com- plex and discontinuous sand strata interbedded with clays. The procedure they employed was quite robust and the nine anchor locations that were chosen performed as expected during the installation of the anchors.

Modern anchors intended for perma- nent mooring of vessels are called suc- tion piles and look like long cylinders open at the bottom and closed at the top. On the top there is an opening where a suction hose can be attached.

A length of anchor chain is attached about 20 ft (6 m) from the bottom end. During deployment, the anchor

A topsides module is lifted by a floating crane ready to be placed on the FPSO’s top deck.

(Photo courtesy of Shell)

floating crane ready to be placed on the FPSO’s top deck. (Photo courtesy of Shell) Parque

The seabed near proposed mooring sites was characterized by permeable sand streaks and mass transport deposits, making site selection critical.

(Image courtesy of Shell)


Offset (m):








~3.8 m
1. All materials are inferred.
(Mass T ransport Deposits;
2. All depths and thicknesses are approximate and assume a
speed of sound in sediments of 1,525 m/sec.
chiefly remolded clays with
some thin, discontinuous sands
3. Amplitudes above a relative value of 10,000 are displayed
and erratic shear strength profiles)
to highlight the inferred presence of sands.
The high-amplitude seafloor also appears yellow .
Portion of subbottom profiler line MG19.03

cylinder is suspended vertically on

a cable and lowered to the seafloor

by a special anchor handling vessel (AHV), with the open end down. The cable is slacked off, allowing the anchor to penetrate the seabed of its own weight. Once it stops, a remotely operated vehicle from the AHV attaches to the suction hose and starts to pump out the water from inside the anchor, creating a vacuum

condition inside that literally sucks the anchor deep into the seabed. Depth varies depending on the strength of the seabed; on the BC-10 project, the tips of the anchors reached between 52 and 57 ft (16 and 17.5 m) below the mudline. The anchors planned for the BC-10 installation were 16.5 ft-in- diameter (5.0-m) steel cylinders with

a wall thickness slightly greater than 1 in., so they were quite massive. Anchors were set a good eight months

in advance of the arrival of the FPSO

and allowed to stabilize. Two weeks before the FPSO’s arrival, polyester mooring lines were attached to the anchor chains. The top end of the polyester line was buoyed off, waiting

the arrival of the FPSO. Ultimately, another length of anchor chain was linked to the top end of the polyester lines. This upper chain was used to lock the mooring lines to the turret.

When the FPSO arrived, the AHV

assisted in capturing the upper ends of the mooring chains and attaching them

to their respective mooring sockets on

the bottom of the turret.

The Espirito Santo arrived in Brazil on Dec. 15, 2008, a short 25 months after project sanction. It sailed under its own power from Singapore,

a journey of some 9,000 nautical

miles, and was finally moored on station in January 2009. Pull-in and

connection of the risers and umbilicals from the subsea modules commenced immediately. Through the excellent cooperation of Keppel Shipyard, SBM, and Shell, the project recorded 8.5 million consecutive man-hours without

a lost-time incident. A total of 50

major lifts amounting to more than 22,000 tons were conducted to complete the conversion. n

The huge turret module palls in comparison to the gigantic crane, lifting its load for insertion into the forward section of the FPSO hull.

(Photo courtesy of Shell)

Field pipeline, flowline, and riser schematic includes proposed layout for Argonauta O-North to be completed

Field pipeline, flowline, and riser schematic includes proposed layout for Argonauta O-North to be completed during Phase 2.

(Image courtesy of Shell)

Subsea Production


Most of the BC-10 construction was conducted onshore in Brazil.

Like the dream of Jules Verne’s intrepid Captain Nemo, a virtual city was built on the seabed between 2007 and 2009. Unlike Nemo’s fantasy world that was built subsea, most of the BC- 10 construction was conducted onshore in Brazil. Starting with the bright yellow wellheads designed and manufactured by FMC, seabed mod- ules were built and installed according to the field development master plan. Much of the work was conducted simultaneously with drilling operations, so every step had to be carefully orchestrated and coordinated.

For example, risers and mooring lines pre-laid on the seabed had to be laid in reverse order of their scheduled

hookup to the FPSO so they would not become entangled with each other. A myriad of pipelines, flowlines, and jumpers had to be laid to connect seafloor elements as well as to tie back to the FPSO. This activity had to be carefully designed and coordinated to prevent delays in the schedule, or worse, interference with other lines. The BC-10 field water depth is beyond the reach of divers, so any required manip- ulation had to be conducted using remotely operated vehicles (ROV) con- trolled by technicians on the mothership using joysticks and closed-circuit televi- sion cameras. Although the water is fairly clear, even with the high-intensity lighting systems of the ROVs, visibility was limited. Usually, each vessel oper- ates its own ROV, but at BC-10 the team spirit prevailed, and different con- tractors provided ROV support to others whose equipment was temporarily

down for maintenance. This coopera- tive effort prevented major delays.

Pipelines, flowlines, and risers

A network of pipelines connected the

various wellheads to production mani- folds and then to the artificial lift mani- folds (ALM) that would separate and boost the produced fluids to the surface. Altogether, Phase I called for 10 flow- lines, seven risers, one gas export pipeline, 15 pipeline end terminations (PLET), and four manifolds with 25 rigid steel jumpers. All lines were fabricated

in Brazil and transported to the BC-10

field for installation. Lines ranged from 6

to 12 in. in diameter. Some were

coated to provide thermal insulation.

The water temperature at extreme depths

is near freezing year-round, and the

cold can cause unwanted precipitates, such as wax and hydrates, to form and clog the lines. In all, more than 94 miles

(150 km) of pipe was installed in Phase I to connect the subsea modules and the floating production storage and offload- ing (FPSO) vessel.

On the seabed, flowlines connect the various modules. The most extensive net- work to date is on Ostra, where two pro- duction manifolds are capable of

accommodating four wells each. Initially, Ostra was developed using two clusters

of three wells each. Each cluster was

served by a production manifold (PM). Recently, it was decided to drill an addi- tional (seventh) well on Ostra, so having the extra PM capacity has proven to be fortuitous. The seventh well, which has just been completed, is associated with

wells 1, 2, and 3, and is tied in to their PM. The Ostra PMs are a little more than

a mile (1.6 km) apart, and are linked by

two insulated flowlines. Besides trans- porting produced oil between the PMs, they permit hot-oil circulation during startup to free up the viscous crude and get it moving.

The PMs are connected by jumper lines

to the huge ALMs that will separate

the crude oil and water from the gas and sediment before boosting it up to the FPSO.

Argonauta B-West is a smaller version

of Ostra, having only a single ALM

and no PM to handle production from its two wells. Lines from the subsea wellheads go directly to the ALM at B- West. With only a single well, Abalone connects directly to the Ostra ALM via two 9.5-mile (15.2-km) flow- lines. Dual lines are used to permit hot oil circulation.

On all deepwater subsea field devel- opments, flow assurance is a major

SLWR profile illustrates how buoyancy elements mitigate riser motion caused by wave action at the surface.

(Image courtesy of Shell)

concern. Scale, wax, hydrate, and asphaltene deposits can clog lines over time, curtailing production or cutting it off altogether. Installing a flowline net- work that allows circulation is a practi- cal step to keep the wells flowing. Maintaining the flow lines’ temperature and pressure is the best protection against flow assurance hazards. Injec- tion of chemical inhibitors to the flow- stream is also an effective technique against many of these problems.

Risers The most challenging part of the piping part of the project was the design, con- struction, and installation of the risers. Three riser options were studied in preparation for the BC-10 project: steel catenary risers (SCR), steel lazy-wave risers (SLWR), and flexible risers. While flexible risers were preferred, largely due to considerable experience with this type offshore Brazil, there was no way the flexible pipe manufacturers could meet the delivery requirements, so they were ruled out. SCRs descend in a natural catenary arc from the float- ing production facility to the seabed. As the vessel heaves in the sea swells, the landing point of the catenary becomes an area of some fatigue and

abrasion, and this was deemed unde- sirable. The SLWR includes buoyancy elements installed near the bottom that compensate for vessel motion and reduces riser wear at the touchdown point on the seabed.

In addition to fatigue at the touchdown point, the designers had to worry about vortex-induced vibration (VIV). This phenomenon can be likened to the humming one hears as wind crosses high-tension lines or suspension bridge cables. Meandering subsea currents can set up sympathetic vibra- tions in long risers that can actually destroy them over time. The traditional way to mediate VIV is to attach fin-like strakes to the riser that break up the vortices as the currents pass, thus dampening the vibrations.

Lastly, the designers had to consider interference between adjacent risers and umbilical clusters as they approached the tight confines immediately beneath the turret. They had to include cathodic protection systems to forestall rusting or electrochemical corrosion.

Another critical point in riser design is the upper terminus, where the riser attaches to

critical point in riser design is the upper terminus, where the riser attaches to 30 June

the FPSO. At this point all tension is trans- ferred to the turret, but riser flexure and lat- eral movement must be controlled as well. Long guides called I-tubes help workers pull the risers into position. First a heavy steel cable is threaded down from the pull-in winch on top of the turret through the I-tube. This cable will connect to the shackle at the riser top to reel them in.

The risers were assembled into “stalks” of predetermined lengths by Subsea 7 at its Ubu base on the Brazilian coast. The joints were specially welded using a pulsed TIG process that produces ductile welds, and thoroughly inspected using 360-degree ultrasonic testing apparatus. Once the welds were certified, the pipe was coated with various types of insula- tion and/or corrosion protection mate- rial. The complete riser fabrication process comprised 11,000 welds and consumed 15 months. When it was time to install the riser, enough stalks to make up a complete riser assembly were spooled onto a reel aboard the Seven Oceans installation vessel. The stalks were welded end to end, inspected, and the welded areas coated as they were reeled onto the ship; so at the con- clusion of the process, a complete single riser assembly was spooled onto the reel ready for deployment at sea.

After sailing to BC-10, the Seven Oceans vessel began the installation process. First, the subsea (bottom) end of the riser was connected to its PLET module onboard the vessel. The riser was spooled into the sea and the PLET was positioned adjacent to its ALM on the seabed; then the remaining riser was carefully spooled off and laid on the seabed ready for attachment to the FPSO. Great coordination was required so the risers would be laid in reverse order to their pull-in schedule so they would not become tangled. Although a complete pre-lay was planned, only half the risers were actually pre-laid; the remainder were attached to their PLETs and pulled in to the FPSO in a series of continuous operations.

pulled in to the FPSO in a series of continuous operations. A PLET is attached to
pulled in to the FPSO in a series of continuous operations. A PLET is attached to

A PLET is attached to the lower end of the

riser and is lowered into position adjacent

to its appropriate subsea module.

(Photo courtesy of Shell)

A pull-in shackle had already been attached to the top end of the riser along with a riser clamp and flex joint that had also been attached a precise distance from the riser top. While the steel pull-in cable was being deployed through the I-tubes, the Seven Oceans snared the riser shackle from the pre-laid

Assembled riser being reeled onto the Seven Oceans installation vessel.

(Photo courtesy of Shell)

riser lying on the seabed and pulled it upward, suspending the riser just beneath the FPSO. An ROV from the Seven Oceans made the final connection of the pull-in cable to the riser shackle and the Seven Oceans released the riser top. Next the pull-in winch aboard the FPSO goes to work, pulling the riser up slowly through the I-tube until it can be hung off in the hangoff collar that supports the axial load. The riser clamp is actuated by divers, clamping the riser tightly to the I-tube, thus preventing lat- eral movement as the ship pitches and yaws in the ocean swells. Any remain- ing motion is absorbed by the flex joint. The final step is to remove the pull-in shackle from the top of the riser and plumb-in the riser to the swivel manifold in the upper part of the turret. The pull-in winch rides on a track on top of the turret so it can be positioned directly over each I-tube to pull in the risers and umbilicals one at a time.

The complexity and precision of

the riser installation sequence is hard

to describe. The intense dedication

and cooperation of the Subsea 7, SBM, and Shell personnel resulted in

a near flawless installation. The meticu- lously orchestrated sequence was

repeated over and over until all risers and umbilicals had been safely pulled

in to their I-tubes and hung off. A final

step remained for the Subsea 7 crews to install the short steel jumpers connecting the PLETs to the ALMs. These were installed at the rate of one per day until all 25 were succ- essfully landed in place. The entire pipeline/flowline/riser operation con- sumed nine months, most of which was accomplished before the Espirito Santo arrived on station.

One of the last risers to be hooked up linked the FPSO to the 5.5-mile (9-km) gas injection line that terminated at the gas injection well near the Ostra complex. The well had been previously drilled into a deep aquifer downdip

of Ostra that would serve as temporary

storage of the gas until the Petrobras pipeline has been completed. In antici- pation of that event, a 6-in. line 25 miles (40 km) long had been laid from the FPSO to the approximate junction point. The two lines are expected to be linked in late 2010, whereupon pro- duced gas not used in operating the BC-10 production facility will be exported for sale.

Umbilicals Umbilicals are analogous to the human spinal cord, transporting virtually all power, command, and control func- tions to the subsea modules. Through their complexity they simplify the instal- lation and operation of the myriad con- nections required between the FPSO and the various subsea operations. Most umbilicals are unique because they are designed to supply specific functions based on the requirements of each field. However, they have certain degrees of commonality. At BC-10, the

they have certain degrees of commonality. At BC-10, the Riser is firmly secured in the I-tube
they have certain degrees of commonality. At BC-10, the Riser is firmly secured in the I-tube

Riser is firmly secured in the I-tube with axial load transferred to the turret at the hangoff collar and radial movement constrained by the riser clamp. Bending motion is absorbed by the flex joint.

(Photo courtesy of Shell)

umbilicals serve four main roles: con- duct high voltage power to operate the subsea booster pumps, transport hydraulic power to operate subsea valves, supply chemicals required for the prevention of corrosion and solids formation, and serve as two-way con- duits for hundreds of command and control conductors, including high- bandwidth fiber-optic cables.

Designed jointly by Shell and Ocean- eering International and manufactured

Like giant sea creatures, the pull-in cable from the FPSO and the pull-in shackle at the riser top are linked with the help of a miniscule ROV under the watchful eye of a subsea video camera.

(Photo courtesy of Shell)

by Oceaneering in its Panama City, Fla., plant, the BC-10 umbilicals are built with an inner core containing electrical power and command con- duits, surrounded by an outer sheath of hydraulic lines. Shell’s Sean Eckerty, umbilicals team leader, explained, “The high voltage cables were manufactured in Cali, Colombia, and the super- duplex tubes were manufactured in the Czech Republic. It is a credit to the intense collaboration and coordination of the members of the umbilical team that all these disparate components were delivered on time and on spec to the final cabling facility in Florida where the umbilicals were assembled. Bundling all these lines simplifies the layout of the distribution and control elements subsea.”

The completed umbilicals are an extremely robust package, strong and resilient, that can withstand the dynamic loading applied to them while suspended in 6,000 ft (1,829 m) of water, swaying in the subsea currents for 30 years. The main core contains three trefoil high-voltage power cables:

two live ones and a spare. There are also three communications quads and two fiber-optic cables. The white ele- ments are polyethylene fillers intended to provide mechanical support and keep adjacent lines from shifting rela- tive to each other. The outer sheath contains a communications quad and 15 hydraulic tubes (six large diameter tubes and nine small ones) along with additional filler elements. The steel hydraulic tubes actually sup- port the tensile load of the umbilical,

A typical steel jumper is suspended over the side prior to lowering to link the

A typical steel jumper is suspended over the side prior to lowering to link the PLETs to their appropriate subsea modules.

(Photo courtesy of Shell)

a key to the BC-10 design, as the copper conductors of the inner bundle cannot support their own weight when suspended in the water depths encountered at BC-10. The yellow sheaths are made of a rugged thermo- plastic material that is extruded over the bundles in the manufacturing process. In operation, the umbilicals are designed to be flooded with sea- water, and all cables are designed to operate in a wetted environment. In addition, each communications and control quad was extensively shielded against inductive interference from the high-voltage trefoils.

Manufacturing of 6½-mile-long (10.5- km) umbilicals such as those used at BC-10 is a complex operation, and only a few companies in the world are capable of performing the work to the scale and quality required for deepwa- ter offshore applications. The umbilicals are made in a long rotating cabling machine containing large reels or

in a long rotating cabling machine containing large reels or Cross section of a typical BC-10

Cross section of a typical BC-10 umbilical.

(Photo courtesy of Shell)

of a typical BC-10 umbilical. (Photo courtesy of Shell) The umbilicals are stabbed and locked in

The umbilicals are stabbed and locked in to the turret using an inter- face that transfers both tension and bending moment to the turret

structure. (Image courtesy of SBM Offshore)

“bobbins” that hold the individual cables that will make up the finished umbilical. Because the bobbins can only hold a finite length of cable, and because it would only be an incredible coincidence if that length coincided with the final length of umbilical, splices are required from time to time during the manufacturing process. In the BC-10 case, three splices were required for each power cable. The splices must be perfect. They cannot

cause a change in the outside diameter of the cable, and they must have total electrical or hydraulic integrity when completed. To control the splicing envi- ronment, splicing tents were set up on the manufacturing floor adjacent to the cabling machine. Eckerty explained the procedure, “To complete each electri- cal splice, the trefoils were unwound and the cable ends prepped prior to the conductors of the spent bobbin being brazed to those of the new spool. The insulation and screening material were reinstated with extreme care. Finally, each splice was sub- jected to rigorous testing to ensure it passed electrical, hydraulic, and mechanical specifications before the cabling machine was re-started.

The cabling machine wraps the cables in a tight helical pattern before the application of a thermoplastic outer sheath.”

Like the risers, umbilicals were pre- installed to their respective subsea mod- ules as they were submerged in November 2008, the free (upper) ends terminated at a pulling shackle and were laid out on the seafloor ready for tieback to the FPSO. Umbilicals have their own I-tubes to guide them into place in the turret. However, the umbilicals terminate much higher in the turret than the risers, so they exist in a permanently dry area of the turret. Once they are hung off, the conductors, power cables, and hydraulic lines are routed to their respective swivels in the swivel stack at the top of the turret. Umbilicals are hung in a lazy-wave con- figuration like the risers to allow for the rise and fall of the FPSO in the sea.

Subsea hardware The BC-10 complex looks like a small town of bright yellow modules arrayed across the subsea landscape. First there are the wellheads, each equipped with safety shut-in valves and vertical access for well intervention services that may be required later in the life of the field. Flow- lines connect the wellheads to subsea PM where produced fluid is measured and gathered for transmission to the ALM. Because produced fluid can contain vari- ous mixtures of liquids (oil and saltwater), gas, and gas condensate, multiphase flowmeters are required to monitor and measure each well’s production. Pressure and temperature are also measured pre- cisely. The flowmeters were supplied by Schlumberger and use the Vx technique pioneered by Framo Engineering of

The 240-ton ALM starts its journey from the FMC fabrication yard. This is the top, or seabed section, that will sit precisely atop the embedded caissons.

(Photo courtesy of Shell)

atop the embedded caissons. (Photo courtesy of Shell) Norway. This allows them to measure accurately a

Norway. This allows them to measure accurately a very wide range of flow composition and flow regimes from steady-state fluid flow to severe gas slugging. Flowmeter data are continu- ously telemetered back to the FPSO control room via one of the umbilical communication lines.

The BC-10 field layout consists of subsea wellheads, pipeline end terminations, production manifolds, and artificial lift manifolds along with all connecting flowlines and risers.

(Photo courtesy of Shell)

manifolds along with all connecting flowlines and risers. (Photo courtesy of Shell) 34 June 2010 n

Subsea trees–Subsea trees were provided by FMC, and were installed using an anchor handling vessel with an A-frame on the stern. A heave compen- sated lowering system ensured that the equipment would not crash-land on the wellhead if an ill-timed ocean swell came by. The first step was to install a tubing head spool (THD) to the wellhead flange. This could be accomplished either prior to drilling the well’s lateral section or after installing the gravel pack completion. Next, an enhanced vertical deepwater tree (EVDT) was installed on top of the THD after installing the upper completion package. The flowline jumper attaches to the THD so if the tree must be removed for any reason, the flowline jumper is undisturbed. The EVDT offers through-bore access for wireline or coiled tubing so the well can be worked over with the tree in place. A workover riser can also be connected to the top of the tree, if nec- essary. For a major intervention or tree replacement, a subsurface safety valve is first deployed into the tubing hanger; then the tree can be safely removed.

Production manifolds–Provided by Subsea 7, production manifolds gather produced fluid from several wells and route it to the ALM, where it is sepa- rated and boosted to the surface. Weighing in at 100 tons each, the PMs were deployed from Subsea 7’s Seven Seas work vessel, which is equipped with a 400-ton capacity crane. The PMs are sited on the seafloor where they can be jumpered to the subsea wellheads, and then, also by jumper, to the ALM. Jumpers are versatile adjustable-length steel conduits that can reach across short distances to connect subsea modules.

Artificial lift manifolds (ALM)–Likely some of the most innovative subsea modules ever conceived, the ALMs host the booster pumps that move produc- tion up to the FPSO. The massive ALMs built for BC-10 weighed in at 140 tons and 235 tons for the Argonauta B-West

weighed in at 140 tons and 235 tons for the Argonauta B-West “It is a credit

“It is a credit to the intense collaboration and coordination of the members of the umbilical team that all these disparate components were delivered on time and on spec…”

—Sean Eckerty, umbilicals team leader, Shell


Pumped Liquid Outlet

Inlet g = Pfriction PUMP SEAL MOTOR
g =

Separated Gas (to be blended)

Tall Shroud (with holes at top)

Gas Liquid Interface

Reblending of gas and liquid at pump suction

Caisson cross-section from Argonauta B-West showing gas re-blending ports just below the ESP.

(Photo courtesy of Shell)

and Ostra Fields, respectively. But like an iceberg, the visible portion of the ALM concealed the massive separation caissons that lay beneath the seabed.

Control systems– The entire BC-10 complex is instrumented, on the seabed, downhole in the wells, and on the FPSO. All data are transmitted in real time to the control room aboard the Espirito Santo. There, experienced professionals monitor production opera- tions 24/7. They are assisted by auto- matic alarms that signal any operating condition that is out of established norms. All wells and processing mod- ules are equipped with two-level emer- gency shut-down devices. “Two level” means that first the operators receive a warning of an impending problem con- dition. They can implement a proce- dure to mitigate the problem or they can manually initiate emergency shut- down. As an added safety factor, if action is not taken within a specified period (either time- or condition-based), an automatic shutdown is initiated.

Artificial lift The artificial lift system employed at

BC-10 is believed to be unique. It has been implemented because reservoir pressure is insufficient to lift the produced fluids naturally to surface. Even if a subsea well may flow naturally, artificial lift may be implemented because it is predicted that the well will ultimately require it, and for subsea wells it is more cost-effective to implement certain artificial lift techniques when the well is constructed, rather than later in its life.

Caissons–Driven deep into the seabed, the caissons are each more than 300 ft (100 m) long. Each contains a 1,500-hp electrical submersible booster pump to lift the produced fluid up through the risers to the FPSO. By encasing the pumps in such a long tube, it was predicted that they would not pump off, meaning that the gas liquid contact would never fall below the pump intake, causing them to lose prime.

The Ostra caissons played a dual role. They had a gas/liquid centrifugal cyclonic (GLCC) separator in the top that separated out a large percentage of the gas and routed to a gas riser where it flowed naturally up to the FPSO.

The complexity of the chemical solution can be seen in this overview. Potential challenges are listed across the top row, and each part of the BC-10 production system is described in the left column. Color codes denote the relative risk.

(Photo courtesy of Shell)

the left column. Color codes denote the relative risk. (Photo courtesy of Shell) 36 June 2010

The key to operating an integrated production system effectively is monitoring and surveillance.

The GLCC concept was critical to the success of the project. Accordingly, a full- scale pilot was constructed on land and full simulation tests were run to qualify every detail of the caissons. For exam- ple, even the angle of the inlet pipe was optimized to complement the initial gas separation process. By removing the gas subsea, it was believed that the forma- tion of hydrates would be minimized. Also, gas slugging in the liquid riser would be curtailed. After gas was sepa- rated, the oil and water gravitated to the bottom of the caisson where the pump could boost the liquids to surface in a liquid riser. Any fine sand that managed to get past the gravel pack went to the bottom of the caisson where it was sucked into the pump intake and trans- ported to the surface. On most land or surface-processing operations offshore, a 300-ft long (91.4-m) vertical separator is impractical, but at BC-10 there was room to spare, and the long, slender caissons were driven into the seabed with only their tops sticking out to mate with the ALM module. The combination of cyclonic force and gravity separated the gas in the top portion of the caisson, leaving the oil/water mixture to gravitate to the bot- tom where it entered the pump intake.

The Ostra/Abalone complex ALM has four caisson separators. The light Abalone crude is commingled with the medium weight Ostra crude and the gas is separated and transported to sur- face using a dedicated gas riser. The remaining crude oil/water mixture is boosted to surface. On the Argonauta B-West ALM, the multiphase produced fluids are separated at the caisson; then they are reblended before being pumped to surface. The reason this is

necessary is due to the high viscosity of the oil phase. By reblending the oil, gas, and water, viscosity control can be maintained for the 5.5-mile (9-km) trip through the Argonauta B-West flowlines to the riser connection on the seabed. Reblending was enabled by a row of ports at the pump intake that allowed a set volume of gas to enter the pump— enough to control viscosity, but not enough to cause the pump to stall. By maintaining a constant volume of gas in the blend, the mixture viscosity can be held steady, facilitating flow and pre- venting gas slugging.

Each caisson contains a junk basket near the bottom to prevent large debris from being sucked into the pump. The caisson bottom is also profiled to help sweep fine-grained sand into the pump for transport to surface where it can be screened out. This prevents sand accu- mulation in the bottom of the caisson.

MoBos–Named using a contraction of the Portugese words for modular pumps, the “MoBos” are 1,500-hp electrical submersible pumps (ESP) located in the lower ends of the caissons. The ESPs were provided by Baker Hughes. Because changing out a subsea pump is non-trivial, great care was taken to ensure that pump operation was opti- mized. Any condition that is known to shorten pump life was eliminated in the design. For example, the pumps were shrouded to force fluid to pass at high velocity to create a heat-transfer cell that kept the pumps from overheating. The design is such that pumps can be pulled and replaced, if necessary, using a light rigless workover vessel assisted by an ROV, but every means was taken to min- imize the frequency of intervention.

Pumps are instrumented so they can be monitored to ensure that both pump and well performance can be maintained at optimum levels. They are powered using variable frequency drives, so pump speed can be adjusted simply by rais- ing or lowering the frequency of the electrical current.

Production monitoring and control The key to operating an integrated pro- duction system effectively is monitoring and surveillance. Almost all problems can be managed successfully if they are detected early enough. At the BC- 10 complex, Shell has implemented a network of temperature and pressure gauges and flowmeters that monitor production all the way from downhole in the wells to the export lines on the FPSO. The purpose of most of this instru- mentation is to detect the early signs of corrosion or blockage caused by the buildup of scale, wax, or hydrates. It is also intended to monitor the flow regime to detect anomalies such as slug flow, liquid carryover into the gas line, or gas carryover into the liquid lines. In the wells themselves, monitors can detect the early signs of gas coning or water encroachment from the reservoir. Changes in the gas or water phase fractions are detected by subsea multi- phase flowmeters.

Much of production control falls under the general heading of flow assurance. At BC-10, flow assurance received an unusual amount of attention. A full-scale simulator was built onshore to test the GLCC concept separator performance and process control. The full spectrum of gas and liquid carryover in the risers and flowlines was simulated and stud- ied so that operating strategies could be refined, and monitoring systems designed to ensure the systems were operating within design norms.

As previously described, the umbilicals contained steel conduits designed to transport flow assurance chemicals from the FPSO to the wells and flowlines.

But it was impractical to supply separate lines for each possible chemical treat- ment. Accordingly, the Nalco Co. was contracted to study the situation and develop “chemical cocktails” that could accomplish multiple tasks and be trans- ported to the subsea field in a single line. This task is not as easy as it sounds.

Production is often complicated by multi- phase flow, diverse fluid compositions, and high fluid velocities. Nalco’s chal- lenge was to address three main issues:

corrosion and scale inhibition, foaming, and viscosity reduction. But it had to thor- oughly test the chemical-chemical com- patibility as well as the compatibility of the chemicals with the myriad materials with which they might come in contact in the production system. The compati- bility tests had to take into account the extreme ranges of temperatures and pres- sures encountered in the production and processing flowstreams to ensure that the chemicals could maintain their potency under a wide variety of environmental conditions, including the high shear and temperatures of the ESPs.

The results were impressive. At BC-10, the first qualified combination of corro- sion and scale inhibiting chemistry was inaugurated—a high shear corrosion inhibitor/methanol mix. In addition, the first chemical antifoam compound quali- fied for deepwater production that uti- lized subsea separation and boosting was successfully implemented—a fluo- rosilicone product. Each production stream required a slightly different treat- ment; in the end, a comprehensive chemical strategy was implemented that was both effective and economical.

In addition to chemical flow assurance treatment, control of flowline and riser temperatures was critical to prevent the formation of hydrates and wax buildups. Mostly, this was accom- plished by insulating the lines with low thermal-conductivity coatings. As previ- ously discussed, the subsea separation of gas was a key factor in hydrate

The compatibility tests had to take into account the extreme ranges of temperatures and pressures encountered in the production and processing flowstreams to ensure that the chemicals could maintain their potency under a wide variety of environmental conditions.

suppression. The time factor had to be considered as well. Some production had to travel several kilometers to reach

the ALMs and risers and the insulation heat transfer coefficient had to be suffi- cient to maintain liquid temperature above precipitation thresholds. The alternative was a very costly concentric pipe-in-pipe technique, or the employ- ment of electric line-heating elements.

In the gas line, the combination of con-

tinuous injection of methanol and high flow velocity keeps the line free.

A fine balance was maintained regard-

ing liquid carryover (LCO) in the gas

line and gas carryover (GCO) in the

oil line. As mentioned, a certain level

of gas in the oil was beneficial as a

deviscosifier. The gas’ presence also lightened the load on the ESPs. A mini- mal amount of LCO is tolerable in the gas line as long as it does not cause slug flow. The cure for LCO was main- taining a high enough gas velocity to sweep the liquid from the line.

The recirculation of dead oil provided insurance against the ESPs losing their prime, but also brought a measure of sta- bility to the produced fluid flow. Inside the caissons, pressure gauges monitored the gas/liquid level and automatically adjusted the pump speed to maintain the level within the optimum range. n

Development Drilling and Completion

Drilling challenges anD innOvaTiOns

Drilling the BC-10 development wells required great precision and careful control of equivalent circulation density. Many drilling records were set in the process.

The Bc-10 project introduced some sig- nificant well construction challenges. Perhaps the most daunting challenge was drilling successfully extended-reach laterals through unconsolidated sedi- ments only a few hundred meters below the mudline. in fact, each of the Bc-10 producing wells was close to the extended-reach drilling record, and was pushing the industry drilling enve- lope for wells in water depths greater than 3,280 ft (1,000 m). The forma- tion fracture pressure was only a few psi higher than pore pressure, so extreme care had to be taken to moni- tor continuously and accurately the equivalent circulating density (ecD) of the drilling fluid. Fortunately, technology exists to monitor and control ecD, but additional challenges taxed the ingenu- ity of the drilling engineers.

Because the reservoirs lay atop or imme- diately adjacent to salt domes, they were highly faulted. in addition, post- depositional uplift added considerable undulation to the strata. The combination of these structural features required inno- vative well design and the use of real- time geosteering techniques to ensure the resulting well bore maintained as much coverage in the pay section as possible. The requirement to land the well bore in the shallow (close to the mudline) pay zone required a fairly aggressive build section. achieving this can be problem- atic in unconsolidated sediments

this can be problem- atic in unconsolidated sediments because the rock provides little mechani- cal integrity

because the rock provides little mechani- cal integrity for the rotary steerable sys- tems (rss). Finally, after experimenting with directional mud motors and different types of rss, the drilling group settled on the PowerDrive Xceed rss from schlum- berger, a system specially designed for tough drilling environments.

Transocean Arctic I is a third-generation semisubmersible drilling rig normally rated for 3,100 ft (945 m) of water. With pre-set mooring and a dry BOP stack it is capable of drilling in at least 7,400 ft (2,250 m)

of water. (All images courtesy of Shell)

The first six Ostra development wells were batch-drilled in two clusters of three 3-D wells
The first six Ostra development wells were
batch-drilled in two clusters of three 3-D
wells each.
-120 0

The drilling objective was clear. Shell’s BC-10 project manager, Kent Stingl, elaborated, “Wells had to be con- structed that would produce at high rates. They had to be completed in such a way as to minimize the need for interventions. And they had to contact enough reservoir rock to ensure produc- tion longevity of at least 20 years.”

Success in achieving these goals would translate into a positive economic sce- nario that could produce the desired prof- itability to justify the investment. It was the consensus that the only way to reach these objectives was to drill a few per- fectly positioned lateral well bores extend- ing about 5,000 ft (1,524 m) or more. The actual lateral length depended on the formation being penetrated and the profile of the structure where the well was drilled. In fact, each of the initial six wells exceeded the 5,000-ft minimum with one extending to almost 7,700 ft (2,350 m). Collectively, the first six Shell BC-10 wells were record-setters for extended- reach wells drilled in more than 3,281 ft (1,000 m) of water.

Numerous challenges addressed The difficulty of drilling high-quality lateral boreholes under the prevalent conditions cannot be overstated. Penetrating the highest-quality reservoir rocks required precise geosteering technology. The first target to be drilled was the Ostra reser- voir. A total of six wells were drilled, three at a time. A batch technique was used for maximum efficiency. That is, the rig drilled three top holes, then three inter- mediate holes, and finally, the lateral sec- tions. Each well bore was a 3-D design with the first cluster of three wells drilled from one location and the second cluster of three drilled from another location about 6,900 ft (2,100 m) to the south- west of the first cluster. The seabed pene- trations corresponded to the planned location of the two production manifolds.

Not only was the batch drilling tech- nique inherently efficient, it also allowed maximum flexibility for the drilling group as it was able to apply learnings from the well to immediately improve drilling performance and hole quality on the subsequent wells in each cluster.

Seeing where you’re going, learning where you’ve been To help mitigate the challenges of the development drilling program, a com- prehensive formation evaluation pro- gram added “eyes” to the drill bit. The combination of logging-while-drilling (LWD) conventional coring, and wire- line logging complemented the batch drilling technique used in constructing the development wells. Logs and cores

from the exploration and appraisal wells were thoroughly analyzed and integrated into the 3-D reservoir model that was evolving from the seismic data. Each additional piece of infor- mation helped the development drillers and subsurface staff, but even with a data-rich model, the stakes were too high to risk drilling blind. Accord- ingly, bottomhole assemblies included LWD tools that provided real-time

vision of the formations being pene- trated by the bit.

The development of logging programs is not an exact science. Log data are gathered to answer geologists’ ques- tions or to validate their theories about the subsurface. Some questions are known in advance, others come up in the course of developing the reservoir. If the information is to be used in steer- ing the well’s trajectory to intersect the highest-quality reservoir volumes or avoid drilling hazards, it must be acquired in real time. If it is required to characterize the reservoir, it can be acquired subsequent to drilling using wireline-conveyed logging tools. Some data can be acquired through casing, so its acquisition can be delayed until the completion phase. Most, however, must be acquired in open hole. Often, the well trajectory influences the decision. Wireline tools depend on gravity to take them to bot- tom. In highly deviated well bores or horizontal sections, they must be assisted to bottom by conveying them on drillpipe or pulling them with a downhole tractor. Both are time-con- suming and costly techniques. There is

no set formula for deciding how and when to acquire log data; each well is different, and there is risk involved.

Shell petrophysicist Lee Stockwell explained, “In the top and intermediate hole sections, we typically ran a limited LWD string consisting of a Triple Combo log (resistivity, density, and neutron) to acquire basic data. Wireline was kept in reserve for backup in case of a prob- lem, causing gaps in the data. In addi- tion, we used specialty wireline tools to investigate questions or opportunities seen in the LWD data. These included Modular Formation Dynamics Tester (MDT), Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), and Check-shot borehole seis- mic logs. We took conventional cores while drilling and augmented them by shooting sidewall samples to fill in gaps.

“No clues are overlooked,” said Stock- well. “We’ve been building our reser-

said Stock- well. “We’ve been building our reser- “We’ve been building our reservoir database for eight

“We’ve been building our reservoir database for eight years. If we don’t need the informa- tion immediately, it will be useful later during the completion and production phases.”

– Shell petrophysicist Lee Stockwell

voir database for eight years. If we don’t need the information immediately, it will be useful later during the comple- tion and production phases. Our well- logging programs are designed to reduce uncertainties. For example, at

Real-time geosteering software was used to monitor drilling progress and manage directional changes. It is worth noting that the logs revealed seven major faults where prior seismic interpretation had suggested only two.

Geo-Steering – RTGS Expected Fault @ XX90m MD Expected Fault @ XX00m MD DD Instruction:
Geo-Steering – RTGS
Expected Fault @ XX90m MD
Expected Fault @ XX00m MD
DD Instruction: Keep 86.5º to minimize shale
High angle down dips – drilling down structure
Faults @ XX94, XX68, XX22, XX85, XX82, XX50m MD
Exit shale at XX77m MD.
ROP slight increase. At XX70m DD reached 90º (XX61.5m TVDSS).
Sand @ XX80m MD
XX31 - XX76m MD – Kept inclination at 86º to minimize shale. Build inclination to 90º due to TVD limit imposed due to OWC.

Abalone, our assumption based on early data was that the field was simi- lar to some we have seen in the Gulf of Mexico with a gas/oil ratio (GOR) of 1,200 and crude oil gravity in the 30°API range. However, our logs showed us that the actual GOR was 3,500 and the liquid was not crude oil, but consisted of high gravity con- densate with a density of 42°API. This information prompted the decision to drill a gas injection well to dispose of the gas temporarily until a gas pipeline could be laid to shore.

“The exploration seismic data provided macro-scale information, such as the reservoir top and base. However, the base data was inconclusive in places,” Stockwell said. “This led to extensive changes in our evaluation programs, particularly in the horizontal production sections. We beefed up our LWD pro- gram using Schlumberger’s Scope family of services. This included the EcoScope

multifunction formation evaluation tool, the PeriScope real-time well placement and boundary mapping service, and the TeleScope power, telemetry, and combinability service. Other LWD serv- ices were added as needed, including the proVISION NMR tool. The Eco- Scope tool provided a baseline Sigma measurement that will be extremely valuable as a benchmark for produc- tion logging programs performed later in the life of the reservoir.

“Drilling unconsolidated sediments is particularly challenging because abrupt directional changes are difficult to make,” Stockwell explained. “We used Schlumberger’s Xceed RSS tool, which uses the point-the-bit principle and steered it using information from the PeriScope deep-reading propaga- tion resistivity device. This tool is able to see 15 to 18 ft (4.5 to 5.5 m) radi- ally to give the driller early warning of formation changes or drilling hazards.

Drilling and steering efficiency can be evaluated by superimposing actual directional drilling parame- ters onto the seismic section. By understanding what works and what does not work, drilling parameters can be optimized for subsequent wells.

Zone 1 : 2469 m to 2600 m MD - Mid-Mio-Marl to Top Olig -
Zone 1 : 2469 m to 2600 m MD
- Mid-Mio-Marl to Top Olig
- Steering Ratio: 40%-60%
- Average DLS: 3.7
- ROP: 45 m/hr
Zone 2 (Hard Steering):
2600m to 2920m MD
- Top Oligocene to Top Eocene
- Steering Ratio: 80%-100%
- Average DLS: 2.8
- ROP: 25 m/hr
• Mid Eocene to Top Maas Shale
• Steering RATIO 20-50%
• Average DLS = 2.4
• ROP:42 m/hr
• Severe Losses crossing Flt
RATIO 20-50% • Average DLS = 2.4 • ROP:42 m/hr • Severe Losses crossing Flt 42

For example, there was a remarkable increase in the number of actual faults encountered during drilling compared to those anticipated from seismic inter- pretation. In later wells, we were able to use the new PeriScope Ultra that can see up to 66 ft (20 m) radially into the formation. Because of the unconsolidated pay sections, we didn’t want to implement aggressive steering to try to achieve 100% cover- age. We elected to take a conserva- tive approach guided by the logs to construct an optimum well path that would deliver the production results we wanted upon completion.”

As drilling progressed, cumulative knowledge and experience combined to improve drilling efficiency, narrowing the gap between planned and actual drilling days. With non-drilling NPT removed, drilling of the second Ostra well cluster experienced a 30% improvement in drilling efficiency com- pared to the first cluster.

Innovations add spice to a traditional approach Thus, a typical well construction sce- nario included the following. First, 36- in. conductor pipe for each well was driven into place on the seabed with positioning governed by the proposed subsea production manifold layout. Depth of the conductor pipe was about 165 ft (50 m). A novel tech- nique was used by Intermoor to install the conductor pipe. The assembled conductor was transported to a loca- tion above the proposed well site using a flat barge towed by a tug- boat. A hydraulic hammer was attached to the top end, and the ham- mer was attached to a chain/cable arrangement that was connected to a dynamically positioned anchor-han- dling vessel (AHV). The AHV was equipped with a remotely operated vehicle (ROV). After the AHV posi- tioned itself directly above the pro- posed well site and held its station, the tugboat pulled the flat barge out

Typical Ostra development wells followed this design.

out Typical Ostra development wells followed this design. from under the conductor, allowing it to fall
out Typical Ostra development wells followed this design. from under the conductor, allowing it to fall
out Typical Ostra development wells followed this design. from under the conductor, allowing it to fall
out Typical Ostra development wells followed this design. from under the conductor, allowing it to fall

from under the conductor, allowing it to fall into the sea and swing like a giant pendulum until it stabilized in the vertical position. The AHV then low- ered the now vertical conductor to the seabed, whereupon the hammer was activated to drive the conductor into the seafloor. Meanwhile, the ROV was deployed to attach itself to the conduc- tor to help measure and maintain verti- cality as the conductor was driven home. This technique demonstrates the value of using the batch construction scenario; all three conductors were emplaced before the drilling rig arrived on location, so they were

ready in advance. No rig standby time was required while conductors were emplaced. The operation was a world’s first for deepwater.

Next, the top-hole section was drilled using a 12¼-in. bit and 17½-in. under reamer. This was not the original

plan, but was decided after difficulties

in achieving the desired dogleg in

the soft, unconsolidated formations were experienced with the first well using a mud motor and bent sub to build hole angle.

The final bottomhole assembly included the Schlumberger Xceed RSS

The use of the surface blowout pre- venter (SBOP) or dry stack allowed the drilling rig to double its water

depth capability, and is the first time

a dry stack has been used for both drilling and well completion.”

has been used for both drilling and well completion.” in conjunction with the Halliburton XR- reamer,

in conjunction with the Halliburton XR-

reamer, and this combination proved extremely successful, allowing penetra- tion rates (ROP) to be increased by a factor of three, thus reducing section drill-time by half compared to the mud motor technique. In addition to fast drilling rates, hole quality was clearly improved with a smoother trajectory that contributed to higher casing run- ning speeds and fewer casing prob- lems. It has been proven that top hole quality is a major factor affecting the ability to reach extended lateral target depths.

The top holes were drilled and cased

to about 8,528 ft (2,600 m) measured

depth, or 8,200 ft (2,500 m) vertical depth, below the rig rotary table. The top holes were cased with 13 3 8-in.

casing cemented back to approxi- mately 6,200 ft (1,900 m). Water depth at Ostra averaged 6,180 ft (1,884 m), so this means that the top holes bottomed out about 2,020 ft (616 m) true vertical depth below the mudline (seabed).

Less is more Another first recorded on the BC-10 project was the successful drilling and

completing of all wells using a third- generation semisubmersible rig, the Transocean Arctic I. For each drill site,

a pre-laid mooring system had been

emplaced to position the rig precisely over each cluster of wells, greatly reducing rig-up time. The use of a third- generation floating rig set a world record for mooring and drilling at this water depth and was enabled by the decision to use a surface blowout pre- venter (SBOP) stack and a high-pres- sure riser with an internal diameter of 14½-in. Using a batch technique, three production wells were drilled and com- pleted as horizontal, gravel packed subsea oil production wells. It was the first time an SBOP system was deployed from a floating drilling vessel for development drilling and comple- tion. At the mud line, a seabed isola-

tion device (SID) provided the means to shut in the well in case of an emer- gency The primary activation technique was with a through-water broadband acoustic link, backed up by a control line umbilical strapped to the outside of the riser. Accumulators on the SID that powered the rams were kept fully charged from the surface using a hydraulic link built into the umbilical. An electrical link kept the SID’s batter- ies fully charged as well. Not only did the SBOP system double the water depth capacity of the rig to more than 6,000 ft (1,829 m), but together with the pre-set mooring system, it enabled the rig to move onto location and com- mence normal drilling operations the next day.

Several innovations were added to provide safe and efficient means of configuring the rig for whichever opera- tion was scheduled. A new hoisting sys- tem was installed on the rig so the SBOP could be quickly moved on and off well- center, depending if the rig would be drilling or performing completion activi- ties. And a spacer spool the same height as the tubing head spool was added to the SBOP system. This kept dimensional consistency between drilling and com- pletion operations. Both systems could be installed using a heave compensator and could be latched and unlatched using an ROV. The SID contained a set of shearing blind rams and a set of 7 5 8-in pipe rams.

Practice makes perfect To ensure rig crews were fully comfort- able with the SBOP system, several training simulation drills were held. A color-coded warning hierarchy was developed with each set of potential conditions of sea state and offset defined. Green defined normal oper- ating range, followed by yellow, orange, red, and emergency discon- nect. During the drilling of the first Ostra cluster, foul weather necessi- tated a planned disconnect. The dis- connect operation was conducted

Another first recorded on the BC-10 project was the successful drilling and completing of all wells using a third-generation semisubmersible rig, the Transocean Arctic I.

and reconnect established with mini- mal problems. As a result, the rig crew was confident that it could efficiently manage an emergency disconnect should the need occur.

A special, slimbore wellhead housing

was supplied by Vetco from which the main 9 5 8-in. casing would be hung. This wellhead housing had to be slim enough to pass through the 14½-in.

riser and hang in the seabed wellhead assembly. No problems were experi- enced with the SBOP for the duration

of drilling and completion operations of

BC-10. The result was considerable savings of both time and money.

Once the top holes were drilled, cased, and cemented, the intermediate sections were batch-drilled to their respective landing targets. For a typical Ostra well, a 12¼-in. hole was drilled and steered so as to land nearly hori- zontally in the target formation. The intermediate sections were cased with 9 5 8--in. casing hung back to the slim- bore wellhead housing previously described. About 1,640 ft (500 m) of cement was used to set the casing and ensure well integrity. A synthetic-based mud system (SBM) was used in the intermediate sections to optimize ROP and borehole quality. Drilling the inter- mediate holes was a critical step requir- ing top-quality steering and drilling fluid control. During these sections, the well angle was built at a rate of 4 degrees per 100 ft (30 m) while holding the

mud’s equivalent circulating density (ECD) precisely between the extremely narrow pore pressure and fracture pres- sure limits. Because such tight controls over drilling fluid density were main- tained, it was possible to drill the wells safely with 9.2 ppg mud compared to the 9.4 ppg to 9.8 ppg mud weight requirements anticipated, all the while maintaining excellent hole cleaning. In anticipation of drilling the lateral pro- duction sections, the SBM was dis- placed out during the cementing operation. Special care was taken to clean all SBM from the inside of the drilling riser so as not to contaminate the water-based drilling fluid to be used in constructing the lateral sections.

The finishing touch The final step in well construction was the delicate task of drilling and com- pleting the lateral sections. A number of plan alterations occurred during the drilling of the laterals based on experi- ences encountered. The initial plan was to drill the lateral sections using the RSS to drive an 8½-in. bit and the XR reamer to open the hole to 9½-in. in diameter. Despite formation fracture pressure gradients ranging from 9.8 ppg to 10.0 ppg, some moderate losses were encountered even with 9.0 ppg drilling fluid and ECDs main- tained between 9.7 ppg and 9.8 ppg. It should be noted that most, if not all, of the drilling decisions at this point were predicated on ensuring the success of the subsequent completion

phase. A key success factor in the ulti- mate well performance following com- pletion was the skillful handling of fluid ECD to maintain borehole stability while not contributing to formation damage. Ultimately, the team was able to maintain ECD within 0.2 ppg of the fracture pressure gradient—a phenomenal achievement.

Developing the completion scenarios Because the reservoir rock basically

consisted of unconsolidated turbidities,

a sand management completion was

designed. Halliburton installed 5½-in. wire-wrapped screens, centralized with 7¼-in. Spirolizer stand-offs to allow uniform gravel pack placement around the entire screen. The screens were designed as stand-alone sand manage- ment media with the gravel pack as added insurance.

Dowhhole completion techniques and results During the completion of the first six Ostra wells, difficulties were encoun- tered in placing the gravel pack on three of the wells. The plan was to pump the gravel in two waves. The ini- tial, or alpha, wave was intended to fill the bottom of the lateral section from toe to heel. The second, or beta,

wave would attempt to pack the remaining half of the lateral from heel

to toe. Because the gravel pack was

intended as a secondary sand man- agement technique, and primary sand management would be performed by the stand-alone screens, it was decided not to attempt to run costly shunt tubes to try to improve gravel dis- tribution across the completions.

Premature screen-outs occurred on three of the Ostra wells predicating a

detailed root-cause analysis that con- cluded the most likely cause was inad- equate hole cleaning sequences prior

to gravel placement. As a result of the

root-cause analysis, for subsequent wells, four changes were made to the construction plan:

The drillship Transocean Deepwater Navigator used for BC-10 exploration/appraisal well drilling underwent a multimillion dollar conversion to extend its water depth capabilities to 7,218 ft

(2,200 m).

(Photo courtesy of Shell)

For Phase 1 of the project, six production wells were constructed on Ostra, two on Argonauta B-West, and one on Abalone.

has many more riser slots than are cur- rently being used. These can accommo- date additional development wells that may be required as reservoir conditions change. Although the wells have been designed to minimize the necessity for intervention, the downhole measure- ments will prove to be valuable if such actions are ultimately required.


Raise the density of the solids-free drilling fluid placed in the open hole slightly to maintain borehole stability by keeping the same hydrostatic pressure on the borehole during gravel pack operations.

Reservoir management planning Permanent downhole gauges have been installed to assist in reservoir man- agement. Over time, it is anticipated that reservoir parameters will change. Downhole measurements allow these changes to be anticipated and timely

Beneficial learnings For Phase I of the project, six production wells were constructed on Ostra, two on Argonauta B-West, and one on balone. In addition, one gas injection well was drilled in Ostra. A seventh well was added to the Ostra scope late in 2009,


Increase KCl concentration in the drilling fluid to delay shale imbibition.

remedial action to be taken to minimize any potential negative effect. The umbil- ical control lines that service each well-

and this well will be hooked up later in 2010. This latter well is a temporary solution to avoid the necessity of flaring


Perform wellbore cleanout opera- tions before drilling out of the inter- mediate section to minimize the open-hole time in the lateral before the gravel was emplaced.

head have the capability of transmitting vital production data in real time to the field control center aboard the floating production storage and offloading facil- ity (FPSO). They also contain conduits so flow assurance chemicals can be

gas. Ultimately, all produced gas will be tied back to a Petrobras gas pipeline projected to be ready later in 2010. First oil from the BC-10 complex was recorded on July 12, 2009. As each well was drilled and completed, cumu-


Minimize or eliminate azimuthal or inclination changes while drilling the lateral section.

delivered to each well as needed to sustain production. The data from each well is stored and analyzed in a

lative learnings were applied to subse- quent wells, making each operation a little bit more efficient. n

The above changes were implemented when constructing the Argonauta wells with clearly observable improvement.

dynamic 3-D reservoir model so the entire reservoir can be managed in a holistic way for production optimiza- tion over its economic life. The FPSO

production optimiza- tion over its economic life. The FPSO Unique placement of conductor casing involves launching

Unique placement of conductor casing involves launching off a flat barge and suspension beneath an AHV in a giant pendulum motion.

Fishing activities keep growing in the Campos Basin area. A specific social communication program is

Fishing activities keep growing in the Campos Basin area. A specific social communication program is in place from Shell Brasil to dialogue with fish- ing communities about keeping a safe distance from the operational units.

sister field Argonauta B-West, so the valuable learnings from the B-West devel- opment can be applied to O-North. Preliminary plans call for O-North to be produced using seven wells producing to one ALM and then traveling about 5.5 miles (9.0 km) to the risers and the FPSO. Tentative plans show four seawater injec- tor wells planned for the flanks of the O-North structure. Since the crude oil is similar to that produced at B-West, it is anticipated that the caissons will be simi- lar and will recombine the gas to mix with the crude at the pump intake to sta- bilize the flow.

Future Plans


Plans include development of a fourth field, with first oil in 2013.

The FPSO Espirito Santo has storage capacity of 1.4 million bbls of oil. It is presently equipped to process 100,000 b/d and 50 MMscfg/d. The ship is 1,086 ft long (331 m) and displaces 327,000 tons. The topsides processing unit is comprised of 25 sep- arate modules weighing more than 8,000 tons and a 21-slot turret weigh- ing more than 4,500 tons.

To be safe, the FPSO does not produce to storage capacity, rather it is offloaded by shuttle tanker every time it reaches 1.0 million bbl. With three of the four BC-10 fields online, that amounts to about once every 10 to 15 days. There is a floating flexible offtake line that enters the sea from the stern of the floating production storage and offloading vessel, and the shuttle tanker

can grapple it onboard, connect it, and signal the FPSO to start pumping. Filling the tanker takes about 24 hours. Since the FPSO is designed to weathervane around the stationary moored turret, the stern is always downwind, allowing the tanker to naturally trail out behind the FPSO while it is loading.

At any time, additional producing wells can be drilled and linked to unused ports on the subsea production manifolds. In fact, well 7 at Ostra has just been com- pleted and will tie to PM-1 there. Reser- voir engineers are monitoring production and may decide to drill additional pro- ducers or perhaps water injectors to improve field recovery factors as needed.

Bringing in the fourth field Plans are already under way to develop Argonauta O-North, with first oil from that field toward the end of 2013. Argonauta O-North has similar crude to that of its

Argonauta O-North is an Eocene-age stratigraphically controlled sandy tur- bidite apron. It was discovered with
Argonauta O-North is an Eocene-age
stratigraphically controlled sandy tur-
bidite apron. It was discovered with the
exploratory well 1-SHELL-09-ESS. Devel-
opment of the O-North field will benefit
from the facilities installed during Phase
1 of the project. n
Sustainable development means that
peaceful scenes like this one will not be
affected by hydrocarbon production offshore.
(Photos courtesy of Shell)
48 June 2010 n Parque das ConChas


the Parque daS conchaS teaM

Shell’s Parque das Conchas (BC-10) project in the ultra- deep water offshore Brazil required the expertise and dedication of more individu- als than can be recognized by name. Congratulations to the following team members and all those whose efforts resulted in this successful, historic achievement.

James Goodall


Keshav Gorur

Production engineer

Steven Grant

Subsea Lead

Robin Hartmann

Wells Lead

Joe Hoffman

PFr Lead

Gunner Holmes Senior operations Geophysicist

David Howe operational readiness Lead

Kent Stingl

Project Manager

Chris Howell

FPSo Lead


Mahmoud Khamissy Project Services Lead

Robert Andring

Mark Kite

topsides Lead

offshore coordination team Lead

David Araujo Project Planning engineer

Steve LaBorde Project Planning engineer

Wouter Bode

Sada Lyer

completions Lead

Subsea Systems Lead

Scott Commons Senior ScM representative

Justin Landreneau cost Planning engineer

Paul Dorgant

Jason McNulty

Venture Manager

contracts Lead

Rob Dyer

risk Manager

Tom Muirhead

hull Lead

Sean Eckerty

Luiz Olijnik

umbilicals Lead

Subsea hardware Lead

Cid Fasano Venture Services Lead

Suheyl Ozyigit Wells delivery Manager

Jason Gage Senior civil engineer

Albert Paarkdekam development Manager

Glicia Gomes

Robert Parker

communications associate

hSSe Lead

Robert Patterson Vice President upstream Major Projects, americas

Tony Phillips

IM Lead

John Rehage cost Planning engineer

Flavio Rodrigues external affairs Manager

Olivier Rogaar

operations Manager

Wade Schoppa Flow assurance engineer

Lee Stockwell Senior Petrophysical engineer

Jan Henk VanKonijnenburg Subsurface Lead

Chris Wibner civil/Marine engineer

Parque das Conchas An Ultra-Deepwater Success Story

Jaryl Strong Shell Publications Lead

Ray VanNorman Shell Publications Manager

PRofIles Table of ConTenTs (Photos courtesy of Shell) Delmar 51 Schlumberger 52 FMC Technologies 56


Table of ConTenTs

(Photos courtesy of Shell)

PRofIles Table of ConTenTs (Photos courtesy of Shell) Delmar 51 Schlumberger 52 FMC Technologies 56





FMC Technologies




Oil States Industries Inc.


SBM Offshore


Multiphase Solutions


Baker Hughes






Bredero Shaw




Heave compensated landing system minimizes cost, risk, and duration

HCLS. This innovative technology has been proven worldwide in water depths nearing the 9,843 ft (3,000 m) mark and with package weights in excess of 82 tons. The HCLS is currently being used by Shell to assist in some of the deepest and most complex field developments in the Gulf of Mexico. The HCLS, at

present, has facilitated the installation of a combination of over 25 subsea trees, tubing heads, well jumpers and control system equipment at the Parque das Conchas location since its introduc- tion into the Brazilian waters in June 2008. The use of the HCLS in conjunction with the AHV has allowed for several batch installations with up to five pieces of subsea hard- ware in a single mobilization. It has also provided the ability to install equipment on wells adjacent to the rig’s location, minimizing the amount of associated rig offline time typically associated with installations facilitated by the rig or some larger installation vessels. Delmar's subsea project group has

Delmar Systems Inc. has yet again proven the capabilities of its Heave Compensated Landing System (HCLS) by expanding its use to the South American waters of Shell Brasil’s Parque das Conchas project located in the BC-10 block. The HCLS system has been the primary method for the installation and recovery of subsea production equipment at the BC-10 development in water depths up to 6,234 ft (1,900 m). Employing this sys- tem has significantly reduced the cost of installations and demonstrated an effective alternative to the more costly installation vessels using heave compensated cranes. The HCLS is specific to anchor handling vessels (AHVs) and uses a vessel that is included in the fleet associated with moored rigs. The Richard M. Currence, an AHV leased to Shell, incorporates an

A-frame integrated onto the aft of the vessel, enabling the subsea operations to be a standalone process, independent of

the rig’s location. This further enhances installation flexibility as well as minimizes rig offline time, resulting in significant cost savings. The HCLS is a Shell-patented system composed of a syntactic buoy assembly, a pendant line, anchor chain, and associated rigging. The subsea hardware is coupled to the buoy assembly using a pendant line, which is sized according to package weight and water depth. The buoy assembly is sized such that it maintains positive net buoyancy above the weight of the package, pendant line, and associated rigging weight. Anchor chain is added to the system below the buoys, providing the additional weight needed to submerge the buoys and coupling the system to the AHV. The anchor chain forms a catenary that isolates the vessel motion with minimal weight transfer affecting the buoy assembly. This method- ology provides for the suspension of the system within the water column in a state of equilibrium. The motionless equipment can then be lowered through the water column and soft landed with the assistance of an ROV. Delmar has been working closely with Shell in the develop- ment and operation of the HCLS since 1993 and has currently installed over 300 pieces of subsea hardware assisted by the

installed over 300 pieces of subsea hardware assisted by the The Richard M. Currence is positioned

The Richard M. Currence is positioned for deployment and installation of two subsea trees

using Delmar’s HCLS. (Photo courtesy of Delmar)

provided engineering, technical, and management support to the BC-10 development. The subsea

project group consists of project management, engineering, operational support, and an off- shore installation team that is unparalleled in its field. The work at BC-10 has marked another successful campaign in the long track record between Shell and Delmar. Delmar looks forward to continuing to work with Shell to extend the capabilities of this HCLS technology. n

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Drilling, wireline, anD cementing services make important contributions

Schlumberger overcomes challenging aspects of Parque das Conchas project.

the parque das conchas project posed a unique challenge for shell and schlumberger: to successfully place nine 1,969- to 3,937-ft (600- to 1,200-m) long horizontal wells in the develop- ment’s structurally complex reservoir. the horizontal well option was chosen due to massive sands of approximately 197 ft (60 m) thickness, the possibility of com- partmentalization, and the impact of heavy oil on the flow rates and ultimate recoverable volumes. these issues, in addition to the ultra-deepwater depth of 5,280 ft (1,610 m), made the prospect of successful well construction a demanding challenge. “the well configurations included complex 3-D profiles that kick off from vertical in a riser-less top hole section very close to the seabed, which starts with the challenge of a very unconsolidated formation,” said santiago Zambrano, schlumberger D&m Drilling services manager — shell brasil. “the profile continues in the intermediate hole where high turn and build rates are required in order to land at challenging targets close to horizontal.” schlumberger Drilling & measurements (D&m) played an important role in the development and successful drilling operations on the project. “planning, directional drilling, and

on the project. “planning, directional drilling, and geoVISION imaging-while-drilling service. (Images courtesy

geoVISION imaging-while-drilling service.

(Images courtesy of Schlumberger)

service. (Images courtesy of Schlumberger) EcoScope multifunction logging-while-drilling service.

EcoScope multifunction logging-while-drilling service.

measurements/logging-while-drilling services helped in many aspects of the drilling process to improve performance, and well placement maximized the productive reservoir penetrated by the wells,” he noted. specifically, the shallow nature of the field, which occurred 2,953 to 3,609 ft (900 to 1,100 m) total vertical depth (tvD) below the mudline, resulted in the need to start the buildup section near the mudline. “building the 17 1 2-in. hole to 40 degrees inclination in the initial 1,804-ft (550-m) tvD subsea was found to be very challenging in the soft pliocene and miocene sediments, which required several changes in the drilling assembly and procedure,” said Zambrano. using such platforms as the schlumberger perform* tool kit and petrel* seismic-to-simulation software, drilling and subsur- face data were integrated. “understanding the drilling behavior of specific formations and the lithology at various depths helped in the redesign of the bottomhole assemblies (bHas) and well paths, refinement of the steering program, and updating of the lwD [logging-while-drilling] requirements,” Zambrano said. “this demanding project necessitated turning the wells in very shallow, soft sediments,” said alex kletzky, schlumberger brasil ioc account manager. “not every tool can do that, but this was a technical challenge schlumberger was able to meet.” the successful drilling solution used the powerDrive Xceed* 900 rotary steerable system bit 12 1 4 in. enlarging the hole to 17 1 2 in. with a reamer above the directional tools. “with this configuration we were able to drill seven top sections, even reaching 47 degree inclinations at the 13 3 8-in. casing shoe and

reducing the drilling time to half when compared with the first three top sections, which were drilled with a conventional motor assembly,” Zambrano said.

“The 12 1 4 sections (the buildup section) included challenging high dogleg (DLS) requirements and complex lithology among interbedded shales, siltstones, and hard limestone layers,” said Zambrano. “That generated different directional responses that required additional work by Shell’s geology and drilling departments and Schlumberger’s drilling engineering team in order to achieve a better understanding of the direc- tional performance and formation response to plan the correct drilling parameters and improve the drilling performance.” That teamwork, combined with the specific application of the PowerDrive Xceed* 900 rotary steerable system for harsh rugged environments, were the keys to success that guaranteed

a constant DLS generation up to 4.5 degrees/30 m. Another drilling challenge that Shell and Schlumberger encountered was the need to land the wells in the approximate

desired targets. “The correct surveying procedure became critical

in order to achieve this goal,” said Zambrano. “We corrected

the drillstring magnetic interference running while drilling with the

Schlumberger DMAG* software, reducing the uncertainty of the MWD [measurement-while-drilling] reading in half.” Induced fracturing, opening of minimum-stress faults, and the presence of high-permeability sands resulted in substantial synthetic-base mud losses. “Hole cleaning management was very important in drilling this section,” Zambrano noted. “On this matter, the annular pressure while drilling and equivalent circulating density readings from the arcVISION* array resistivity compensated tool were very important to the successful drilling, providing confidence to the drilling team of the operational limits and improving the drilling and hole cleaning performance. “The high net-to-gross reservoir model predicted from the ver- tical appraisal well and the need for gravel pack sand control led to a completion interval design with a straight line well path inclined near 88 degrees for the 8 1 2-in. by 9 1 2-in. reservoir section,” said Zambrano. “This philosophy proved too simplistic and changes to the well trajectories were made.” For the 8 1 2-in. sections, the Shell operations team and the Schlumberger well placement team worked closely through the planning and drilling of the last five horizontal wells, constantly updating the models and analyzing the real-time data to take advantage of all of the available data and minimizing the amount of non-reservoir interval drilled. A variety of Schlumberger tools were used to improve the well trajectories in real time. LWD tools used included Schlum- berger’s proVISION* real-time reservoir steering service (miner- alogy and permeabilty), geoVISION* image-while-drilling service (bit & ring resistivity and resistivity image), PeriScope* bed boundary mapper, and EcoScope* multifunction LWD, which include resistivity, gamma ray, density-neutron, caliper, PEF, sigma, and image services.

density-neutron, caliper, PEF, sigma, and image services. PowerDrive Xceed rotary steerable system. The proVISION tool

PowerDrive Xceed rotary steerable system.

The proVISION tool delivers reliable determination of mineralogy-independent porosity, bound- and free-fluid volumes, permeability, and pore size, as well as identification of fluids. This deep-reading tool has a field-proven dual-wait-time capability for direct hydrocarbon detection. Operating independently of resistivity measurements, the tool locates low-contrast, low-resistivity pay. The answers provided by the proVISION tool may be used to optimize wellbore length by matching the wellbore’s producibility characteristics to the planned completion capabilities. The tool maximizes production by drilling the highly permeable zones and avoiding water cut by using knowledge of irreductible water saturation. The proVISION tool can be placed anywhere in the BHA with no detrimental effects on the drilling operation. The geoVISION resistivity sub provides real-time high- resolution resistivity images to the WellEye 3-D borehole data viewer. The WellEye software operates on a personal com- puter at the well site to provide 2-D and 3-D interactive dis- plays of the borehole along the well trajectory. The interpreter can readily visualize the spatial position of log features on the dynamically linked displays.


The PeriScope bed boundary mapper is revolutionizing well placement by providing the ability to see the reservoir as wells are being drilled, thereby eliminating sidetracks on wells and enhancing production. With the industry’s first deep and direc- tional electromagnetic LWD measurement, the position of the formation and fluid boundaries can be monitored up to 21 ft (6.4 m) away, thereby allowing horizontal well drilling entirely within the sweet spot. The deep measurement ranges gives early warning when steering adjustments are required to avoid water, drilling hazards, or exiting the reservoir target. The EcoScope multifunction LWD service integrates the next generation of LWD measurements into a single collar. By running the Orion II* telemetry platform, real-time data transmission of up to 120 bps is possible. Multiple real-time images can be seen without affecting the high resolution of the measurement curves. And measurement of the formation density without the side- mounted cesium source makes the service the first to offer commer- cial LWD nuclear logging without traditional chemical sources. “This project marked the groundbreaking introduction of PeriScope ultra-deep services in its first run for an IOC in Brazil and the first run in conjunction with proVISION worldwide, pro- viding a wide, complete set of rock and formation properties which, together with pre-drill, real-time, and post-well modeling

together with pre-drill, real-time, and post-well modeling MDT modular formation dynamics tester. using the

MDT modular formation dynamics tester.

using the Schlumberger RTGS* real-time geosteering software, contributed to minimize the amount of non-reservoir interval penetrated,” Zambrano said. “The well found on average a 10 to 15% higher N/G than the first three wells drilled without it.” “The modeling and pre-planning of the drilling contributed significantly to the project’s success,” said Kletzky. Those aspects combined with the close cooperation between Schlumberger and Shell personnel during the actual drilling brought good results. The Shell Brasil team provided very active support for Schlumberger on this project and helped the team learn and perform better.

Schlumberger Wireline plays an integral role Early in the Parque das Conchas project, the services of Schlum- berger Wireline were used for formation evaluation purposes on some of the exploration and development wells. “Key petro- physical and reservoir evaluation answers on this field for Shell came from Schlumberger Wireline tools,” said Eric Englehardt, Schlumberger Wireline IOC Account Manager. Tools used included the Platform Express* integrated wireline logging tool, CMR* combinable magnetic resonance tool, DSI* dipole shear sonic imager, and the MDT* modular formation dynamics tester. In 2009, as the project shifted to its gas disposal wells, Schlumberger Wireline was given the task of logging some unconventional openhole tool combinations in order to reduce rig time. “A special switch was developed to help make these combinations compatible, thereby allowing logging the entire requested logging suite in one single rigup. We were not forced to come out of the hole to change tools,” said Englehardt. “The success of running these tools in this new configuration helped reduce Wireline rig time by more than 50%, bringing huge savings to the project. With the proper planning and prepara- tion, Schlumberger Wireline has been able to and will continue to support Shell in the delivery of top quality data and efficiency throughout the life of the Parque das Conchas project.”

Cementing also fulfills an important function Schlumberger Well Services performed primary and remedial cementing jobs for the wells in the Parque das Conchas block. “Shell requested a customized solution to adapt Schlum- berger’s Surface Dart Launcher [SDL] to existing casing hard- ware they had chosen,” said Luiz Picone, Schlumberger Client Support Engineer. The SDL is part of the DeepSea EXPRES* offshore plug launching system, which also includes a subsea tool (SST.) The SDL contains identical darts launched during cementing. The darts release casing wiper plugs when they reach the SST. Since the SDL is modular, adding segments is simple and the number of darts that can be launched can be easily increased. “Using darts instead of a ‘free fall’ ball helps prevent contami- nation, provides positive fluid displacement, and saves time,” said Picone.

proVISION real-time reservoir steering service. After dart launch, mud flows down the drillpipe, through the

proVISION real-time reservoir steering service.

After dart launch, mud flows down the drillpipe, through the sliding sleeve of the SST, and out of the orifices. The dart lands on a rod and continued pumping forces the dart and rod down, pushing the plug out of a basket. A spring retracts the sliding sleeve, allowing complete, unobstructed flow through the orifices. A pressure differential resists rapid rod motion and stops rod movement after plug release. Combined with plug friction, this caused increased pumping pressure and provides indication of plug launch. Spacers prevent plugs from sticking and are retrieved with the tool. The downhole SST encases plugs inside a basket, eliminat- ing difficulties associated with pumping fluids through the inside of the plugs. Simplified plug design allows use of high-perfor- mance, easily drillable plugs. “All of the 9 5 8-in. cementing jobs were successfully exe- cuted,” said Picone. To prevent losses, CemNET* advanced fiber cement was used in the cement slurry. The inert, fibrous material is capable of forming a network across the loss zone, allowing circulation

to be regained and maintained. noted Picone.

“Full returns were observed,”

Schlumberger, Shell – a team from the project’s beginning The association between Schlumberger and Shell on the BC-10 project began back in the early 2000s and will continue through the next decade. “Schlumberger took part in the early exploratory work for the Parque das Conchas project,” said Kletzky. “We look forward to working with Shell on the second phase of the project that will start in late 2011. Our Schlumberger team members, along with those from Shell Brasil, utilize the best practices in a safe manner to produce the very best project results.”


* Mark of Schlumberger

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FMC Technologies

InnovatIve technology proves Its worth

Enhanced Vertical Deepwater Tree readily configures to project’s specific need.

an award-winning technology by FMc technologies enabled shell’s parque das conchas project to better utilize a deepwater drilling rig and will help significantly reduce the amount of pro- duction downtime normally experienced during maintenance and meter replacement. FMc’s enhanced vertical Deepwater tree (evDt) has a num- ber of innovative features that provide versatility, installation sav- ings, and operational efficiencies for deepwater projects such as parque das conchas, located in the Bc-10 block offshore Brazil, operated by shell in a joint venture with petrobras and ongc. Because of its slimbore completion system, the evDt allows for deepwater completions from a small drilling rig containing a surface blowout preventer (Bop), thus avoiding the need for an expensive deepwater rig and subsea Bop system. “the evDt tree system is an improved design that is more flexible and standardized and allows for more efficient installa- tion,” said chris Bartlett, FMc product Development Manager. “By having a tree design that is standard in all of the core com- ponents, the system can be readily configured across a range of options to meet the requirements of a particular field. It allowed us to deliver significant added value to shell because they can employ the same standard tree design anywhere in the world.” Milton villasboas, FMc technologies Bc-10 overall engi- neering Manager, said, “shell saw significant capeX savings by leveraging the evDt tree design which has been used on the shell perdido project in the gulf of Mexico and shell gumusut

perdido project in the gulf of Mexico and shell gumusut All subsea separation and production equipment

All subsea separation and production equipment for BC-10 was manufactured at FMC’s plant in Brazil.

for BC-10 was manufactured at FMC’s plant in Brazil. Two gas/liquid separation and ESP boosting modules

Two gas/liquid separation and ESP boosting modules assem- bled on top of the artificial lift manifold are shown. Two of these manifolds were installed in Parque das Conchas.

(Photos courtesy of FMC Technologies)

project in Malaysia. since these designs have been used on other shell deepwater projects, the company was able to move fast and at less cost by using a global standard and avoiding the time and cost to redesign the tree system for different projects. with the synergy at the components/tooling level, less shell proj- ect staff was needed during the engineering phase.” the new subsea tree, which received the new technology award at the offshore technology conference in 2008, fea- tures a number of enhancements. the actuators, seal, and con- nectors have all been upgraded to FMc’s latest standard product offering, and the tree features a 13 5 8-in. oD tubing hanger system, allowing interface to the surface Bops. the tree system also incorporates a retrievable flow control module in place of the traditional insert retrievable choke, which can be configured to accommodate a choke as well as a sin- gle or multiphase flowmeter. this allows production downtime to be cut from a matter of days to a matter of hours during maintenance and meter replacement. additional benefits include the ability to shift a tree between production, water injection, or gas injection by changing the flow control module. the evDt also allows for flexibility in installing tubing hangers, permitting a customer to either use a tubing head or to simply land the tubing hanger directly into a wellhead without the need for a tubing head. this results in a more efficient installation when completion and drilling operations are conducted and does not require a customer to retrieve the subsea Bop and riser.

“FMC has a long relationship with Shell in the Gulf of Mex- ico,” said Villasboas. “Our subsea expertise and the seamless work environment developed between our companies throughout the years have resulted in successful teamwork. We believe that, after evaluating the local industry challenges and capabilities in Brazil, Shell saw that the successful business model created in Houston could be replicated with FMC Technologies do Brazil given our local subsea expertise and manufacturing capability. Besides the technologies’ engineering capability, FMC was able to support Shell in dealing with logistics and other associated business matters in Brazil.” FMC’s scope of supply on the project included 10 subsea trees with tree mounted controls rated at 10,000 psi; two subsea production manifolds; two subsea artificial lift manifolds (ALMs); six subsea separation and boosting modules; 15 PLETs; 26 rigid jumpers; one completion and workover riser system with interven- tion, workover, and control systems; topsides controls; and subsea mounted controls. The subsea system was engineered and manu- factured at FMC’s facilities in Rio de Janeiro. New technology used on the project included 1,500 elec- tric submersible pumps (ESPs) which were rated to provide sub- sea boosting of up to 2,300 psi. Also, in the BC-10 Vertical Caisson Separator (VCS) System, the multiphase flow was introduced through a purposefully angled and tangential inlet. “This inlet allowed for smaller caisson diame- ters,” said Villasboas. The separation of the multiphase inlet flow into liquid and gas components occurs as the stream spirals down inside of the VCS. Centrifugal and gravitational forces cause the heavier elements (solids and liquids) to be thrown outward to the VCS wall and downward to the Caisson Sump (CS). The ESP sus- pended from the ESP Hanger on the tubing pumps liquids and associated solids from the CS to the Top End Assembly (TEA) flowloops through the Manifold Multibore Interface (MMI) and downstream through in-field flowlines to the Production Host Facil- ity (PHF). The gas liberated from the multiphase stream rises natu- rally through the annulus created between the outside diameter (OD) of the ESP tubing and the internal diameter (ID) of the VCS into the TEA flowloop, through the MMI and downstream through the in-field flowline to the PHF. The ESP string, TEA, and VCS may be retrieved sequentially from the permanently installed manifold. “There were many challenges in this project as it was the biggest subsea system ever delivered by FMC Technologies in Brazil, and it also included a large portion of new product development,” said Villasboas. “The early development of the Artificial Lift System contributed to improvement in the project schedule by enabling managers to order items with long lead times and immediately launch into the detail design engineering at final investment decision (FID). Also, the System Integration Testing performed on the Arctic 1 rig enabled identification of critical interfaces, anticipation of problems, and avoided rig downtime during boosting modules installation. This was a very good practice that will be followed by future projects.”

By utilizing FMC’s subsea separation technology, the Parque das Conchas project became more economically viable. “The field was characterized by low reservoir pressure, which made it difficult to bring the hydrocarbons to the surface,” said Bill Houston, Project Development Manager. “Subsea separation and boosting is an excellent option for a low energy reservoir like Parque das Conchas.” The FMC team in Brazil included 25 project management per- sonnel as well as 60 project management people supported by various other departments and plant employees at the FMC Tech- nologies’ facility in Rio de Janeiro. “This has been another success- ful project in the long track record of success enabled by the strategic relationship between Shell and FMC,” said Villasboas.

“Shell and FMC have worked together on some of the industry’s most complex deepwater projects.”

—Jeff Mathews, Shell Global Business Program Manager

And, following in the footsteps of the EDVT innovation, FMC Technologies’ expertise again will be honored at the 2010 Off- shore Technology Conference with another Spotlight on New Technology Award – this time for its Self Configuring Multiphase Meter. The meter has been rated at 15,000 psi and tempera- tures of up to 480°F (249°C). It also has been designed for use at water depths of 11,500 ft (3,500 m) and performs in multi- phase and wet gas applications. Through the use of 3-D tomog- raphy imaging, the meter significantly improves the measurement accuracy and range of multiphase product flow. The self-calibrating meter detects and measures water salinity in combination with other liquids in a flow stream, thus saving operators time and enhancing production knowledge. Working together since the early 1990s, Shell and FMC Technologies have successfully developed some of the world’s most challenging projects including Shell’s Mensa project, the Shell Coulomb Field, and the Shell Princess Project. “Shell and FMC have worked together on some of the indus- try’s most complex deepwater projects,” said Jeff Mathews, Shell Global Business Program Manager. “We continue to look forward to supporting Shell’s projects throughout the globe.” n

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GSF ARCTIC I SetS FirStS in Drilling, CompletionS

Transocean and Shell used their extensive SBOP experience when partnering on the Parque das Conchas project.

Working closely with Shell, transocean employed surface Bop (SBop) technology while conducting drilling and subsea completion activities in several parque das Conchas reservoirs in up to 6,316 ft (1,925 m) of water. the GSF Arctic I drilled and completed 12 wells from the start of the campaign on march 21, 2008, finishing the project on schedule. Using a pre-laid wire-and-polyester mooring system, the GSF Arctic I also achieved recognition for setting the Brazilian record for the deepest mooring of a mobile offshore drilling unit on the B West, Abalone well, working in 6,316 ft of water. “over the years, transocean has drilled some 200 wells using SBop technology. this project created a great opportunity to work with Shell personnel to develop the unique SBop design for the parque das Conchas project, building on both Shell’s and transocean’s extensive SBop experience,” said guilherme Coelho, transocean’s managing Director in Brazil. “this project shows the value of SBop technology and true teamwork.” perhaps the most unique aspect of the project was the specially designed SBop handling system in the moon pool of the GSF Arctic I. it featured a circular track so that the complete Bop could be moved between the storage stump and the well center without removing control hoses. this approach reduced time while mini- mizing exposure and over the side work during SBop handling. operations also included the first application of a purpose-built 16-in. buoyed high-pressure (6,000 psi) riser employing merlin™ connections with metal-to-metal pre-loaded seals. the GSF Arctic I also deployed all the subsea pumping sys- tem components at two flowline manifold locations. Before the drilling and completion activities, Shell, transocean, and third-party service companies collaborated closely to optimize planning, equipment, and performance. A key aspect of these activities was identifying the most effective equipment to support the drilling and completion oper- ations. For example, the triple-redundant subsea isolation device (SiD) control system was configured for optimal performance with acoustic as the primary control system backed by umbilical and roV intervention equipment. the SiD consisted of a dual- ram preventer, inverted hydraulically operated riser connector, and a hydraulically operated wellhead connector.

connector, and a hydraulically operated wellhead connector. Transocean used surface BOP technology in BC-10 drilling and

Transocean used surface BOP technology in BC-10 drilling

and completion activities. (Photo courtesy of Transocean)

While Brazilian waters are relatively benign, the SBop sys- tem on the parque das Conchas project could still be discon- nected quickly in an emergency, if required. to further optimize the rig’s performance, the GSF Arctic I utilized an onboard computer system for Halliburton’s insite Any- where web delivery service. this real-time operations center enabled Shell to track and optimize the rig’s drilling perform- ance data anywhere in the world through the worldwide web. the experiences gained on the parque das Conchas drilling and completions campaign will undoubtedly be applied to future projects, and transocean and the crews of the GSF Arctic I congratulate Shell and its co-venturers petrobras and ongC on a successful project and look forward to the next opportunity. n

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Oil States Industries

proven technologies overcome new challenges

Working with Shell, Oil States Industries made significant contributions to the Parque das Conchas project by using proven technologies adapted in new ways.

From oil states industries (UK) ltd. in aberdeen, scotland, came the 16-in. diameter marine drilling riser that employed the merlin connector – a connector for use in water depth of up to 7,500 ft (2,286 m) – ideal for parque das conchas’ deepwater environment. the merlin connector has a low profile that minimizes weight and the subsequent requirement for expensive buoyancy. the weight savings allow lower cost second- and third-generation rigs to be used in water depths they are unable to achieve conventionally.

in water depths they are unable to achieve conventionally. Riser joints for the BC-10 development. (Photo

Riser joints for the BC-10 development. (Photo courtesy of Oil

States Industries)

“a total of 170 riser joints of 50 ft (15 m) length were sup- plied to X80 pipe specification together with 18 pup joints of various lengths,” said John gallagher, Development manager. “a riser spider together with two connector makeup tools also was provided. the spider was fitted with a gimbal to minimize stress in the riser due to vessel motion. all the risers were shipped in custom-designed frames, each accommodating four standard riser joints.” since the riser needs to be installed and retrieved frequently without suffering any loss in performance of the metal seals that are integral to the merlin connector design, an extensive testing program was implemented to demonstrate seal integrity and structural capacity after multiple connector make ups. assembly tooling for the merlin connector was specifically

designed to maintain orientation with the spider gimbal to allow make up to proceed when the riser was departing at an angle. “weld procedures were specially developed for the project and carried out by the highly skilled work force in our aberdeen facility. the procedures were validated by full-scale resonance fatigue testing,” said gallagher. meanwhile, across the atlantic, the oil states industries inc. group in arlington, texas, adapted its proven scr FlexJoint® technology to accommodate shell’s turret connection system for the floating production, storage, and offloading (Fpso) vessel for the parque das conchas project. “oil states provided scr FlexJoints® and associated riser hang off assemblies to allow flexible interface between the steel lazy wave riser (slwr) and i-tubes for the espírito santo Fpso,” said Jim norris, program manager – projects. “a total of eight assemblies with five 10-in. production units, one 8-in. service unit, and two 6-in. gas units were provided.” the use of the turret interface to connect scrs to the Fpso was one of the challenges on this project, according to norris. “oil states worked with shell during its development to ensure the flexible joint design would interface directly with the turret connection system. our work included geometry constraints, sizing, and engineering to confirm that the loading reacted through the connection system would be suitable for the flexible joint.” he continued, “the close working relationship between the engineering, project management, and material assessment groups in both shell and oil states allowed us to be proactive in solving particular issues that arose during the fast-track development process. maintaining these core group relationships between companies is an essential element to effectively bringing future projects of this type to a successful and satisfying conclusion.” n

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SBM Offshore

First industry use oF sLWrs on turret-moored FPso

SBM's innovative riser use opens new deepwater possibilities.

the operations center of the Parque das Conchas project in the BC-10 field is FPso Espirito Santo, jointly owned by sBm offshore and misC, and currently the deepest moored FPso of the sBm fleet. this floating production facility is the world’s first turret-moored FPso using steel risers for fluid transfer. in this project, the steel risers are configured as steel Lazy Wave risers (sLWr) and became an effective strategy to reduce the path to first oil. shell operates this joint venture with partners Petrobras and onGC.

this joint venture with partners Petrobras and onGC. The Espirito Santo at anchor in Singapore. (Photo

The Espirito Santo at anchor in Singapore.

(Photo courtesy of SBM Offshore)

during the Feed phase of the Parque das Conchas project,

shell considered a number of riser systems including steel cate- nary risers, flexible risers, and hybrid risers. shell also conducted

a study to verify that the use of flexible risers was feasible based on the project’s riser diameters and water depths. since fatigue

of the riser at the touchdown point ruled out sCrs and the cost

of hybrid risers was deemed too high, sLWrs and flexibles were then evaluated based on payload, cost, and schedule. While costs of the two systems were comparable, the sLWr system payload proved to be approximately 50% of the flexible riser system. scheduling for the flexibles also became a problem since the offshore market was booming at that time and the flex- ible manufacturer’s lead time to deliver the risers was incompati- ble with the project schedule.

the choice of the sLWr system necessitated the use of an internal turret system on the FPso instead of an external bow- mounted turret. since large riser pay loads were expected due to the Parque das Conchas water depth, this internal turret solu- tion permitted the pitch motions of the risers to be significantly reduced, resulting in an improved fatigue performance from the risers. specifically designed for the Parque das Conchas proj- ect, the Espirito Santo’s turret is comprised of a total of 21 riser and umbilical slots. the swivel stack includes eight toroidal fluid swivels, one double-drum HP/LP multipath utility swivel, two HV electric swivels, and one power/control/optical swivel. “this innovation opens up opportunities for fields in ultra- deepwater where flexible riser technology is not considered to be feasible, due to high pressure, extreme water depth, large diameter, or a combination of all these,” said mike Wyllie, sBm Chief technology officer. “the capability to connect steel risers to a turret-moored FPso is an enabling technology that will open exciting new opportunities for challenging field developments.” the internal turret was modified so that the risers and umbili- cals would be terminated in the lower turret cylinder. this allowed a shortened straight inclined riser i-tube to mitigate any pipe interference for the pull-in of the sLWrs. Clamps retain the risers at the top of the i-tubes, thus transferring axial loads from the riser to the turret. A clamp casting welded at the bottom of the i-tubes houses a stopper arrangement designed to transfer shear forces and movements from the riser to the turret. to accomplish the termination, a new lower turret configura- tion was developed by sBm with three deck levels in the lower turret cylinder. to facilitate a straight pull-in path for the risers, the location of the pull-in winch was located on the Collar deck, as opposed to the traditional upper deck, and a special movable platform was developed to locate the winch in line with each of the i-tubes. the increased complexity of the turret design was compensated by the reduced riser payload and the overall mooring and riser cost efficiency. since this was the first time an sLWr had been used on a turret moored FPso, a new interface mechanism was designed to fix the riser to the guide tubes. the design consisted of a flex joint, journal forging, and upper attachment assembly on the riser end; and a clamp casting and hangoff collar on the guide tube. “the challenge was to integrate the sLWr design and the FPso design, to ensure that the vessel motions and the sLWr fatigue were jointly optimized,” noted Wyllie.

Multiphase Solutions

Multiphase Solutions

Ensuring highly EfficiEnt systEm opErations

BC-10 subsea system addresses several 

operational constraints.

the Bc-10 subsea system consists of dual flowlines that connect to lazy-wave risers connected to the floating production, storage, and offloading (fpso) vessel. msi’s scope was to determine a feasible operating scenario to avoid slugging throughout field life. the operating scenarios considered a range of production variables such as flow rates, water cut, and gas/oil ratio (gor) over the life of the Bc-10 fields. as a result, msi was able to suggest mitigation strategies for predicted slugging and avoid any topsides liquid handling issues for a wide variety of operating conditions. for Bc-10, slugging is an issue for low-flow-rate scenarios due to the down-sloping flowline as it approaches the riser base and the lazy-wave riser configuration. after a detailed analysis of various cases, we identified a slugging envelope bounded by flow rate, gas/liquid ratio, and water cuts. after the slugging envelope was developed, various slug mitigation methods such as gas lifting, combining flow, and topsides choking were ana- lyzed. topsides choking was recommended to mitigate slugging, since this method produces a back pressure on the arriving slugs and limits the surge volume to less than the slug catcher capacity. it also limits the topside pressure to less than the set value of the high integrity pressure protection system (hipps). gas lift, as a

SBM Offshore continued

sBm offshore designed and supplied the slWr and umbili- cal pull-in equipment while working closely with the shell team to ensure the compatibility of rigging pulling head and key inter- face equipment. all the offshore operations of pull-in through the i-tubes were performed successfully as part of the site integration tests. Working hand-in-hand, shell’s design of the riser clamp casting enabled sufficient tolerance while providing an efficient way to secure the structural interface with the i-tube bottom. meanwhile, sBm offshore’s winch platform design enabled perfect alignment of the winch cable to the i-tube axis. as a result, the pull-in team would have been ready for another pull-in within six to eight hours, which indicates that the pre-installation of slWr and recovery of the slWrs and umbilicals from the seabed is an effective strategy to reduce the path to first oil. n

method of slug mitigation, could not be recommended because of lower arrival temperature and erosional concerns due to adding gas to the production fluid. also, the erosional problems would still persist if the flow were combined into a single line. overall, the Bc-10 system had three operational constraints:

inlet pressure, slugging, and erosion. through the range of produc- tion scenarios that were considered, safe operating windows were identified that address both the operational constraints and slugging issues seen through the expected operating regions, thus helping to ensure the system operates with the highest efficiency. n

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Baker Hughes

Through collaboraTion wiTh Shell, innovaTive anSwerS developed

Baker Hughes customizes pumping solutions to solve development’s challenges.

baker hughes brought a totally different subsea solution for deepwater applications to Shell’s parque das conchas field development by installing electrical submersible pumping (eSp) systems in caisson on the seabed to boost several produc- tion wells in commingle with a single unit. Traditionally, eSps are installed in well bores. The project, located in bc-10 block offshore brazil, encompasses three separate fields – ostra, abalone, and argonauta b-west – each with different challenges. baker hughes’ technical capability to develop a fit-for-purpose solution as well as the company’s demonstrated commitment to investment in new technologies resulted in a collaborative approach to solving the develop- ment’s challenges with Shell. Two of the fields in bc-10 – ostra and argonauta b-west – which Shell operates in a joint venture with petrobras and ongc, are equipped with eSp systems located inside a caisson below the seabed. Several production wells can feed the eSp. however, due to different operating philosophies,

both fields have different configurations. “The ostra field is composed of two connected production manifolds that bring the production from several wells to the artifi- cial lift manifold (alM),” said ignacio Martinez, artificial lift and Flow assurance Technical Manager for baker hughes. “The alM is 9 km (approximately 5.6 miles) from the floating production storage and offloading [FpSo] unit and contains four caisson electrical submersible pumping systems.” each eSp is enclosed in a 32-in. caisson and there is a gas line that connects the four caissons to the FpSo. The gas is separated from the liquid and vented through the gas line to the FpSo. “This configuration, also called a separator caisson, allows the liquid to fall to the bottom of the caisson where it will then be pumped through a flowline by the eSp equipment to the FpSo,” Martinez explained. The eSp operates as a fluid level control dispositive in the caisson. The pressure on the gas line controls the intake pressure on the eSp equipment and that pressure can be adjusted from the FpSo. production from abalone, the third field, is commingled with the ostra field. abalone has a low flowrate and high gas/oil ratio.

field. abalone has a low flowrate and high gas/oil ratio. Baker Hughes installed ESPs in caisson

Baker Hughes installed ESPs in caisson on the seabed to boost several production wells in commingle with a single unit. (Photo courtesy of Baker Hughes)

“That high gas rate allows pressure to be kept on the gas line. without that extra gas from abalone, there would not be enough gas on the gas line to flow through, complicating operational issues and not making it possible to use the gas line on the separator caisson,” Martinez said. in the second field, argonauta b-west, the caisson is also fed with several production wells, but there is no gas separation. The eSp systems are designed to handle more than 40% gas entrained in the fluids. in this case, the intake pressure is controlled by the eSp. “argonauta b-west with 17 api is a heavier fluid than ostra at 28 api, which also affects the operational procedures,” he said. “The objective was to supply an enhanced run life eSp systems based on proven technology to meet both scenarios where rapid gas decompression, temperature cycles, high-power and high-vol- ume eSp systems are compatible with the subsea infrastructure and Shell’s operational philosophy,” Martinez said. critical to the baker hughes solution was the fact that the eSp systems were planned as an integral component of the entire

hardware configuration. “This differs from the approaches where the ESP is considered as a separate item instead of being pre-planned as part of the final configuration,” Martinez said. Baker Hughes’ dedication to delivering reliable and techni- cally innovative products and services was applied to the full scale of the process, from the initial research and design efforts through describing the application, qualifying the manufacturing,

transporting, and installing the solutions through to commissioning and operation of the equipment. “This project presented unique challenges and demanded innovative approaches to meet Parque das Conchas’ needs,” Mar- tinez noted. “Although we have a demonstrated track record in subsea applications, the complexity of this subsea infrastructure and associated procedures for BC-10 called upon many of our resources. Many hours were dedicated to workshops, internal meetings and meetings with Shell’s experts. Testing of new solu- tions was required for hardware and new procedures were devel- oped to operate and control the ESP equipment. Many of the hardware solutions on the BC-10 ESP equipment are unique.” Specifically, the motor used for the ESPs in the BC-10 develop- ment was designed and manufactured with new high-end technol- ogy seals. “Vanguard™ has been proven to enhance reliability when compared with standard motor construction,” said Martinez. “The extreme performance motor with Vanguard technology is a precision design, manufactured to the highest industry standards. The motors are assembled in a specially designated facility under the close scrutiny of design engineers from Centrilift, a Baker Hughes subsidiary.” The main hardware improvements were made to the seal section and were required because of expected rapid gas decompression during some transient periods of operation. “Baker Hughes developed solutions to hold up to 1,000 psi per minute of gas decompression from 3,000 to 1,000 psi and 350 psi per minute from 1,000 to 300 psi,” he said. Rapid decompression is detrimental to all elastomers, necessitating evaluation of composition and change to metal configurations. Components, such as the o-rings on the motor and pump and the power cable were evaluated. “The BC-10 operational procedures are unique and involve

a new philosophy of how to operate ESP equipment,” Martinez noted. “Commissioning of the system and startup has been flawless and the system is in continual operation. To date, there is no subsea boosting system that has the high-volume and high boosting pressure capabilities of this Baker Hughes ESP system, which is considered the most cost-effective solution to the type


operations present in the BC-10 development.” Martinez said the main objective of all the research was


bring the lessons learned to the design stage, thereby

reducing the learning curve during the operational phase.

“The applied technology and research enhances the run life

of the ESP system and, ultimately, will result in a reduction in

the number of interventions.”

Early research and development also improved the quality and outcome of a project which is often influenced by the process and relationship between the operator and the contractor. “In many cases, the operator focuses on the ESP as hardware only, neglect- ing the importance of the process in the conceptual phase of the project,” Martinez noted. “Our work with Shell demonstrates the benefits gained with collaborating to solve unique challenges.” Many Baker Hughes personnel contributed to the success of the project, especially those located in Brazil. “The entire system has been installed and operated by Brazilian people, demonstrating the expertise available in the region for delivery of this type of high-end project,” said Martinez. “Rui Pessoa, a member of the Brazil team, was the dedicated desk engineer located in Houston who committed more than 18 months to project details. Other key personnel included Howard Thompson and his team as technical support; Carl Grotzinger and Ben Gould as project managers and Bill Largess and his team who managed all processing and manufacturing in Claremore, Okla. All advance qualification testing for every piece of the system was performed using the test wells in the Claremore facility. Our management dedicated its best resources from the region as well as from headquarters.” Research and development was used in installations in Claremore for several studies. The most important was the development of a new high viscosity loop to determine pump operating performance and motor temperature profile in high viscosity scenarios. “This was the first time ever that high volume pumps (10,000 b/d to more than 40,000 b/d) were tested under those conditions and the results were exciting – demonstrating that high volume ESP pumps can be much more efficient than expected,” said Martinez. “This was a dedicated, successful partnership with Shell which led to further improvements in our processes, products and quality of our services,” Martinez noted. “Our collabora- tion with Shell resulted in a mutual understanding of critical interfaces and delivery of innovative solutions.” n

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UniqUe cross-section design developed

Oceaneering and Shell collaborate on advances in umbilical technology.

oceaneering provided one of the key solutions for shell’s par- que das conchas project located in the Bc-10 block offshore Brazil – an umbilical whose cross-section design includes multi- ple power transmission circuits as well as electro-hydraulic con- trol and chemical service elements. shell operates this project as a joint venture with partners petrobras and ongc. “We collaborated with shell to develop a technical solution that allowed for subsea power transmission and subsea controls distribution to be optimized at Bc-10 through the use of a sin- gle cross section for each of the three umbilical risers,” said nick Wood, oceaneering senior project Manager. “each riser incorporates three Mv power circuits and standard electro- hydraulic control elements.” david emery, senior project Manager, noted, “the three- phase power cables were built as trefoils before being incorpo- rated into the umbilical, resulting in superior power transmission quality, which, in turn, improves the reliability of the subsea pro- cessing equipment. Additionally, the trefoil design significantly reduced interference between the power circuits and the low voltage communication system.” “We had to develop a complex multicable splicing technique due to the need to provide three trefoil medium voltage (Mv) cir- cuits within the umbilical,” added Andre chartier, engineering Manager at the time of the Bc-10 project and currently part of the Advanced technologies group. “the splicing technique that we developed maintained the electrical characteristics of the cable

maintained the electrical characteristics of the cable The 30-ton bobbins on the cabling machine resulted in

The 30-ton bobbins on the cabling machine resulted in fewer

splices in the power triads. (Photos courtesy of Oceaneering)

while minimizing any impact to its tensile and mechanical capa- bilities. Additionally, the splicing did not change the cross-sectional profile of the cable, maintaining the overall umbilical diameter.” With the aggressive manufacturing program schedule, oceaneering developed a multicable splicing regime where the slimline Mv splices were made on the three trefoils concurrently, minimizing the impact to the cabling schedule. the slimline electrical abandonment cap design is suitable for one-year subsea storage and 9,843 ft (3,000 m) water depth. While the biggest challenge was providing the composite umbilical in a continuous length, other major challenges included coordinating the large total scope of the umbilical and termina- tions design and manufacture. this included a comprehensive set of analysis activities including power transmission, thermal per- formance, and dynamic and fatigue modeling including vortex- induced vibration (viv) analysis. in addition, an extensive design and manufacturing verification program was undertaken to prove up the design. Finally, the scope involved a large number of sub supply vendors located in multiple locations around the world, requiring a comprehensive vendor management program. specifically, oceaneering’s scope of work on the parque das conchas project included:


three Medium voltage/electro Hydraulic (Mv/eH) control umbilicals with a total length of 99,407 ft (30,298 m);


three static control umbilicals with a total length of 70,213 ft (21,400 m); and

n steel tube flying lead umbilical with a total length of 16,733 ft (5,100 m). in addition, the following components were manufactured in order to assemble the umbilicals:


1.6 million ft (492 km) of oversheathed steel tube;


705,000 ft (225 km) of low voltage controls system cables that included electrostatic and electromagnetic shielding to minimize crosstalk between the Mv and low voltage (lv) circuits;


29 each of 10,500 ft (3,200 m) Mv trefoils, including two manufacturing contingency spares; and

n 1.6 million ft (492 km) of extruded profiled filler. oceaneering’s Umbilical termination Hardware includes its own list of impressive accomplishments:

n three each, 15 ft (5 m) long pull heads, manufactured in multiple sections to facilitate installation monitoring. the pull heads also incorporated a secondary hang-off groove to ease installation activities;


Three each, 18 ft (5.4 m) dynamic bend stiffeners (BSR) with a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) operable latching system;


Two thousand feet (600 m) of VIV suppression devices (strakes);


Two hundred distributed buoyancy modules; and

n Multiple repair splice kits and subsea Umbilical Termina- tion Head (UTH) interface assemblies with vertebrae bend restrictors (VBR). Extensive experience in the design and manufacturing of umbilicals combining power transmission with production control functions allowed Oceaneering to address the design challenges specific to this type of umbilical, such as internal heat generation, electrical interference, and increased mechanical loads. “Oceaneering developed and enhanced existing techniques to study the interaction of the MV and LV electrical circuits, includ- ing their impact on the operating temperature of the umbilical in the upper section of the dynamic umbilicals,” Emery noted. “We also performed 3-D thermal analysis to evaluate the effect of the insulating properties of the unusually large polyurethane bend stiffener on the operating temperature of the umbilical.” Other specific testing included:


Tension/torsion testing;


Crush and installation simulation;


Reverse bend and flex fatigue;


Qualification of splicing techniques and abandonment caps;


Verification of electromagnetic interference (EMI); and

n Multiple mechanical tests of hardware components. Two of Oceaneering’s accomplishments on the project will likely make an impact on the BC-10 project’s life cycle operating costs. “Improved power transmission quality results in lower volt- age imbalances on the subsea pump motors, thus improving their reliability,” said Matt Smith, Oceaneering’s Commercial Opera- tions Manager. “Additionally, use of a single umbilical riser cross section reduced the costs of the qualification program.” As with all umbilical projects of this size and complexity, Oceaneering put in place a dedicated project team to ensure successful completion of the project scope. “Oceaneering dedi- cated five full-time team members at our facility in Panama City, Florida, during the execution of the BC-10 project,” said Wood. “Three full-time team members in Brazil contributed to the project along with multiple other team members who joined during spe- cific phases of the work. Cumulatively, more than 200 Oceaneer- ing employees played a role in the successful completion of the umbilical scope for the Parque das Conchas project.” Oceaneering utilized a variety of its facilities around the world to bring their part of the project to fruition. “The BC-10 umbilical supply was an example of successful cross-regional project execu- tion,” said Smith. “Each of Oceaneering Multiflex’ three umbilical factories (in Panama City; Rosyth, Scotland; and Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil) are capable of supplying a full range of products and services. In the case of BC-10, Oceaneering was able to bring this global capacity to bear, supplying the long-length

this global capacity to bear, supplying the long-length Loadout of the umbilicals at Oceaneering’s deep-draft

Loadout of the umbilicals at Oceaneering’s deep-draft quayside.

umbilicals from Panama City while supplying the flying leads and performing qualification testing in Brazil.” A comprehensive list of “lessons learned” from the BC-10 proj- ect will be incorporated into future practices. “We made significant advancements in our technical capabilities with respect to the electrical, thermal, and dynamic analysis activities required to support this type of major project,” said Chartier. “We developed and implemented new splicing techniques for the MV power conductor trefoils and we applied updated processes to improve the safety and quality of oversheathing steel tubes.” With the successful completion of the Parque das Conchas umbil- ical, Oceaneering is looking forward to the next challenging project. “Due to the compelling economic impact of subsea pumping, umbilicals for this type of application are among the fastest- growing sectors of the umbilical market,” said Charles (Chuck) Davison, vice president of Oceaneering Multiflex. “Oceaneering’s successful execution of the BC-10 umbilical project is the result of ongoing investments in people, processes, and facilities dedicated to maintaining market leadership in this technology. The umbilicals that Oceaneering designed, manufactured, and tested for the Parque das Conchas project demonstrate our commitment to provide superior technical solutions for the most challenging deepwater developments.” n

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Setting Deepwater recorDS in Brazil

Mooring contractor provides wide range of services as well as driven conductor and pipe installation.

interMoor is a full-service mooring contractor whose broad repertoire of services includes engineering design, innovative technique development, installation, and testing of deep-sea mooring systems. the company’s role has recently expanded to include driven conductor and pipe installation. a good case in point is the recent Bc-10 project offshore Brazil. there, interMoor was challenged to design and install the mooring system for the 327,000-ton FpSo Espirito Santo in 5,800 ft (1,780 m) of water, as well as position and drive conductors for the development wells and for the artificial lift caissons on the seabed. the sea off the coast of Brazil is characterized by very long period deep-ocean swells. these conditions had to be taken into account in both the design and the installation of the mooring system and the installation of the conductors and caissons.

Mooring designed to last Unlike a temporary mooring for a drilling rig that will be moving on after a few weeks, the system for the FpSo must be capable of performing its task for 30 years or more. accordingly, inter- Moor closely collaborated with the operator, Shell, and its geo- mechanics contractor to select the optimum location on the seabed to install the nine anchors. installed in groups of three at 120-degree intervals, the anchors were to be pre-set in advance of the arrival of the Espirito Santo from its conversion site in Singapore. the seabed in the vicinity was characterized by turbiditic depo- sition caused by massive sloughing of sediments off the continental shelf. not only was the seabed extremely heterogeneous, but it also contained large buried mass-transport deposits (MtD). Hitting one of these MtDs while setting an anchor could prevent it from reaching its designed penetration depth. installation of the anchors was straightforward. interMoor has designed and installed hundreds of similar systems. each cylindrical anchor was 16.4 ft (5 m) in diameter and was targeted to penetrate between 53 ft and 57 ft (16 and 7.5 m) below the seabed. the open-bottom cylinders were lowered into position by the OCV Normand Installer and achieved initial self-weight penetration of the seabed. Final penetration was achieved by pumping water out of the anchor via a valve on its top. the resulting suction allowed hydrostatic pressure to

top. the resulting suction allowed hydrostatic pressure to A 55-ton, 4-tube, ALM template is hung off

A 55-ton, 4-tube, ALM template is hung off vertically in the stern of the AHV prior to launch. (Photo courtesy of InterMoor)

set the anchors firmly in the seabed at which time the valve is closed and the anchor is ready for rigging. on the Bc-10 project, the anchors were rigged chain/poly/chain with both the upper and lower ends of each mooring line made of steel chain and the center (longest) span made of polyester rope. polyester rope is almost neutrally buoyant in water so it provides the required tensile strength without adding weight to the vessel. anchor lines were pre-laid on the seabed, so when the Espirito Santo arrived all that was required to moor her was to pull in the nine anchor lines, tension them properly, and make them fast to the cleats in the turret.

Conductor placement challenges interMoor was also challenged to pre-install conductor casing for the Bc-10 development wells and for the production caissons that housed the artificial lift systems. For the 36-in.-diameter well conductors, the main challenge was timing. they had to be pre-installed off the critical path for the Arctic 1 drilling rig so as not to delay drilling. For the 48-in.-diameter artificial lift conduc- tors, the challenge was precision. they had to all be driven to the same level (within a 2-in. tolerance of each other) and within 1 degree of verticality. in all, 17 conductors were installed.

InterMoor managed this project from conception through development and finally execution. These conductors were the first pre-installed driven conductors in deep water, and during the project development and execution there were several other industry firsts, as could be expected when operating in waters ranging in depth from 5,412 to 6,298 ft (1,650 to 1,920 m). Among these were:


Vertical transportation and insertion of massive artificial lift module (ALM) templates into the water followed by horizontal lowering to the seabed;


Deepwater hydraulic hammer spread deployed and operated from an anchor-handling vessel (AHV); and


A new deepwater hammering depth record (6,298 ft).

In addition, as a direct result of the learnings from Phase I of the BC-10 project, InterMoor engineers have designed and tested a prototype 15-ton enhanced passive heave compen- sator. It is specifically intended for metocean conditions on long-period deep ocean swells as found offshore Brazil and West Africa. As a result of the successful prototype testing, a commercial version rated to 60-tons is being built and design is complete for a 75-ton unit. The new design, which is unique in the industry, is currently planned for BC-10 Phase II conductor and ALM template installations. This helps enhance perform- ance and helps retain the commercial advantage of performing the installation from a smaller vessel without the need for large construction vessels. Although conductors typically are installed using a jetting technique, for the BC-10 project a hydraulic hammer was planned. This was largely to ensure that the required vertical precision and setting depth accuracy could be achieved. This is because a driven product is better understood than a jetted product from a geotechnical perspective; therefore, the final capacity, penetration requirements, conductor length, and setup are easy to calculate. Driven installations have traditionally been conducted using very large crane barges or construction vessels. However, these vessels command a very high day rate and are of limited availability. Accordingly, InterMoor developed a technique to effectively launch conductors off a flat barge and install them using the operator’s own AHV.

ALM templates set precisely The massive ALM templates were transported to location vertically on the back of the AHV. The large four-conductor ALM templates weighed 55 tons and the small two-conductor ones weighed 35 tons. They were carefully lowered into the water and only turned to the horizontal position after they were below the level of surface disturbance (waves and ocean swells). The ALMs were precisely positioned on the seabed within 20-in. horizontal and 1.5-degree heading tolerances. Fine-tuning was accomplished with the help of the ship’s remotely operated vehicle (ROV). All of the 48-in.-

diameter conductors were to be installed through alignment tubes in the templates. There was only ½-in. tolerance between the alignment tube ID and the conductor OD.

Novel technique used After attaching the work wire from the AHV to the top of a con- ductor on the barge, the conductor was positioned on a sloping ramp and rolled off the barge into the sea. The conductor han- dling system was also designed and fabricated by InterMoor specifically for this project, and allowed for the safe movement of single conductors on the barge to the launching ramp. When entering the sea, the conductor filled instantly with water and swung in a pendulum motion through the water column until it stabilized in the vertical position under the stern roller of the AHV. Once in the vertical position, and hanging on the passive heave compensator, the rigging was checked by an ROV and the con- ductor was lowered to the seabed. On the seabed the conductor self-weight penetrated enough to ensure stability (both structural and geotechnical), at which point the ROV connected to a suction port on the suction to stability (STS) head and pumped out water from the conductor and gained additional penetration and further stability before landing the 80-ton hammer on the conductor for driving. The STS head was designed and fabricated by InterMoor to provide additional contingency in the case that the conductor stopped short during the self weight penetration phase. With the STS head removed, the subsea hydraulic hammer could be landed and the conductor driven to final penetration. Tolerance was met on all conductors the first time, with no re-driving required, mainly due to the hammer being able to reduce energy and to single blow counts during the final blows. This allows it to be a very controlled driving process, even at such depths.

Advantages The single biggest advantage of this novel approach was that it removed the installation of 17 conductors from the rig’s critical path; however, there is also an argument that this reduces risk because it reduces multiple handling of many large pipe sec- tions offshore. It also delivers a well-understood product (driven conductor) with a known capacity, which is not the case with traditional jetted conductors. n

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Bredero Shaw

Specialized pipe coatingS keep the oil flowing

Bredero Shaw meets clients’ needs with network that spans the globe

Bredero Shaw has been known for its specialized pipe coatings protecting oil and gas pipelines worldwide for more than 80 years. as oil and gas resources become harder to reach, Bredero Shaw continually works with its clients in developing new tech- nologies. with the introduction of Syntactic polypropylene and 4-layer polypropylene coatings at Bredero Shaw’s facility in Belo horizonte, Brazil, the company continues to serve the growing South american market with their leading pipe coating solutions.

american market with their leading pipe coating solutions. Pipes protected with Syntactic Polypropylene for the Parque

Pipes protected with Syntactic Polypropylene for the Parque

das Conchas pipeline project. (Photo courtesy of Bredero Shaw)

Shell’s parque das conchas project, located in the Bc-10 block offshore Brazil, is a key milestone in the commercialization of heavy oil offshore Brazil. to protect this pipeline, Bredero Shaw coated 50 miles (81 km) of 6-in., 8-in.,10-in., and 12-in. diameter pipe with Syntactic polypropylene thermal insulation coating and 39.8 miles (64 km) of 6-in. and 8-in. diameter pipe with 3-layer polyethylene (3lpe) and fusion Bond epoxy (fBe) anti-corrosion coatings. in offshore oil fields, the flow of oil contains many types of hydrocarbons that can turn to solids when cooled to certain temperatures. as the oil flows from the wellhead to the process- ing facilities on offshore platforms, the temperature can drop below the point where certain hydrocarbons can turn to solids; effectively plugging the pipeline. “Syntactic polypropylene is a coating designed to ensure that the temperature remains above

where these hydrocarbons solidify, both in full operation and during shutdown,” explained Sergio ferreira, Managing director for Bredero Shaw Brazil. Bredero Shaw also provided field joint coating services for Bc-10. when a pipeline is being constructed, pipe is welded together end-to-end. this welded area requires the same coating as the pipe and must be applied in the field or where the pipe is welded. ferreira noted that Bc-10 was a strategically important project for Bredero Shaw. “although this was the second project utilizing Syntactic polypropylene for Bredero Shaw Brazil, it was by far the most significant,” he said. “the mobilization and construction of a new coating production line at our facility was completed as a result of the contract award from Shell. our latest coating technol- ogy was installed in three months and required Bredero Shaw to mobilize engineers and coating experts from all over the world.” the Belo horizonte facility is adjacent to the Valourec and Mannesman’s seamless pipe mill. “Most of our facilities around the world have similar product capabilities and the majority of the projects we participate in are determined by where the pipe is manufactured or where it is consumed by our customers,” said ferreira. Many of the coating systems can be designed and manufactured to client specification in a single plant or in multiple coating plants to improve project logistics. “high capacity within the Bredero Shaw plant network allows the client to benefit from single source advantages, ultimately providing more cost-effective management of pipe coating needs,” he noted. “with the experience we gained on the parque das conchas project, we expect our business relationship to grow,” said ferreira. “in other areas of the world, we have been providing coating services for Shell for many years. we have successfully completed projects in Malaysia, the north Sea, and north america.” n

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