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Integrating NCS Building Blocks

The Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS) has been driven by a strong standardization process over the last decade led by the bigger operators. The purpose of this process has been to reduce costs primarily in the early phases, but generally also over the full project phase, for any field development.

Standardization Outcomes

The outcome of the standardizing process has been the NCS 17+ subsea production system building blocks. These consist of core elements like templates, 6, 4, 2, or single slot solutions, manifolds, vertical X-mas trees, and associated control systems. The time to start manufacturing these elements has become much shorter, and due to the reduced need for field-specific engineering, the cost has also been reduced considerably.

Challenges of Standardization

The drawback of standardizing is the risk of preventing innovation and technological improvements. Still, smaller incremental improvements can be achieved, allowing the combination of known technologies into new system setups. Neodrill was recently tasked to look at such an incremental development with an Operator on the NCS.

Targeting Smaller Discoveries

The Operator was targeting smaller discoveries around an existing operating asset and required cost-efficient solutions to ensure a stronger or sufficient return on investments in the event of a development. These discoveries typically hold marginal resources that would not justify a separate field development but would be a valuable addition to the existing production assets.

Synergies with Exploration Phase

Secondly, the operator would like to draw synergies with their exploration phase. If a discovery was made, the operator wanted the option to simply convert this to a production well. This would typically apply to a gas discovery primarily, but also in some cases for an oil discovery, depending on the location of reservoir penetration.

Utilization of Current NCS 17+ Standard

In line with current NCS 17+ standardizing, the same VXT used for template development wells should be used for these single well producers. This adds some complexity to the flowbase to allow for flow line mandrel travel, which again increases the size of the flow base. The current NCS 17+ single slot solution calls for a 4-suction pile structure for this flow base to sit on, with an associated over-trawl protection structure.

Modular Solutions by Neodrill

In the study conducted by Neodrill, a modular solution was found that allows for a CAN-ductor to be converted to a single slot CAN-integrator in the event the operator decides to convert the exploration well into a producer and tie it back to an existing facility. As the biggest loads on the CAN-ductor are seen during drilling with full casing and BOP/riser loads, it was not considered challenging to add an adapting structure on top of the CAN-ductor to integrate the single flowbase and VXT on top. The adapting structure will have fixed interface points towards the CAN-ductor at the bottom, and the SPS provider can interface its flowbase and VXT on the top in relation to wellhead stickup on the CAN-ductor.

Future Prospects

Due to the modular setup of the CAN-ductor to CAN-integrator conversion kit, Neodrill, together with the Operator, sees considerable upsides going forward in developing smaller discoveries. At the same time, they are reducing CAPEX and OPEX costs with a smaller environmental footprint by leveraging this new solution.


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