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Subsea Production

Michael E. Coney, Oil & Gas Development on the Outer Continental Shelf (1998)

Subsea development by its very nature requires that a surface location be secured in order to provide for location of both well control facilities as well as production handling facilities. Key determinants are legal right to access the platform and availability of pipeline transportation to shore for the hydrocarbon production. In addition, concerns can arise over the impact on the quality of production which may result from commingling at the surface location. Each of these issues will be discussed in turn.

The use of “artificial islands”, e.g. platforms, is a necessary part of Outer Continental Shelf development. Space on fixed platforms is generally carefully planned since for fixed structures, space is limited and size (number of legs) impacts cost factors such as the quality and amount of steel for deck space and derrick barge size and working time needed for lift and installation. For floating structures like Tension Leg Platforms (TLP), weight budgets are carefully maintained since weight increases require larger TLPs which means increase in costs. Each pound of weight on a TLP is directly related to size and therefore costs. Until recently, in OCS development, production handling itself was viewed primarily as a business accommodation rather than a major source of revenue. Therefore, platforms were not specifically designed and intended to accomodate other thi