May 2015

Subsea processing its making its way up the technology curve, but still several challenges ahead

Oilfield Service Webinar

The search for price cuts in the oilfield service industry

Go to recording


Oil Markets Webinar

Oil Markets - When will demand catch up with supply?

Date: June 3rd, 2015

Time: 10am-11am EDT or 10am-11am CEST

Go to registration




Oilfield Service Databases
• DCube (Demand Database): Historical and forecasted opex and capex for global oil and gas fields, split on supplier segment and geography

In the latest DCube version (May 2015) short term oilfield service purchases are expected at -8.1% CAGR for 2014-2016.

• SCube (Supplier Database): Reported revenue from oil service companies split on the same supplier segments and geographies as DCube

The March 2015 SCube version provides extensive details on the different service companies outlook. There is a significant spread in the revenue forecasts, and SCube is ideal to analyze quickly potential market consolidation such as the HAL+BHI deal. 

• RigCube (Rig Demand & Supply Database): Global, offshore rig demand (rig count) and supply based on bottom-up, field-by-field activity analysis

The March 2015 RigCube version shows a decrease of 13 units in floater demand from 2014 (262) to 2015 (249). Jackups to be decreased with 25 units from 2014 (407) to 2015 (382).


OFS Newsletter Subscription: If you are not yet a subscriber to this email or you would like to receive one of our other industry newsletters, please fill out the Newsletter Subscription Form



Subsea processing is the concept of gradually moving the entire topside processing facilities to the seabed. Many subsea fields would create better financial returns for their owners if subsea processing were installed due to increased recovery. In some cases, subsea processing is a prerequisite for making developments economically viable at all. By moving the processing of the well flow from the topside to the seabed, projects previously deemed non-commercial may become economically viable, and one may also increase the recovery rates on existing fields.

Currently, Petrobras, Statoil and the Majors are driving the developments behind subsea processing, together with the equipment manufacturers. These operators have the biggest potential and may sustain a market before smaller operators catch on. Subsea processing encompasses a large array of technologies and systems, but there are mainly four technologies that have been implemented by the industry so far; boosting, separation, water injection and compression.

Subsea boosting is the application of subsea pumps to “boost” the pressure in the well stream. The main advantages of subsea boosting is accelerated production, increased production & recovery, development of low energy reservoirs, heavy oil fields, long tiebacks and other fields where pressure differentials might be an issue.

The first subsea booster pump was a twin-screw multiphase pump developed by GE Oil & Gas, which was installed on Eni’s Prezioso field in Italy in 1994. Since this first installation in water depths of 50 meters, the technology has continuously been taken deeper. The Cascade oil field in the Gulf of Mexico is currently the deepest subsea boosting system installed, at a water depth close to 2,500 meters, and Shell is currently contemplating booster pumps at its Stones development in 2,900 meters. Although GE was first, it is OneSubsea (through Framo Engineering) that has become the market leader, capturing most of the market with their helico-axial pumps. Today, the booster technology is by far the most mature of the subsea processing technologies.

Booster pumps are mainly used on oil fields with low gas to oil ratios, both for heavier and lighter crudes. The key regions have been, and will continue to be, Brazil, the US Gulf of Mexico, the North Sea and West Africa due to the water depths, reservoir characteristics and tie back distances.

Subsea separation is the concept of separating gas/liquids or oil/water at the seabed. Such systems bring solutions to flow assurance challenges such as hydrates and slugging, enables viability of challenging reservoirs, prolongs economic lifetime of fields, debottlenecks flowlines, risers and topsides and handles water and sand at the seabed, thereby reducing the potential costs associated with a topside facility. Many of the installations have been in conjunction with booster pumps, and subsea separation is today a proven technology. Whilst OneSubsea has taken the lion’s share of the booster market, it is FMC Technologies that has become the market leader in the separation segment, being system provider on the majority of projects completed.

While there has been some experimentation on subsea separation systems prior to the 2000s (Zakum 1965, Highlander 1985 and Argyll 1986), most people regard the Statoil Troll C pilot on water separation and injection in 2001 as the first modern subsea separation unit. The Troll system was installed in 340 meters of water depth, 3.5 kilometer from the platform. Today, it is Shell’s Perdido field which is the deepest application of subsea separation at approximately 2,500 meters. Subsea separation systems have now been installed at 11 fields operated by Petrobras, Statoil, Shell and Total. All the fields lay in Brazil, Norway, US GoM or Angola, and going forward these areas, including the rest of the North Sea and West Africa, are seen as the primary markets for such systems.

Click here to read the full article.

* The article has been published by Offshore Magazine.