‘Plug and play’ concept adopted to oil and gas to unlock small pools offshore UK

Image: Oil & Gas Technology Centre

The Aberdeen, U.K.-based Oil & Gas Technology Centre, along with industry and academia, is backing four subsea “plug and play” projects to help unlock the 3.4 billion barrels of oil and gas in marginal fields, or small pools, on the U.K. Continental Shelf (UKCS).

Plug and play is a concept from the computing and space industries where equipment is designed to be connected, operated and reused more simply and efficiently. Adopting this concept in oil and gas could significantly reduce the cost of developing small pools.

The plug and play projects are part of the Centre’s Tieback of the Future initiative. They were selected from 29 Call for Ideas submissions.

“Small pools represent a significant opportunity to maximize economic recovery (MER) from the UKCS and it’s great to see promising technology initiatives being taken forward. Technology deployment is key to redefining our sector by reducing the costs of development wells, designing optimized subsea infrastructure, or developing efficient standalone concepts to capitalise on the potential of small pools,” Carlo Procaccini, head of Technology at the Oil and Gas Authority, said in a statement.

The projects include:

  • Flexlife and its partners Proserv, Infinity, DeepOcean and Axis will develop a standardized tie-back bundle, with integrated pipeline and umbilical, and a subsea manifold that can be reused between field developments. A standardised bundle could simplify the design and manufacture of small pool field developments, bringing them online quicker and reducing costs.
  • Glasgow Caledonian University, Edinburgh University and industry will transform how electrical power is delivered subsea. The smart, modular power network will increase reliability, reduce maintenance requirements and provide improved flexibility for installation, operation and reuse.
  • Marine Direct Consultants will work with the Centre to certify the company’s RapidPipe system, which provides a robust, reusable mechanical connection system for rigid flowlines. With the ability to recover and reuse flowlines, the system will help lower manufacturing costs and reduce installation time.
  • A research project at Robert Gordon University and Alliance Manchester Business School will identify the barriers to adopting a plug and play approach to field developments. The project will examine various aspects, such as industrial culture and organisational behaviour to help foster collaboration within the oil and gas industry.

“With upwards of $175 billion of value in UKCS small pools, we are confident that we have identified ideas that can help transform the subsea development life-cycle approach and lower costs to unlock these fields,” stated Chris Pearson, Small Pools Solution Centre manager.

Opening at the end of April, the next Small Pools Call for Ideas will focus on smart communications subsea. The Centre is looking for innovative technology ideas that can transform subsea developments, moving from hydraulics to an all-electric approach. It is hoped the solutions will transform subsea connectivity by developing a “subsea internet of things,” including sensors, software and wireless communications, the Centre said.

Dear user, please be aware that we use cookies to help users navigate our website content and to help us understand how we can improve the user experience. If you have ideas for how we can improve our services, we’d love to hear from you. Click here to email us. By continuing to browse you agree to our use of cookies. Please see our Privacy & Cookie Usage Policy to learn more.