Capacity is the biggest challenge

According to UTC keynote speaker Werner Menz, President Subsea Controls in OneSubsea, one of the subsea industry's greatest challenges is engineering capacity.

Published: 16 June 2013

- I believe that the major challenges lie in the area of engineering capacity and our ability to enhance recovery of reservoirs, says Werner Menz, President Subsea Controls, OneSubsea.

The new company, which is one of the biggest subsea companies in the world, is a joint venture between Cameron and Schlumberger. Werner Menz is a keynote speaker at UTC. He thinks that a significant part of the capacity issue is the lack of standardization.

- We need to ask ourselves why a solution that is good enough on one project is not useable on another one. To be clear, I am not talking about design features – my point is more towards standard requirements in Materials, Welding, Quality and Documentation. There are a couple of initiatives that start to tackle this but we have a long way to go, says Menz.

Not bigger – but smarter

The big theme for the industry is increased recovery, both from new and existing fields. To achieve this goal we are constantly going bigger, deeper, colder and further from shore. In line with size, depth and distance, the costs are increasing. Every barrel of oil is getting more and more expensive to produce. But is this the right direction for the industry?

- In my view the direction is not necessarily bigger but smarter. If we are successful to increase the recovery rate of a reservoir by only a couple of percentages, the payback will be huge. In return, technologies and services that can provide such benefits will be in high demand, says Menz.

Increased complexity

He thinks the real challenge for the industry will come when more and more product hits the seafloor. This is a development that will require a more integrated approach to data handling, communication, surveillance and monitoring.

- The complexity of seabed instruments will increase and the analysis of all that data will move from display/alarm only to more sophisticated management tools that provide guidance, solutions and automation, says Menz, and adds: - Another area is well intervention and how we can access remote wells more efficient than today because clearly a part of the increased recovery comes from being able to access and work over the wells.

Holistic knowledge

The new company OneSubsea will, according to Menz, provide services beyond what they can offer today.

- Through integration and optimization of the entire production system, OneSubsea will offer a step change in reservoir recovery for the subsea oil and gas industry over the life of the field, says Menz.
The integration of the production system will be accomplished by combining reservoir knowledge and wellbore technologies, with subsea technologies, all together delivering enhanced productivity, reliability and integrity.

- OneSubsea will have the ability to design a system around a more holistic knowledge of the reservoir, flow assurance and asset management. We also should not underestimate the challenges associated with the combination of seabed and in-well pumping and how this technology will enable solutions that do not exist today, says Menz.