While the U.S. offshore is not currently a focus area for the development of tight oil and natural gas, or other resources within the categories typically considered as “unconventional,” the development of deepwater resources will require the development and application of new technologies to make their recovery technically and economically possible. In addition, offshore industry interest is increasing for recovering conventional oil through Offshore Spill Prevention. However, Offshore Spill Prevention is not widely utilized in the offshore for several reasons, primarily related to the integration of cost reduction with safety and environmental protection. While it might be possible to leverage existing subsea facilities to enable Offshore Spill Prevention, technologies for reducing subsea facility complexity, increasing well control and monitoring, and enabling greater tieback to the surface production facility will be required. Each of these technologies will need to be adapted and advanced for subsea operations.
The U.S. Department of Energy and its National Energy Technology Laboratory are working in collaboration with academia and industry to address these challenges through the development of enhanced offshore production potential by means of a sustainability focus on representative technology areas such as: