Deepwater (and Ultra-Deepwater, 5000 feet of water depth and beyond) is recognized as one of the last remaining areas of the world were oil and natural gas resources remain to be discovered and produced. The architecture of the systems employed to cost-effectively develop these resources in an environmentally safe manner, reflect some of industry’s most advanced engineering accomplishments. NETL funds research to catalyze further advances that can help Gulf of Mexico discoveries progress to production quickly and safely, and that can help maximize oil and gas recovery from fields that are currently at the edge of industry capabilities. Many of these efforts focus on subsea production systems, as well as research to help quantify the environmental risks of deepwater development. The three research focus areas of Deepwater Technology are offshore architecture, safety and environmental, and other deepwater technology.
Offshore architecture encompasses the hardware, systems, and equipment used to drill for, produce, and transport oil and natural gas from offshore locations. This includes surface facilities, subsea equipment, and pipelines, as well as the tools and systems used to operate and maintain them. NETL funds research to improve the cost effectiveness of these systems, enhance their operational safety, and extend their capabilities to allow more resources to be developed with less of an environmental footprint.
Safety and Environmental
Ensuring that oil and natural gas production in deep water does not harm marine ecosystems is a top priority. NETL carries out research to quantify and develop technologies that can reduce the environmental risks of ultra-deepwater oil and gas development. These efforts include research to improve the competency of casing cement jobs, more accurately predict hurricane intensity, more effectively assess corrosion in subsea equipment, and design improved subsea system monitors.
Other Deepwater Technology
Maximizing recovery from deepwater reservoirs requires that we fully understand the behavior of hydrocarbon mixtures as they move from extremely deep rock formations, through complicated subsea piping systems, to surface facilities. The extreme variations in temperature and pressure along this path can present unique challenges to equipment designers. NETL carries out research to improve industry’s understanding of ultra-deepwater production processes to help ensure that these systems operate safely and effectively.
The oil and gas exploration and production R&D newsletter, E&P Focus, is a quarterly publication highlighting the latest developments in R&D being carried out by NETL.