Transitioning a shallow-water exploration well into production is best-suited with a low-cost retrofit conductor-supported platform.
FREMONT, CA: Shallow-water exploration excavates oil and gas in less than 150 meters or 500 feet of water. With legs reaching the bottom of the seafloor with blowout preventers (BOPs) above the surface makes it simple for inspection and maintenance. Transitioning these exploration wells into a standalone producer has mainly three procedures including pre-installing a robust platform, a Mobile Offshore Production Unit (MOPU), or a low-cost retrofit Conductor-supported Platform (CSP) which is the most cost-effective method.
An exploration well with a fabricated and installed structure can increase the cost with no guarantee of return on investment. Also, if the well is proven, shut-in, or abandoned, then it costs money, time, and material. A light-weight retrofit CSP not only prevents the up-front CAPEX but also provides a fast-track option for long-term production without an expensive MOPU.
In a retrofit CSP, a structure is installed on the well around the free-standing conductor before the departure of the jack-up rig. This installation provides strength, stability, and fatigue resistance over the extended life of the well. With the use of an offloading hose, the production fluid is extracted and the topside deck to control and maintain the well, which is beneficial to the field development, can be included. Moreover, using additional support conductors, slots for optional future wells can be added.
While designing a retrofit conductor-supported platform, Design creep can prove to be detrimental to the fast-track, light-weight structure. Maintaining a minimum facility mindset and considering the actual functional requirements ensures that the structure does not become massive in size and cost. The design of the retrofit CSP should not majorly change the design of the existing platform and use readily available materials to minimize overall delivery time. Retrofit structures are entirely feasible as their fixed platform counterparts can be stored in a yard and can be delivered within six months of project kick-off.
The retrofit CSP is similar to the industry-standard field-proven CSP solution. However, its ability to be retrofitted after drilling achieved by a combination of field-proven clamp designs makes it different. A retrofit CSP offers a field-proven, cost-effective, fast-track, and versatile solution which converts an exploration well into a revenue-generating production well.