Offshore development is challenging; however, using a mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU) is highly beneficial while installing a minimum facilities platform (MFP).
Fremont, CA: Planning an offshore development depends on a myriad of aspects and availability and mobilization costs on the construction vessel are one of them. The unavailability of the construction vessel can prove prohibitive in offshore developments, mainly if they are not stationed in the region. Owing to this, operators and EPCI contractors have adopted novel methods of installation to get rid of the need for multiple or massive lift vessels. The solution to this problem is the use of a mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU) with the intelligent design of a minimum facilities platform (MFP). The MODU offers a single vessel with a hook load capacity and cantilever envelope best suited for batch drilling the wells, installing lightweight structures, and providing a base for hook-up and commissioning activities.
To reduce the overall project costs, a single vessel approach to the platform is advisable as a MODU will be mobilized to drill the wells regardless. Using MODU to install platform structures eliminates the mobilization costs related to the new construction vessels and personnel. Platform construction activities such as supply boats to transport the platform structures to the field can also take advantage of MODU. After the platform structures are installed and well conductors are placed, hook up, and commissioning activities can continue the drilling program simultaneously with MODU serving as a support unit.
The design of the platform structures is rig installed to make them weigh less than a traditional jacket signifying that fabrication is finished quicker after the project award. On the other hand, fully integrated topside can take up to 9 months. On top of that, MODU facilitates the drilling and completion activities prior, and later, the topsides are installed, providing flexibility in the schedule. Compared to traditional platforms where the substructures and topsides are fabricated and installed before the MODU arrives, this approach is beneficial.
A minimum facilities platform installation with a mobile offshore drilling unit poses less risk as compared to a derrick or lift barge as it provides a sturdy fixed platform which assists in drilling well, driving piles, and installing structures accurately with proper control. The MODU can work better in the rough weather compared to a lift barge, which reduces the risk of downtime or demobilization. MODU operations can continue seamlessly with reduced sensitivity to weather conditions once the central platform has been lifted and installed.