New small pools ‘manual’ could cut N. Sea oil exploration costs by 25%

Oil and Gas UK has published a new ‘small pools manual’ which could create savings of 25% if operated on a number of existing and proposed North Sea developments.

Currently there are more than three billion barrels of oil stranded in around 350 small reserves (less than 50 million barrels) that are too costly to develop.

By taking a bolder, more innovative approach in areas such as design optimisation, field layouts and manufacturing, marginal real-world prospects could be brought online.

Group member Centrica was the first operator to offer one of its prospects for review, with a case study developed on their Pegasus West field in the southern North Sea revealing that savings of 20-25 per cent were feasible.

The guidelines are split into four key themes;

  • Applying a fit for purpose approach – codes, standards and specifications
  • Applying a simplified and streamline process
  • Applying alternative methods and technology, and
  • Standardisation of hardware 

More than 30 companies were  involved in producing the guidelines – including Centrica, Technip, Chevron, GE Oil & Gas, Bel Valves, Siemens, Halliburton, Amex Foster Wheeler and Apache.

The new guidelines can also be used alongside the Project Collaboration Toolkit (PCT), recently developed by the Engineering Construction Industry Training Board (ECITB). The PCT sets out principles for collaborative work and is endorsed by Oil & Gas UK, the Offshore Contractors Association and is an Oil and Gas Authority recommended tool. 

Stephen Jones, business excellence director, Oil & Gas UK said: “As an industry, we’ve become used to gold-plating and over-specifying our work. The Subsea Standardisation Project demonstrates how adopting a more simplified approach can make subsea development far more affordable.

“This project is a shining example of what can be achieved when industry experts are given the licence to innovate, share knowledge, and tackle project delivery with fresh eyes.  ‘Collaboration’ is a word banded about a lot, but this is it in action.

“We hope that by taking on board these guidelines, companies will be able to unlock new reserves and in doing so help the UK continental shelf reach its full potential.”

To find out more about the Project Collaboration Toolkit contact Lynsey Benson, Senior Accounts Manager, ECITB. 

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