The Wellhead Barge (WHB®) is a spread-moored barge which takes advantage of the benign metocean conditions in the Gulf of Guinea to offer surface trees and drilling facilities on a low cost, high carrying capacity floater. The WHB® design has been developed in cooperation with Operators with a strong support of the Industry by Bouygues Offshore during the past 6 years. In 2001 & 2002, the WHB® was allowed to compete with other dry-tree units designs for a deepwater field development (EPCI bid) in Nigeria and Angola. This paper will present the results of the extensive engineering performed on the WHB® design and highlight the cost efficiency of a WHB® solution: a WHB® with just surface trees drilling and manifold (linked to an FPSO) is a low CAPEX dry-tree unit design for West Africa as compared to other solutions. This cost efficiency is increased when larger and heavier topsides are considered. This paper will also put an emphasis on the flexibility of a WHB® design: possibility to receive a large well count, capacity to accommodate different types and sizes of risers, adaptable production capabilities, simple execution methods accounting for short execution schedule with increased local content, efficient drilling capabilities that reduces drilling critical path. Flexibility is one of the main feature and advantage of a WHB® design. This paper will highlight the way a WHB® could be used for different typical field development cases (mainly dry wells, satellite fields as well as dry and wet wells scenarios) considering costs as well as plateau production achievement. The Wellhead Barge is a simple and robust technology that is not only based on proven components but also matured over the years. This combination is now proposed for deepwater field development projects in West Africa.

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