The Offshore Industry is confronted with more complex ultradeepwater developments, with water depth extending to 6,000 and even 10,000 feet. A large number of emerging technologies must be contemplated either to enable the feasibility or enhance the value of these high-cost / high-risk developments.

The Systems Engineering Valuing effort (within DeepStar) was developed to consistently analyze the benefits of each technology, and compare them from an economic standpoint. The objective was to quantitatively measure the potential value of the enabling and enhancing technologies, in a manner such that future research and development efforts could be prioritized in a rational manner. The evaluation was conducted using full field economics, comparing the potential cost and risks in developing these technologies and the value when applying them to normalized base-case reservoirs. The key positive indicators measured were CAPEX, reservoir recovery, OPEX, and risks.

The results were presented in two forms:

  1. a ranking matrix, and

  2. case specific charts, which showed the relative positioning of the analyzed technologies.

According to this ranking, a higher potential economic impact than initially anticipated is found for technologies linked to subsea development, risers and drilling, including FPDSOs. Additionally, the technologies linked to flow assurance and Met-ocean risk mitigation were also highlighted, although their economic impact could not be quantified on a similar basis.


Contemplating field development in water depths of, up to 10,000 feet, the Industry must consider a large number of emerging technologies as potential solutions to enable the feasibility or enhance the high cost / high risk deepwater development opportunities.

The purpose of the 'Systems Engineering Valuing effort' (within DeepStar) was to economically evaluate as rationally and consistently as possible the potential impact of selected technologies on ultra-deepwater oilfields, through full cycle economics. This was done by determining the potential cost and risks in developing these technologies, while assessing their value when applying them to normalized base case Gulf of Mexico developments. The evaluating criteria consisted of a reduction of CAPEX, an improvement of reservoir recovery, a reduction of OPEX, and/or a reduction of risks. The base cases considered varied from:

  • subsea/extended reach tie-backs,

    • 60 miles

    • 10 miles

  • surface developments with floating production / drilling systems

    • dry tree concepts (SPAR, TLP)

    • wet tree concepts (semi-submersible, FPSO)

Recent Industry-wide reviews on similar development challenges have led to a very large number of potential emerging technologies. To maximize the benefit of their spending, Operators within DeepStar recognized the value of a focused approach that measured economic benefit.

This evaluation was the last step of the Systems Engineering study. During the first phase, a screening review was conducted using the FAST diagram methodology. The purpose of this exercise was to exhaustively identify all potential technologies that possessed high economic impact. This technique allowed the team to review all the subcomponents of the system, in the various base cases.

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