This paper describes the process used to determine, evaluate and rank technology gaps and possible enhancers in subsea and floating systems between 6,000 to 10,000 ft water depths.

A consistent and logical process has been developed using modified Functional Analysis System Techniques (FAST) to identify the functional relationships of deepwater development systems and their components. Base case field development scenarios were used to "test" the FAST map information to identify any enabling technology gaps. Further, life-cycle field economics were prepared to quantify enhancing technology gaps. Each gap is then "valued" by considering development costs, maturity of the technology, risks, number of applications and other selected factors from which a ranking resulted. This allows a comparison between the alternate R&D opportunities. This paper identifies the system analysis philosophy and evaluation techniques used by DeepStar in the System Engineering Initiative.

Goals and Objectives

The primary systems engineering objective was to identify key deepwater research and technology development needs on the basis of an overall system from reservoir to landfall. A secondary objective was to prioritize these needs so DeepStar funds can be directed to resolving the most pressing problems in a cost-effective manner. The immediate work goals were to:

  • Identify the state-of-the-art technology for Ultra deepwater production

  • Identify gaps to using this technology in up to 10,000 feet water depths

  • Identify high-impact enhancing opportunities

  • Value and rank these gaps and enhancing opportunities

Valuing Technology

The value of new technology cannot be effectively assessed in isolation; therefore, DeepStar took a system economic approach when considering alternative technologies. As part of any system, the new technology must be benchmarked relative to the importance and impact that it has on the system which uses it. This requires the technology's economic value to be evaluated over the entire life-cycle of the system in which it is used.

A system was defined as a group of interacting elements (or technologies) having a functional relationship that, when grouped together provide some process or service. In the DeepStar work, the required technologies for each system were identified for classification or analysis purposes.

Several technologies are often linked to accomplish a specific system purpose. It became obvious that removing one technology from a required system chain could detrimentally affect the function of the entire system. This highlights the fact that any system performance is only as strong as its weakest technology element.

Numerous technology alternatives may exist which are capable of fulfilling a system's functional demands; therefore, a systematic approach had to be used to map the technology alternatives and their functional relationships.

System Engineering Approach

A two phase approach was used in the DeepStar work. The first phase looked at extended-reach subsea systems by building upon previous subsea studies and Industry experience. The second phase evaluated deepwater host structures including:

  • floating production systems (FPS),

  • floating production and offloading (FPSO) systems,

  • Spars, and

  • ?TLP's.

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