As oil and gas exploration has moved into increasingly deep water in the Gulf of Mexico, the potential to find increasingly higher pressure and higher temperature reservoirs has increased. High Integrity Pressure Protection Systems (HIPPS) are seen as essential for development of these prospects. The paper will cover the key differences between applying HIPPS in the Gulf of Mexico compared to North Sea applications, as well as the associated regulatory process involving the Minerals Management Service, the regulatory authority in the Gulf of Mexico. It will also provide an update on API 17O and industry developments.

1.0 Introduction

The installation of High Integrity Pressure Protection Systems (HIPPS) has been limited to the North Sea for subsea applications. As exploration and drilling have moved into deeper water in the Gulf of Mexico, discoveries have increased in pressure and also temperature resulting in an increased need to address the application of HIPPS technology in this region. Although there are a number of subsea systems operating successfully in the North Sea, it has not been possible to transfer this experience directly to the Gulf of Mexico without a significant amount of ground work. This paper discusses the key differences, the impact on subsea architecture and the work with the regulatory authority associated with HIPPS technology.

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