A normally un-manned minimal floating platform can be used for several applications to support subsea development. The applications include enabling Long Subsea Tiebacks by supporting power generation and distribution equipment, when the host facility doesn't have excess power capacity (Power Buoy) or the required footprint and space to support the required power distribution hardware or locate the distribution equipment to distribute the power imported from shore. It can also serve as a partial processing host with functionality ranging from Chemicals and Artificial Lift all the way to Multi-Phase Pumping or Gas Compression, as required.

An un-manned floating platform can be a cost-efficient solution, where the economics of a very Long Subsea Tieback or a Host Facility with full processing capacity become prohibitive for developing small to medium size fields. The substructures for these platforms have reduced and simplified systems resulting in lower Capex, Opex and minimal maintenance requirements. This platform is safer to operate than conventional host platforms because it is un-manned, and it also deploys robotics and remotely controlled equipment, using the latest advances in digital, robotics, and autonomous control technologies.

The paper reviews the different floating unmanned minimal platform configurations that are designed for this purpose. The following aspects of the normally un-manned floating platform are discussed:

  • Functionality

  • Cost-Efficient Design alternatives

  • Construction/Installation efficiency

  • Operations/ Maintenance principles

Possible applications of the normally un-manned floating platform include small to medium size fields, remote gas fields requiring compression to export gas to shore that would otherwise prove to be un-economical to develop. The normally un-manned floating platform helps improve the development economics and the operational safety of these fields. The industry's response to the oil price slump in the past few years combined with the latest advances in technology led to the evolution of these minimal unmanned floating platforms.

This content is only available via PDF.
You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.