In the Arabian gulf alone, there are an estimated 500+ wellhead towers, of varying designs, varying complexity, varying cost, currently installed.. Expand that to a global view and the number is estimated to be greater than 7000.

Consider the magnitude of life cycle cost savings and HSE performance improvements that would have been made if all those towers could have been designed differently, with significantly less topsides equipment and hence CAPEX, reduced maintenance requirements resulting in much lower OPEX, offshore visitation reduced to once per year, helicopter transportation eliminated – and yet the same basic function maintained. More importantly, as our industry faces up to the challenge of increasingly marginal field developments in an increasingly cost competitive environment, consider the potential to unlock previously non-economic projects through a new approach to this key element.

In this paper we demonstrate what the wellhead tower of today could look like, based on a case study of a recent project undertaken for a major operator. We discuss the technologies required and the approach to operations and maintenance to significantly reduce the life cycle cost, reduce offshore visitation and improve the HSE performance of future wellhead towers.

Finally, with an eye to the ever-evolving future, we project how a similar approach may be adopted not only for wellhead towers, but for more functionally complex processing facilities.

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