Progress in the digital area has been quite significant in the past few years in terms of data monitoring, remote collaborative work, telecommunications and robotics to the point that disruptive ways to operate and to design surface installations can now be envisioned with HSE benefits and substantial cost reductions without compromising production efficiency.

Normally Unattended Installations with presence of people on site only once a year (NUI-1Y) for maintenance campaigns is the ultimate aim of unmanned concepts and a new frontier for cost reduction. This approach is particularly relevant for remote production sites where operations usually require a continuous presence of a large crew and heavy logistical means.

Although, this concept seems very challenging, it is in fact a natural extension of what has been applied with success on subsea developments starting over twenty years ago where wells, valves, separators, pumps and now compressors have been remotely operated from a host facility, together with the occasional assistance of Remote Operated Vehicles. A NUI-1Y development, in its philosophy, is very similar to a subsea architecture that would be applied to a surface installation.

A successful NUI-1Y development would also be the result of an optimization where from the initial design phase, the project would try to reduce as much as possible Site Working Hours, both planned and unplanned. This is accomplished through careful selection of new architectures, a fully electrified concept, extensive use of digitalization, low maintenance and highly reliable components or technologies. These technologies exist or are under development and include autonomous ground robots which can operate in routine or downgraded situations during the period between site visits. Along with the design, traditional operating philosophies must also be amended to address operations in a fully remote mode.

This paper will give an overview and examples on how Total is:

  • Maturing new designs, focusing first on reduction of Site Working Hours as a new Key Performance Indicator, alongside other KPIs such as topside weight reduction and equipment uptime.

  • Challenging traditional safety concept and bases of design and philosophies which were previously biased towards design and safety of permanently manned installations. This includes developing remote or automated technical solutions that previously required human presence for specific operations.

  • Piloting autonomous ground robots and adapting installations so that they can be robotically operated.

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