In the oilfield, a large array of equipment is required to plan, drill and complete a well. These pieces of equipment are made in manufacturing facilities, then transported by truck, ship and airfreight to the well site location, which can often be in the most remote locations in the world. The transport and logistical complexity for moving large heavy oilfield equipment around the globe has a huge effect on the carbon footprint.

Much of the equipment used in the oildfield is designed using traditional methods. A more modern approach is to run equipment through a design optimisation loop to determine the reduction in size and weight which can be achieved without compromising performance or safety. In other industries such as motorsport and aeronautics, design optimisation is an accepted and integrated feature of any product development cycle. Computational approaches have been heavily validated against test data and have been confirmed as valuable complementary approaches to physical tests. This has allowed the analysis approach to move into the mainstream market.

However in the oil and gas industry, design evolution is not as prevalent, and engineers tend to stick with designs which have worked previously. This single design, no generational development approach can potentially lead to equipment which is over engineered in places, increasing both manufacture cost and logistical carbon footprint.

This paper takes two common pieces of equipment which are routinely shipped to drill site and runs each piece through a set of design iterations using engineering analysis tools. It was found that an existing accommodation module designs' weight could be reduced by some 24% with the use of FEA and manual design iterations. A second example using a similar approach with a coupled CFD to FEA optimisation for a pressure vessel resulted in a weight reduction of 14%.

In the discussion it is pointed out that the weight reduction impacts on the manufacture side as well as the transportation side of the equipment journey to rig site. Emissions and overall costs can be reduced benefiting the company and the environment. It is however acknowledged that there is a place for tried and tested designs in such a performance demanding industry, and a balance must be struck between using existing design and using contemporary approaches.

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