A series of studies has been undertaken in order to quantify the benefits of various alternatives for the remote production of subsea oil reservoirs. Subsea separation and pumping appears to have significant advantages for remote production over longer distances and particularly in deep water when compared to alternative technologies such as multiphase pumping. The concept involves the separation of gas and liquids at or near the wellhead; with the liquids being pumped in single phase back to shore, or to a remote production facility, and the separated gas flowing back to the same location under wellhead pressure.
A novel separation and pumping system has been conceived which allows an integrated separator and pump to be installed within a conventional 30" conductor in a dummy well. This novel configuration has been called VASPS (Vertical Annular Separation and Pumping System).
A detailed series of hydraulic studies has been undertaken which indicate that the system is capable of producing over distances up to 100 km and that well deliverabilities are significantly enhanced at increased water depths. The authors believe this to be a significant conclusion as there is an increased economic incentive to employ remote subsea production in deep water.