Introduction

Outside of the present economic situation with worldwide petroleum consumption, it is realistic to state one fundamental objective of the oilexploration and production business:

â??Continue development of offshore production facilities in key reserve areas for the long-range worldwide demand for petroleum related products.â?¿

From the United States perspective, this goal is substantiated by the estimate that 50% of all U.S. oil company investments will be in the South East Asia region, with emphasis an offshore opportunities.

Recent exploration and purchasing activity in the South China Sea has involved nearly twenty worldwide interests in securing strategic production capability.

Based on this activity level and projected investment in future offshore ventures, it is practical to expect offshore production to continue at an accelerated rate.

Design Consideration

Given the direction and commitment on the expansion of offshore production wells, the next logical consideration is on the most cost-efficient platform design technology.

From the construction perspective, the trend by design consultants has been toward larger gathering and production operations. This trend is a direct result of the increased cost of offshore construction material and labour burden.

As a result, many of these are assembled onshore using several onshore fabricated operational modules. The physical structure and complex operating nature of the platforms necessitate the use of many operators, whose activities are highly coordinated, or a high level operator interface which oversees a distributed network of sophisticated control elements.

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