"If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which gram will grow and which will not" William Shakespeare, Macbeth

In the engineer's mind, time is a straightforward linear process Short term means tomorrow, next month, or perhaps next year Long term tends to mean five or ten years from now The economist however is not burdened with this convention The difference between the economist's long term and short term is the number of factors which have changed. In the short term, one or two factors may change - in the long term, all factors change We, in the subsea control business, are generally short term thinkers in the economist's framework We concentrate on the next project, the new alliance, the prospect of all eclectic production controls, or whatever else looms on the horizon. The fact we work the next problem in line is natural and not inherently bad Nevertheless, it is important to realize that just because this problem is five years away does not make us long term thinkers if we adopt the economist's definition.

‘Short termism’ reeks of criticism and it is tempting to believe that the measure of our success is that of all the factors which limit subsea development, control and data acquisition rarely impedes progress This is historically untrue For many years the most serious opposition to subsea development was posed by reservoir engineers who believed that the inaccessibility of subsea wells, in terms of logging, posed an insurmountable obstacle to effective reservoir management This was a persuasive argument to management and, while arguably untrue, there is little doubt that the development of successful downhole pressure and temperature gauges has been of material benefit to the proponents of subsea developments.

The importance of subsea control and data acquisition is not fully appreciated by some Too many people refer to the familiar pie chart of costs and note the relatively small segment allocated to subsea production equipment, the even smaller segment allocated to control and data acquisition, and dismiss development requirements in this area as far less important than cost reduction in drilling and pipelines This is short-sighted indeed since it is improved control which will facilitate advances in these higher cost areas The ‘smart’ well may be a daunting prospect The drilling and completion technology required may need refinement but the fundamental equipment is available In the absence of reliable recovery of additional downhole information, flowrates, fluid properties etc, the potential of this technology cannot be fully exploited The cost savings achievable by reducing the number of subsea wells are exciting but the demands placed on control and data acquisition providers is large Pipeline savings may be achieved through subsea processing and this requires additional instrumentation Pipeline costs can be reduced by developments such as HIPPS which in its ultimate form will require dynamic flow control which is beyond current experience

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