Subsea production systems have been used for 25 years on the Norwegian Continental Shelf From an early start at Ekofisk in the 1970's, we have experienced projects with a varying degree of success In the early days subsea component development and prototype work was undertaken in major subsea field development projects Associated system costs was often high due to the effect of deploying prototypes subsea

Activities in the early 1980's concentrated on how to make subsea equipment diverless and reliable Almost every oil company had to have its own subsea equipment development program The benefits of this huge effort were sometimes hinted relative to the effort spent By 1985, subsea technology was still considered by many to be of limited value and high risk, i e associated with high cost

Then, when the oil prices collapsed m 1986, two important things happened

  • Senior management with some of the oil companies recognised the potential in subsea production systems

  • Cost reduction within the offshore industry was required in order for new field developments to take place

Since then, subsea, within the Norwegian Continental Shelf, has been a prosperous, growing and successful business


The "NORSOK"-initiative as taken by The Norwegian Minister of Industry and Energy in the autumn of 1993 During this NORSOK process a common understanding of the situation was reached, concluding with a need for change where reduction m time and cost of new field developments were regarded as vital elements The NORSOK approach was along several avenues One of the more known ones was the development of the initial NORSOK standards

Two ambitious, but yet realistic, goals were put up

  • A reduction of 40–50% in tune and cost of new developments m a five year period

  • Maintain the position as one of the lead rig areas related to safety and environmental protection

Even though cost reductions in the oil industry to a large extent was to change the existing way planning and execution of field development was performed, new technology have a great potential for more cost effective solutions and higher rate of return The oil industry is generally very conservative, and it is often difficult to implement new technology unless it is perceived as proven

The NORSOK initiative has manifested itself in a set of standards for subsea systems and marine operations Functional requirements were used to allow for future developments in a relatively new sector of the oil industry The man effect of this effort, or process, was achieving a greater awareness relative to cost elements, both in technology and concept selection as well as m the project execution Satisfactory operating experience and changed attitudes towards the use of new technology, together with the need for simple and cheap "small field technology", have now opened the door wide up for the use of subsea technology, often in combination with floating production systems

This content is only available via PDF.
You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.