Historical Development of the Offshore Industry

Historical Development of the Offshore Industry

17 Pages · 2017 · 1.28 MB · English

other by vertical wings (hydrofoils) on either side of the streamer array. The existing 2D vessels created a very wide, open back deck for hydrofoils, steamers, and air gun operations. 3 DRILLING Studies, Delft. FURTHER READING. Intermountain Oil and Gas BMP Project (2014) The Development.

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Historical Development of the Offshore Industry Victor A Schmidt, Bruce Crager, and George Rodenbusch Endeavor Management, Houston, TX, USA 1 Introduction1 2 Exploration 1 3 Drilling RIGS 3 4 Production 7 5 Specialty Vessels 12 6 Conclusion 14 Acknowledgments 15 Glossary 15 Related Articles 16 References 16 Further Reading 16 1 INTRODUCTION The process for finding and developing oil and gas fields is sequential comprising three major stages: exploration, drilling, and production Offshore engineering is required and has been applied throughout each of these stages, resulting in the industry’s steady advance into deeper water and more challenging environments over the past 120 plus years Oil and natural gas was in high demand in the late 1800s due to heavy industries, such as railroads and the construc tion of homes, buildings, and chemical plants that used oil for fuel and lubrication Construction techniques used on land and nearshore marine provided the initial step into shallow water At each step into deeper water, engineering Encyclopedia of Maritime and Offshore Engineering, online © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd This article is © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd DOI: 101002/9781118476406emoe113 Also published in the Encyclopedia of Maritime and Offshore Engineering (print edition) ISBN: 9781118476352 design grew by applying fundamental principles to overcome increased current, wave, and storm activity, by developing new materials and standards, and by continuously improving safety systems What follows is an overview of the major fixed and floating systems that enable the industry to find and develop hydrocarbon resources in some of the most remote and inhospitable regions of the earth’s oceans 2 EXPLORATION To explore areas covered with water, geophysicists first adapted onshore geophysical equipment, sensor cables (streamers), and recording equipment, so that streamers could be towed behind a vessel of opportunity, giving birth to marine seismic acquisition The industry devel oped air guns to hold and released highpressure pulses of compressed air to “shoot” waves of sonic energy into the water and “illuminate” the rock formations below the seabed Vessels of opportunity, used to tow the equipment, were eventually replaced with purposebuilt vessels, designed for the special needs of marine seismic acquisition 21 Paradigm shift: 2D to 3D datasets From the late 1940s to 1980s, marine seismic was collected as twodimensional (2D) data A single vessel, towing a single streamer, produced an image similar to a geologic cross section, a “slice” through the water column and earth beneath In the 1990s, advances in computer technology and vessel design increased towing capacity allowing marine seismic contactors to tow more than one streamer and to begin collecting “swaths” of data (Figure 1) Initially, this practice was used to improve the standard 2D image However, competition quickly led to contractors towing four or more streamers and shooting surveys with multiple 2 General Figure 1 Seismic vessels tow air guns and multistreamer arrays to collect seismic data (Reproduced with permission © Petroleum GeoServices, Inc, 2016) vessels By spreading the streamers more widely behind the vessel, a threedimensional (3D) volume of data was produced Seismic streamer control and vessel design improvements allowed surveys of different sizes and density to be gath ered Surveys could be tailored to the needs of regional exploration, as well as detailed field development The reso lution and detail of the survey is controlled by changing the shooting density (relative sensor spacing) and the lateral separation of the streamers during data collection These 3D datasets could be analyzed and viewed from any angle using specialized computer graphics and soft ware, greatly enhancing an interpreter’s understanding of the rock systems imaged Now, the world beneath the seas was open and understandable as never before Oil companies quickly invested in interpretation equipment (computers, software, and special display technology) and developed more prospects in deeper waters 22 Seismic vessels The shift from 2D to 3D seismic in the mid1980s to early 1990s required increased towing capacity to pull multiple streamers Streamers are deployed behind the vessel from large onboard reels and then spread (separated) from each other by vertical wings (hydrofoils) on either side of the streamer array The existing 2D vessels of the day could tow up to 6 streamers with some limits on

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