Statoil advancing subsea technology efforts

Statoil’s efforts toward deploying a ‘subsea factory’ by 2020 are advancing, and the anticipated seabed processing systems are expected to yield greater production efficiency, improved recovery rates, and a reduced environmental footprint, executives said recently in Houston.

Components already are in various stages of being installed on different fields, primarily offshore Norway, Margareth Ovrum, Statoil’s executive vice-president of technology for projects and drilling, told reporters during a Nov. 20 media briefing. Statoil has more than 500 subsea wells.

“We are going longer, deeper, colder,” Ovrum said. Offshore platforms likely will not be feasible in some places for future developments. She envisions at least part of the subsea factory concept eventually being applied to projects in the Gulf of Mexico, Brazil, Tanzania, and the Arctic.

Statoil advocates subsea processing for both brownfield and greenfield projects, and its brownfield projects focus on increased recovery rates from Norwegian Sea reservoirs.

“I believe the subsea factory is the most interesting project in my career,” Ovrum said, vowing not to retire until the subsea factory concept has been turned into reality. “This is my baby, and we are working very hard,” she said with a laugh. Ovrum has worked for Statoil for 32 years.

Tasks required for a complete system include single and multiphase pumping, gas compression, separation of gas and liquids, produced water reinjection, and seawater injection.

Statoil’s subsea factory is building on a toolbox of multiphase pumping and water separation installations from the late 1990s.

“In the early 2000s, we turned to the space industry for subsea materials,” to deal with high-pressure, high-temperature conditions, Ovrum said.

Progress outlined

Statoil is on schedule to apply subsea compression on Asgard field, which it operates on the Norwegian continental shelf about 120 miles offshore.

A 1,800-tonne compression module was installed on Asgard this year after being sanctioned in 2011. Start up is scheduled for 2015. A smaller subsea compression project sanctioned for Gullfaks South also is scheduled for start up in 2015.

“As of 10-15 years ago, no one could imagine having a complete compressor on the sea floor,” Ovrum said, adding that “real estate was improved” so that the Asgard compressor is completely flat on the seabed. She calls the project “the world’s first subsea compression.”

Ovrum estimates the Asgard subsea compressor will increase recovery by up to 280 million boe.

Statoil’s analysis showed pressure in the Midgard and Mikkel gas reservoirs was becoming too low to sustain their ability to produce to Asgard B in future years.

“Moving compression to the seabed gives both improved energy efficiency and lower costs compared with keeping it on a platform,” Ovrum said. “The closer to the well we compress the gas, the higher the efficiency and the production rates.”

Lars Hoier, senior vice-president of technology for development and innovation, said a short-term focus for Statoil is increased oil recovery rates.

Industry’s average recovery factor worldwide is 35%, Hoier said, adding Statoil’s recovery factor in 2011 was 50%, and the company aims to achieve 60% average recovery worldwide.

“This is really a tough ambition,” Hoier said. Statoil is investing billions of dollars to better understand reservoir flow patterns and achieve optimal drain for more efficient wells, he said.

The company’s medium- and long-term goals include using a complete subsea factory production hub and transporting market-quality oil and gas to an onshore site. That could involve greenfield developments transporting gas 490 miles about and 30 miles away for heavy oil.

Geir Tungesvik, senior vice-president, drilling and well technologies, said the use of steerable drilling liner (SDL) has simplified drilling in unstable formations and improved the recovery rate from mature fields.

Baker Hughes Inc. is working with Statoil on second-generation SDL, Tungesvik said, estimating that the first use of SDL on a field gave Statoil access to an additional 350,000 bbl. Statoil also is developing new strategies and standards for subsea horizontal trees and vertical trees, he said.

Contact Paula Dittrick at

Related Articles

BHI: US oil rig count rises for first time in 30 weeks

07/02/2015 A sudden 12-unit jump in oil-directed rigs during the abbreviated week ended July 2 represented their first rise since Dec. 5, 2014, and helped lif...

BP to settle federal, state Deepwater Horizon claims for $18.7 billion

07/02/2015 BP Exploration & Production Inc. has agreed in principle to settle all federal and state claims arising from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon inciden...

Shell makes FID on Appomattox deepwater development in Gulf of Mexico

07/01/2015 Royal Dutch Shell PLC has taken a final investment decision (FID) on the Appomattox deepwater development, authorizing construction and installatio...

BHP, Woodside move to decommission Stybarrow field

07/01/2015 BHP Billiton Ltd. and Woodside Petroleum Ltd. have started preparations for decommissioning of the Stybarrow group of oil fields in production lice...

Tullow Oil provides production update on Jubilee, other fields

07/01/2015 Tullow Oil PLC reported that gross production for the Jubilee field offshore Ghana averaged 105,000 b/d in this year’s first half, up from 102,000 ...

Statoil to suspend Scarabeo 5 drilling rig

07/01/2015 Due to overcapacity in its rig portfolio, Statoil ASA said it has decided to suspend Saipem’s Scarabeo 5 dynamically position drilling rig after it...

FWS issues Shell letter of authorization on Chukchi Sea lease

07/01/2015 The US Fish & Wildlife Service issued Shell Gulf of Mexico Inc. a letter of authorization (LOA) related to the potential disturbance of polar b...

USGS: Water usage for fracturing varies widely across shale plays

07/01/2015 The volume of water required to hydraulically fracture wells varies widely across the country, according to the first national analysis and map of ...

Forum extends study of subsea integrity


Work by an industry forum called SURF IM Network, which studies oil and gas subsea integrity management, has been extended by 3 years.

White Papers

UAS Integration for Infrastructure: More than Just Flying

Oil and gas companies recognize the benefits that the use of drones or unmanned aerial systems (UAS) c...

Solutions to Financial Distress Resulting from a Weak Oil and Gas Price Environment

The oil and gas industry is in the midst of a prolonged worldwide downturn in commodity prices. While ...
Sponsored by

2015 Global Engineering Information Management Solutions Competitive Strategy Innovation and Leadership Award

The Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognise companies in a variety of regional and global...
Sponsored by

Three Tips to Improve Safety in the Oil Field

Working oil fields will always be tough work with inherent risks. There’s no getting around that. Ther...
Sponsored by

Pipeline Integrity: Best Practices to Prevent, Detect, and Mitigate Commodity Releases

Commodity releases can have catastrophic consequences, so ensuring pipeline integrity is crucial for p...
Sponsored by

AVEVA’s Digital Asset Approach - Defining a new era of collaboration in capital projects and asset operations

There is constant, intensive change in the capital projects and asset life cycle management. New chall...
Sponsored by

Transforming the Oil and Gas Industry with EPPM

With budgets in the billions, timelines spanning years, and life cycles extending over decades, oil an...
Sponsored by

Asset Decommissioning in Oil & Gas: Transforming Business

Asset intensive organizations like Oil and Gas have their own industry specific challenges when it com...
Sponsored by
Available Webcasts

Operating a Sustainable Oil & Gas Supply Chain in North America

When Tue, Oct 20, 2015

Short lead times and unpredictable conditions in the Oil & Gas industry can create costly challenges in supply chains. By implementing a LEAN culture of continuous improvement you can eliminate waste, increase productivity and gain end-to-end visibility leading to a sustainable and well-oiled supply chain.

Please join us for this webcast sponsored by Ryder System, Inc.


On Demand

Leveraging technology to improve safety & reliability

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

Attend this informative webinar to learn more about how to leverage technology to meet the new OSHA standards and protect your employees from the hazards of arc flash explosions.


The Resilient Oilfield in the Internet of Things World

Tue, Sep 22, 2015

As we hear about the hype surrounding the Internet of Things, the oil and gas industry is questioning what is different than what is already being done. What is new?  Using sensors and connecting devices is nothing new to our mode of business and in many ways the industry exemplifies many principles of an industrial internet of things. How does the Internet of Things impact the oil and gas industry?

Prolific instrumentation and automation digitized the industry and has changed the approach to business models calling for a systems led approach.  Resilient Systems have the ability to adapt to changing circumstances while maintaining their central purpose.  A resilient system, such as Maximo, allows an asset intensive organization to leverage connected devices by merging real-time asset information with other critical asset information and using that information to create a more agile organization.  

Join this webcast, sponsored by IBM, to learn how about Internet of Things capabilities and resilient systems are impacting the landscape of the oil and gas industry.


Taking the Headache out of Fuel License and Exemption Certificates: How to Ensure Compliance

Tue, Aug 25, 2015

This webinar, brought to you by Avalara, will detail the challenges of tax document management, as well as recommend solutions for fuel suppliers. You will learn:

-    Why it’s critical to track business partner licenses and exemption documents
-    The four key business challenges of ensuring tax compliance through document management
-    Best practice business processes to minimize exposure to tax errors


Emerson Micro Motion Videos

Careers at TOTAL

Careers at TOTAL - Videos

More than 600 job openings are now online, watch videos and learn more!


Click Here to Watch

Other Oil & Gas Industry Jobs

Search More Job Listings >>
Stay Connected