Subsea Systems

Count of technologies (Operators plans, total 884)

Subsea systems has consistently occupied 9 – 10% of operator reported technology solutions since the first survey in 2016.

Key themes identified in the recent surveys include:

  • Subsea connectivity
  • Integrity and extension of infrastructure life
subsea systems bar chart 1

Subsea systems (83)

subsea systems pie chart 1

The operator returns were analysed according to eight sub-categories as follows:

Technology Sub-Categories
3.1 Subsea Concepts
3.2 Pipelines, Risers, Jumpers & Connections
3.3 Manifolds, Umbilicals & Controls
3.4 Installation & Construction
3.5 Metering, Flow Assurance & Chemicals
3.6 Processing, Boosting & Storage
3.7 Power Generation & Hydraulic Storage
3.8 Inspection & Intervention Systems

Pipelines, jumpers, risers & connections and Inspection & Intervention Systems dominate the operator's technology focus on Subsea Systems accounting for 35% and 30% respectively of the reported technologies.  There is, however, interest among operators in subsea utilities and facilities technology to support new developments including:- 

  • Processing, Boosting and Storage 
  • Subsea Concepts 
  • Manifolds, Umbilicals & Controls

Direct investment in technology development is limited to a few operators, whilst the majority rely on acquiring supplier developed technology. This is mirrored by spend profiles where a small number of operators (5) report spend on Subsea Systems in excess of £3 MM per year with the remainder spending significantly less than £0.5 MM per year.

Electrification is emerging as a key part of targeting net zero goals for offshore installations by several operators. Enabling technologies are being developed for integration of electrification with current subsea control systems.

 



Further Information

 


 

Technology maturity (Operators plans)

Subsea Systems is one of only two categories where existing technology contributes less than 50% of solutions reported by operators (Well P&A being the other).

The role of emerging technology in the stages of early commercialisation is clearly important in filling the gap occupied by existing technology in other categories, accounting for nearly 30% of solutions, with technology in late development/pilot stages contributing a further 13%. 

However, the low level of technology classified as being at early development is only 2%, potentially indicating a shortfall of new technologies supporting the sector in the future.

subsea systems pie chart 2

 

Technology delivery (Operators plans)

Dependence on the supply chain for Subsea technology solutions is apparent from vendor solutions and operator-supplier partnerships accounting for nearly three quarters of the reported technologies in this category.

  • The majority of technologies (67%) are developed and supplied by specialist vendors
  • This has increased from 33% of technologies provided directly by vendors in 2016

Operators are collaborating with the supply chain to develop remote power generation from wave energy (Chrysaor with OPT and Mocean) combined with subsea power storage to provide clean energy solutions for satellite fields (QL Tech and EC OG)

Participation in Net Zero Technology Centre programmes has increased from previous years indicating an important role in supporting collaborative ventures to develop subsea technology including:

  • Tiamat system for ROV deployment of UT and weld inspection tools enabling diverless operations (
    The Net Zero Technology Centre/Repsol/ICSI)
  • inSonify technology for quantitative inspection of pipeline internals utilising wideband acoustics (The Net Zero Technology Centre/TAQA/P2D)
subsea systems pie chart 3

Technology Sub-Categories

Pipelines, Risers, Jumpers & Connections

Operators are focussing on technology to help reduce the cost of subsea development concepts such as un-trenched pipelines and subsea connector technology to facilitate re-route/by-pass of existing pipeline infrastructure.  The application of composite material as an alternative to carbon steel and internal linings to address corrosion challenges is also interesting operators. 

Pipeline inspection and condition monitoring technologies feature heavily as operators focus on integrity and flow assurance challenges across the development life-cycle.  Technology is being applied to help de-risk pigging operations or challenge costs with alternate pig material and increased functionality to reduce the number of runs.  Riser integrity management using embedded fibre optics and inspection by Autonomous Underwater Vehicles is also of interest to operators. 

 

Number of technologies by operator

subsea systems pie chart 4

Technology maturity​

10 - Existing Technology (34%)
- Early Commercialisation (31%)
- Undefined (28%)
2 - Late Development/Pilot (7%)

Application Exemplars​

Existing Technologies:
  • Hot Tap, Subsea Pipeline Connectors, Multiple isolation gel pig barriers for pipeline by-pass (Chrysaor) used for pipeline re-route to by-pass platforms being removed, and pipeline repairs - saving costs on replacement pipelines.
  • Riser Integrity fibre optics (Total) used to continuously monitor flexible riser integrity, deployed on NNS assets reducing inspection costs and prediction of integrity issues.
Emerging Technologies:
  • Un-trenched pipeline technologies- Pipeline Anchoring Technology (Chrysaor/Crondall) reducing cost of installation - applicable to pipeline routes over geologically challenging soils, saving costs over conventional burial techniques
  • Multibore pipeline - wax/debris monitoring by multidiameter pigging – subsequent pig traverse/recovery from 36” line (Chrysaor) to allow wax/debris inspection of pipeline with multiple bore changes in a single run saving vessel and costs

Inspection and Intervention Systems

Less mature technologies (late development/pilot and early commercialisation) make a significant contribution although operators continue to rely on a high proportion of existing technologies (52%). 

Technology focus addresses asset integrity challenges through reference to unmanned inspection and intervention using ROV and UAV, enhanced non-intrusive inspection tools and intelligent pigging improvements.  Increased functionality of cleaning pigs to gather pipeline condition data will help reduce costs.  Technology that supports decontamination and decommissioning of subsea facilities is also well represented. 

 

Number of technologies by operator

subsea systems pie chart 5

Technology maturity​

13 - Existing Technology (52%)
6 - Early Commercialisation (24%)
5 - Late Development/Pilot (20%)
1 - Undefined (4%)

Application Exemplars​

Existing Technologies:
  • ROV deployed structural weld inspection tooling ACFM (Shell/Repsol) for ageing jacket structures, safety benefits and reduced costs
  • InSonify Wideband acoustic technology on cleaning pigs to gain actionable insights of debris and pipeline condition (TAQA)
Emerging Technologies:
  • Riser splash zone inspections – robotic systems (Chrysaor) robotic crawler with inspection camera
  • Pipeline CT scans Explorer Tool (Repsol/Tracerco) improves access and accuracy, gain confidence of pipeline condition where intelligent pigging is not possible

Processing, Boosting and Storage

Operator interest in subsea processing is evident with focus on subsea water treatment for injection and subsea separation.  

Subsea pumping, boosting and compressions solutions are also highlighted as operator needs. Subsea storage and delivery of production chemicals/hydraulic control fluids is an area of interest in relation to small pool and brownfield retrofit applications. Late development and early commercialisation technology is identified as potential solutions but a high proportion of undefined solutions and the least number of existing technologies among all returns suggests space exists in the market for additional technology development. 

 

Number of technologies by operator

subsea systems pie chart 6

Technology maturity

4 - Undefined (44%)
2 - Late Development/Pilot (22%))
1 - Early Commercialisation (11%))
1 - Early Development (11%))
1 - Existing Technology (11%)


Application Exemplars​

Existing Technologies:
  • Subsea Compression – Aker Wellstream compression system, separator, compressor and pump unit for satellite developments with minimal capacity to expand topsides facilities
  • Subsea Chemical storage and injection, Seabox (Apache) Subsea De-salination, Water filtration, nanofiltration - for satellite tie-back’s, avoiding topside modifications and reducing umbilical costs.
Emerging Technologies:
  • Subsea hydrocarbon storage NOV/Kongsberg Modular Subsea Storage System, benefit smaller discoveries allow production into subsea storage before planned offtake by tanker.

 

Functional Categories

Disclaimer

The technologies referred to in this report are for illustrative purposes only and other technologies may be available. The OGA does not directly or indirectly endorse, recommend or guarantee any entity, product or technology referred to in this report.