The subsea environment is perhaps the most unexplored segment on earth. The isolation of subsea wells coupled with a complex interaction between ocean environment and subsea wells make monitoring, intervention and routine operation much complex. These systems are now being deployed in many fields to overcome the hurdles occurring at the time of production. One of the driving forces behind subsea production systems is the drastic reduction in development costs when compared with the traditional methods. In most cases, the use of a subsea tieback is the only option to develop these resources.
With the rapid growth of subsea fields once thought to be less profitable due to the harsh conditions and huge expenses involved in the exploitation of the available resources, many companies are using subsea processing technology as one of the main methods of reducing operational expenditures. Traditional offshore development is mainly focused on the construction of fixed leg platforms in the shallow water. In deep waters, the emphasis has been on the use of floating production systems to existing production platforms.
However, with the applications of new methods industry is looking forward to new concepts like subsea processing. As opposed to the conventional method of processing reservoir fluids at process station, subsea processing holds promise in that, all the processing activities is carried out at the seafloor itself. Thus less cost is incurred and also it improves recovery factors from the reservoir. Other advantages comprise lesser susceptibility to hydrate formation and at lower operating expenditure.
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Subsea processing facilities holds the potential to off load equipment to the seafloor. This provides for a reduction in platform deck load requirements thereby reducing the backpressure imposed by the production riser. Subsea processing process can take place in numerous forms, comprising boosting scenarios and subsea separation. Strategic technologies that are essential for the successful implementation of subsea processing include compact separation, multiphase pumping and multiphase metering which varies in all the stages of maturity.
Multiphase pumps are used in conjunction with the other types of subsea processing schemes. Wet gas compressor or a multiphase pump represents the best choice for the gas stream. If no gas stream is left to flow under its own pressure, a multiphase pump or wet gas compressor can boost the pressure of the gas stream even when it contains some amount of liquid by volume.
Cost of intervention in subsea wells is extremely high and has limited efforts to monitor wells. In general, pressure boosting at the seafloor is generally preferred rather than artificial lift in the wellbore due to the lower cost of intervention. Increasing flexibility using intelligent well technology is also seen as an alternative to well intervention.
Emerging economies and growing population are some of the key drivers of the subsea production and processing systems market. However, integration of new technology with the existing technology can hinder the growth of the market. Ample amount of opportunities are there for subsea production and processing system market as demand for energy is increasing at a healthy rate especially in Asia Pacific countries such as India and China.
Some of the key players in the subsea production and processing system market include FMC Technologies, Aker Solutions, GE Energy, Schlumberger Limited, Weatherford International, and Baker Hughes Inc. among others.
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