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The Bottom Line: Subsea Systems Gain Popularity in Russia

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Equipment installed on the sea bottom is becoming fashionable in the oil and gas industry worldwide. Russia, where offshore reserves are located in harsh environment, also begins applying these methods.

A Global Trend

The use of subsea producing systems has become so popular that the key players in offshore projects have decided to standardize safety rules for wells on the sea bottom. BG Group, BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Petrobras, Shell, Statoil, and Total signed an interim agreement on May 18 in Stavanger, Norway, to launch the Subsea Well Response Project (SWRP) under the operatorship of Shell.

The project team will reportedly design a capping toolbox with a range of equipment to allow wells to be shut in; design additional hardware for the subsea injection of dispersant; and address the feasibility of a containment system for shared use. SWRP intends to complement the work done in the United States by the Marine Well Containment Co. and in the UK via the Oil Spill Prevention and Response Advisory Group.

The necessity of joint efforts is long overdue. A recent report of Subsea UK estimates the number of ongoing or about-to-be-launched projects that use subsea systems at over 300, including 70 on the UK continental shelf. The projects have already required 1,300 Chrtistmas trees, 110 manifolds and 12,000 km of umbilicals, risers and connecting pipelines.

In the 1990s, the number of contracts for subsea equipment totaled 1.092 as compared to 426 in the 1980s. Now, in just January-April in this year, operators awarded over 100 such contracts valued at $7.3 bln. They include 23 EPICs, 33 manufacturing contracts and 13 installation jobs.  

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