Eleven proposals will receive a cut of $10 million in funding from the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA) under its ultradeepwater program. The proposed technologies are aimed at improving safety, minimizing environmental impact, increasing efficiencies and reducing costs of domestic hydrocarbon resources. RPSEA is now negotiating with the companies that submitted the proposals to determine just how much of the funding each company will receive to supplement the funds they themselves are putting toward the R&D.
RPSEA VP of technical programs James Pappas says the 11 proposals join a group of other offshore projects that are moving forward. One of the projects that will receive funds under this year's ultradeepwater program is DTC International's subsea test tree and intervention riser system. Pappas says what makes this project interesting is that the company is working to build a system that is capable of doing interventions with all off-theshelf equipment using several different types of vessels.
'They want to build this thing from the pieces that they've got. They've done a study of everything that's available out there,' Pappas says. From that research, he adds, they're selecting the best pieces for each function and working to design a system that meshes the best pieces 'so that they have a Cadillac system'.
A possible side benefit of this, if it's successful, he says, is that it may promote standardization. Once designed, he adds, DTC will look to build the system and deploy it.
'In the offshore arena, there are several projects that really seem to be moving forward,' Pappas says of projects that have received funding in previous years. For instance, a composite riser originated out of the 2007 program. Because of the lighter weight associated with the composite riser, he says, more vessels would be able to run the risers for deep waters, and transport issues would be reduced.
RPSEA is also working on subsea power. 'There's some work being done there. That's further out there time wise, but that's something that we need to look at,' Pappas says. The question, he adds, came down to whether it was necessary to rely on umbilicals for long step-outs. 'Do we really have to rely on an umbilical or can we selfgenerate somehow?' That project, he adds, is ongoing.
RPSEA is administering the program under a contract with the Department of Energy's National Energy Technology Laboratory. OE