Aker Solutions has started a six-month integrated operations pilot with Danish operator Dong on the Trym field, an industry briefing in London heard recently. Meg Chesshyre reviews the status of this and other developments on the Aker technology horizon.
According to Eirik Edvard Lystrup, senior consultant with Aker Solutions, the Trym integrated operations (IO) is ‘the complete package’. It gathers together not only technical information, but also information about what the system can actually do. The system is built up on access levels from daily logs and some 95% of the information is operator information.
There are two business cases, Lystrup told attendees at the company’s ‘technology day’ seminar in September. One is for actually monitoring installations when tools etc are being run, but it can also be used for smaller operators to do diagnostic and condition monitoring on smaller fields, where the functionality is built into their existing gear. The intention is to have one-way communication, not to try to control anything just to read information. It is about having an easy access operational document, running records etc live. ‘There are existing methods of measurement, but the pilot should give the complete picture,’ stressed Lystrup.
Aker is already working with Statoil directly on remote diagnostics and condition monitoring and is in the final stages of a few projects that will give extended possibilities for IO. The company is establishing an electronics and controls workshop and a simulation laboratory at Ågotnes, which will facilitate testing of new equipment and solutions and troubleshooting on offshore problems in a safe environment. Offshore faults can be reproduced so the root cause of failure may be found, and technology can be tested before it is sent offshore. The Simlab is also used for training and to improve internal competency levels.
A new version of the ‘mySubsea’ live information system is in the process of being rolled out to customers worldwide. The system offers a secure, online workspace, providing subsea customers and vendors with on-demand access to aftermarket and project related data – reports, drawings and documents from SAP, data from SAP, customer owned equipment, maintenance history, invoices, quotes etc – from anywhere in the world.
Ken Smart, vice president business development, Aker Solutions, stressed, however, that mySubsea is not designed to replace the personal contact with customers – rather, it will provide convenient tools for customers that will enhance the relationship.
Plans for the future include: document transmittals in mySubsea – including approval; visibility of all rental tools; eFields applications, access to live sensor data from installed equipment, key data direct from the well, available for viewing online, easy remote surveillance analysis, reporting, charting and trending, condition monitoring, remote diagnosis; preventative maintenance and shipment alerts.
A new development is Swims (the Subsea web interface management system), which allows third parties to login remotely and work interactively. Access is 24/7 from the rig or FPSO, anywhere with an internet connection. It is also possible to gain access via a laptop or blackberry in an internet WiFi zone.
Smart also outlined the scope of the company’s life cycle services worldwide, with bases in Ågotnes, Norway; Aberdeen Scotland; Houston, Texas; Rio das Ostras, Brazil; Port Klang, Malaysia; Perth, Western Australia; Luanda, Angola; Kakinada, India and Lagos, Nigeria. Teams are put together not just to maintain assets but to improve production, and employees transfer round the world as required.
‘Becoming part of the Aker organisation gave Qserv access to a full global infrastructure,’ Jim Wright told the seminar. ‘We can provide a truly integrated service under one roof,’ he said. Aberdeen-headquartered Qserv was bought by Stavanger’s Aker Well Service in July 2008. Aker Well Service is basically the technical authority for everything Aker Qserv conveys on the end of its surface equipment such as for tractor and logging services. Key operating areas for Aker Qserv are the UK, the Norwegian Continental Shelf, West Africa and Southeast Asia, and the company has developed infrastructure in Ghana and Equatorial Guinea.
The Aker Qserv business is split into three core services – pipeline, process and well services. Pipeline services kick in once the pipeline has been constructed and laid, from commissioning through to decommissioning throughout the life of the pipeline. Process services cover anything from commissioning through to decommissioning of process facilities on land or offshore installations. The key offerings from a well services point of view are coiled tubing and wireline services. There are synergies across all three service lines where equipment and multi-skill people can be shared. This is particularly valuable where there are POB constraints.
Alf Kristensen told technology day attendees that the newbuild subsea construction/well intervention vessel Skandi Aker, operated by Aker Oilfield Services, is currently working in construction mode for Tullow in the Jubilee field off Ghana installing a mooring system (OE July). The well intervention equipment will be delivered in the second quarter of next year by Aker Subsea, and the unit should operational as a well intervention vessel by 4Q 2011.
Aker Solutions’ subsea gas compression pilot for the Ormen Lange field is due to start full system integration testing shortly, explained project leader Knut Nyborg. The pilot plant has been built and assembled in a purpose-built hall at Aker Egersund (OE January). It moves early next year to a test pit at the Ormen Lange terminal in Nyhamna for submerged testing in 2011-12. The pilot, with a 12.5MW compressor unit and a 400kW pump unit, is identical to one of the four trains planned for the future compression station.
Dale Harris explained that Aker’s Energy Development & Services (ED&S) business with 9000 employees in 30 countries across the world was one of the bigger parts of Aker Solutions. There are some 4000 split across the UKCS and Norway and about 1800 engineers in Mumbai, which gives a real competitive advantage in terms of a low cost engineering option, Harris noted.
Recent ED&S FEED studies have included Kashagan in partnership with CB&I and Worley Parsons, Shtokman with Technip and SBM and on sub-contractor. Harris rated Ichthys as potentially one of the largest floating installations in the world, with a 60-70,000t topsides and an 8 million tonne LNG capacity.
A Bream FEED for BG involved a fairly small platform (1000t topsides and 1500t jacket) but it was cited as an example of cross-border execution possible within Aker, with Stavanger doing some of the topsides and jacket and Aberdeen the main topsides.
A contract recently signed with Agip KCO for hook-up and commissioning work in the ice-prone shallow waters (4-6m) of the Caspian Sea has an estimated value of NKr10 billion and runs to 2020. There is a possibility of some maintenance, modifications and operations work there as well.
On the decommissioning front, Harris explained that there was a lot more to it than just successful removal. If it were done correctly it could save a lot of money and extend field life dramatically as well. In terms of field extension, he cited Frigg field as a good example. Total was looking at decommissioning the field and Aker had a contract to assist from 1999-2007. The operator found it was losing people from the project at an alarming rate to the point where it was going to become difficult to operate the field.
The answer was to transfer a large number of Total people into Aker Solutions, giving security of employment post cessation of production. According to Harris, Aker put in place a new mindset with one team made up of both operator and contractor personnel working together in the same building. By doing this the team was able to lower costs and extend field life quite considerably. Aker Solutions finally decommissioned Frigg in 2006.
‘It is important to establish a new maintenance strategy, getting people to think and act differently,’ said Harris. ‘If you are able to work with fewer helicopters, fewer supply boats, take those out.’ People won’t like it initially, he explained ‘but in a situation where you are trying to take the last bit of value from the field, before having to switch it off, these things become important’. You don’t need the same maintenance routine for a pump that is enclosed inside, as for one that is exposed to the elements. ‘It’s these types of questions that you need to be asking.’
Another example was the AH001 floating production platform, which Aker successfully operated for Hess for four or five years longer than anticipated, having taken 30% out of the platform’s opex budget. It was also one of the safest and most environmentally friendly places to work in the North Sea – LTI (lost time incident) free for five years and without any recordable discharges. The platform was subsequently decommissioned in 2009 when the oil price had dropped dramatically, and it was only producing in the region of 3500b/d. OE