Subsea Separation: the elusive history

This database covers all 14 subsea separation projects across the history of the oil industry, going back to the “dawn of subsea” in 1969.

For each example, we tabulate the asset, region, operator, water depth, process technology, Service company, start-up year, power rating, oil capacity, gas capacity, water capacity and some notes.

What is interesting about the data is how elusive the technology’s ascent has been. Two of our projects were cancelled. The largest were 2.3MW. Subsea Boosting and Compression has been 4x more prevalent (chart below).

This matters for the Mero pre-salt field where an unprecedented, giant, 6MW subsea-separation project is being pioneered, to handle high gas and CO2 cuts.


Pre-Salt Brazil: FPSO Tracker

This data-file tracks the construction progress of 30 FPSOs that are being deployed in the Brazilian pre-salt oil province. In each case, we quantify the vessel’s oil and gas handling capacity, development timing and recent news.

We also compare the FPSOs’ gas-handling capacity with regional pipeline capacity. There will only be room to monetize one-third of the pre-salt’s produced gas volumes by the mid-2020s. The rest  must be re-injected (chart below).


Mero: Economic Model

We have modeled the economics of the Mero oilfield (formerly known as Libra), using public disclosures and our own estimates.

Our model spans >250 lines of inputs and outputs, so you can flex key assumptions, such as oil prices, gas prices, production profiles and costs.

In particular, we have tested the impact of different gas bottleneck scenarios on the field’s ultimate value.

Offshore Capex for Technology Leaders?

Technology leadership determines offshore capex. Specifically, this data-file measures a -88% correlation coefficient between different Major’s offshore patent filings in 2018 and their projects’ capex costs.

The details: We have tabulated the number of Offshore Patents filed in 2018, across 25 leading Majors, from our sample of 3,000 patents. We have also tabulated a dozen, recent, offshore greenfields operated by these companies, which were sanctioned in 2017-19. Investments from Aramco, BP, Equinor, Exxon, Petrobras, TOTAL and Shell are included.

The lowest-cost  projects are not “easy oil”. The most economical project in the entire sample, at $17M/kboed, has a complex gas cap with a risk of asphaltene precipitation.  Also in the ‘Top 5’ are an Arctic greenfield, an ultra-deepwater carbonate with unusually high-CO2 and an ultra-high pressure deep-water field. Economical development depends on leading technology.

To see the projects included in the analysis, please download the data-file…

Copyright: Thunder Said Energy, 2022.