How to minimise risk in subsea operations

2nd September 2019

Recent research from Rystad Energy estimates the subsea market will grow around 7% annually until 2025 at an oil price of $60-70 a barrel, or at 5% a year to 2022 at $50 a barrel.


While subsea development remains highly sensitive to commodity price fluctuations, confidence is returning and projects postponed during the recent downturn are coming back into consideration.


In line with the general increase in optimism for subsea development - with a greater industry focus on operational efficiency, production optimisation and risk reduction - has been growth in the specific market of subsea intervention.


There are several risks to consider when planning a subsea development project, including safety, water depth, drainage of the reservoir, sea climates and the commercial aspects such as rig or vessel rates. These also apply to subsea well intervention projects, with the added challenge of choosing the correct method of intervention to ensure project success at an appropriate financial cost.


Subsea development is one of Expro’s three core capabilities (alongside production optimisation and well abandonment) and we have history of supporting subsea intervention. However, we recently expanded our offering with the introduction of two new well access solutions to complement our established subsea landing string system technologies.


The Intervention Riser System (IRS) will safely establish and maintain well access throughout riser to surface operations, replicating the functionality of the blow-out preventer and providing a safe and reliable means of well control, connected directly to the production tree. With increased coil tubing cutting and disconnect capability, the system provides an alternative dual barrier, through-tubing system. Compact and less than half the weight of some alternative systems, the IRS avoids the risk of excessive weight being placed on older wellheads for operations such as plug and abandonment (P&A) work.


The new Riserless Well Intervention (RWI) system provides a field proven, established and reliable wire through-water integrated solution for carrying out cost effective intervention and/or abandonment operations on all types of subsea wells. We’ve reduced the weight of the well access system by creating a separate subsea service module, which sits on the seabed as the control system. This gives us more flexibility for on site maintenance to reduce downtime.  With a dedicated intervention vessel, all operating, deployment and retrieval efficiencies can be delivered with maximum efficiently and minimum risk.


These solutions support our Subsea Test Tree Assembly (SSTTA) solutions, including our Next Generation Landing String (NGLS) designed to fully comply with all aspects of the industry’s new API17G standard.


We recently announced a formal and exclusive agreement with shipping expert COOEC Offshore for vessel provision to support the RWI system. A DP3 vessel with a dedicated handling and deployment system will facilitate slick and efficient well intervention and P&A. Furthermore our recent acquisition of Quality Intervention gives us the exclusive capability of coil hose technology for open water.


The result of blending our experience in well intervention with the strengths partners in other areas is a truly integrated offering to reduce the risks of subsea intervention operations. And the market likes what we’ve done. We’re pleased to say feedback has been extremely positive.


Let’s discuss your subsea challenges and how we may be able to help you. Come talk to us at Offshore Europe stand 3C50 or contact us at 

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