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12 SPOTLIGHT & NEWS ExxonMobil sanctions Hebron field

The Hebron field development offshore Newfoundland and Labrador in the Canadian North Atlantic has been sanctioned by operator ExxonMobil and co-venturers in the project. Located some 350km offshore Newfoundland, the Hebron platform will be a concrete gravity-based structure (GBS) standing in 95m water depth. The field is estimated to hold 700million barrels of recoverable oil.






Dont let complacency creep into your subsea campaigns

HSEQ Essentials
INCREASED DEMAND: Complex subsea developments commonly use multiple services at the same time

Saudi Aramco set to ramp up rig fleet to 170 units

Saudi Aramco is preparing to launch into a record exploration and development campaign targeting unconventional gas while continuing to drill for oil in order to sustain its potential production capacity at around 12.5million barrels per day. It has been reported that Aramco intends to add another 30 rigs to its fleet this year, which will raise its total land rig count to more than 170. This is despite the company cutting current oil output to accommodate the present oversupply around the globe. A knock-on benefit of the current oil situation is that Aramco will be able to focus its exploration and de velopment effor t on prospecting for unconventionals . . . primarily in the north-western part of the country. There are two further prospective areas of interest . . . in the Ghawar area and Rub Al-Khali. Ghawar is the largest oil field in Saudi Arabia. However, South Ghawar is seen as a tight-gas sand opportunity. The area is close to infrastructure and there is a large amount of geological data available from the development of the oil field, which can be used to define the tight-gas sands. Rub Al-Khali is located in southern Saudi Arabia where shale and condensate plays are beginning to capture interest. Company sources have indicated that some of the additional rigs will be used for field maintenance such as drilling for injection water and sustaining present wells. Since it launched its gas production push in 2009-10, Saudi Aramco has seen its estimated conventional gas reserves rise to approximately 283trillion cu.ft (2011 estimate). The company has hinted that Saudi Arabias unconventional gas resources may exceed that. Early last year, US oilfield services giant Baker Hughes and Aramco opened a joint research centre at Dharhan which is focused on understanding and developing unconventional resources. The Dhahran facility offers research opportunities in areas ranging from petrophysics, drilling, geomechanics, fluids and production technology.

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Brian Minty
As operators face the dual challenge of sustaining their production levels in mature regions while effectively exploiting the uncapped reserves in growth areas, the potential for subsea capital expenditure for the remainder of the decade has increased dramatically. However, with this increased demand and requirement to meet project deadlines, while utilising more complex technologies, comes opportunity for complacency to creep in related to the management of health and safety in addition to the vast complexity of operations, logistics and the coordination of multiple activities. Advances in technology are increasingly being tested and deployed in response to the offshore industry's demand for solutions to challenges; deeper waters, sustaining production rates in mature developments, boosting flow rates in low pressure reservoirs, accommodating a larger number of fields tied back to host facilities and ensuring the energy and cost efficiency of a project. But thats just the hydrocarbons extraction sector. What about other subsea projects, such as windfarms with cable tie-ins and piling activities, sea-bed mining for minerals and potential gas hydrates to name just a few. Operators are being forced to deliver in remote and harsher locations, their projects requiring sophisti-

Vroon orders support vessel

Vroon Offshore Services has ordered a subsea support vessel (SSV) at Fujian Southeast Shipyard in China, with an option for a second vessel. This follows the two SSVs built at the shipyard in 2012, VOS Shine and VOS Sweet. The company described the new vessel, to be named VOS Sugar, as a modern SSV with retractable thruster and super silent tunnel thruster, providing a high standard of comfort for both passengers and crew. The 68m vessel is scheduled for delivery in early 2015 and will be operated by Vroon Offshore Services in Den Helder, The Netherlands.

Fabricom opens Tyne academy

Fabricom, a GDF Suez Energy Services company with a significant presence in Aberdeen, has launched its skills and development academy on Tyneside as an investment in the next generation of talent required to sustain North Sea prosperity. The facility has been developed by engineers for engineers to provide a fully-integrated training, learning and development set of programmes aimed at graduates, apprentices and people looking to upgrade or diversify skills. More than 30 are already undergoing apprenticeships, graduate training programmes and professional development schemes with another intake of around 12 expected this year.

cated and expensive equipment and services that can cost significantly more than the standard equivalent. Gaining efficiency (monetary) can only be achieved by careful evaluation, selection and management of the multitude of service providers required to deliver these projects. Given all of the above and the current challenges within the industry to meet the demand for experienced subsea competent personnel, health and safety becomes a predominant factor in supplier selection. Apart from the risk to people, assets and the environment, delays caused by unplanned events can result in severe financial implications to everyone involved in the project. These often complex subsea developments commonly use multiple services at the same time; diving, platform normal supply, entry in to the exclusion zone, trenching and ROV operations to name but a few, thus requiring control of simultaneous operations (SIMOPS). However, in many cases, nearby day-to-day asset operations and activities continue as well as other lesser

known activities adding to the complex nature and management of these high-risk operations. Supply chain selection and evaluation, risk management, interface management who does what, when and how, are all crucial along with the negative implications of using the wrong control system at the wrong time. Primacy of systems is the single most appropriate control measure to be defined at the outset of a project and correct management and delivery against this throughout the project is fundamental. Achieving this with effective due diligence and management must be the primary focus of any subsea management system and as such, the priority of any operator carrying out these activities. At FQM we have many years experience in the design, implementation and management of supply chain selection and the criticality of both interface development and ongoing management. We are therefore well placed to help you make sure that complacency is not a feature of your subsea campaigns. Brian Minty is an associate director with HSEQ consultancy and training organisation FQM, previously known as Facilitators Quality Management and part of Facilitators International LLP

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