You are on page 1of 5

Deep Offshore: Paving the Way for Subsea Processing | total.


Page 1 of 5

Home Energies & Expertise Oil & Gas Exploration & Production Strategic Sectors The Deep Offshore Innovation
Subsea Processing & Subsea Technologies


As the conquest of the ultra-deep offshore takes shape, subsea processing, electric power
transmission, and supply and the heating of long-distance gathering lines will be the keys to

Electric Trace Heating of Effluent Transport Lines

When gathering involves long distances, no insulation system, no matter how effective, can suffice to keep hydrocarbon
temperatures above the threshold for hydrate formation. Hydrates are solid compounds that can plug flowlines. The only
solution is to heat the multiphase lines that carry the production effluents.
Total is in the vanguard of this field, with two technologies under development:
Electric trace heating: Electric heating wires are wound between the two pipes of an insulated pipe-in-pipe line. We are
the first to test this technology, on a subsea gas pipeline linking the new Islay gas development in the U.K. sector of the
North Sea to the subsea gas gathering network that we have already deployed over the area.

On the Islay gas and condensate field in the North Sea, one section of the production loop is equipped with electric trace heating,
pointing to a future solution for long-distance effluent gathering in the deep offshore 9/2/2015

Deep Offshore: Paving the Way for Subsea Processing |

Page 2 of 5

Composite fabric: The Energized Composite Solutions (ECS) technology capitalizes on the properties of a composite
fabric coating to heat the lines. This "in-house" innovation is now undergoing a qualification program and has
demonstrated a number of advantages over electric trace heating wires. These include the lighter weight and flexibility of
the fabric that enable it to conform to any geometry, a more even distribution of heat, simplified repair, and low vulnerability
to localized damage thanks to the many interconnections between the heating filaments.

A production pipe coated with a self-heating composite fabric enables active management of pipe temperature, a solution for controlling
hydrate formation.

Subsea Processing and Pumping of Well Fluids

Subsea processing is the key to Pazflors economic viability and opens the door to the production of
viscous oils from deepwater reservoirs.

With subsea processing a term that refers to the full range of artificial lift and processing technologies carried out on the
seafloor new challenges such as difficult oils, long gathering distances, "small" reservoirs and water depths in excess of
1,500 meters have met their match. 9/2/2015

Deep Offshore: Paving the Way for Subsea Processing |

Page 3 of 5

Development plans based on subsea processing, as is the case on Pazflor in Angola, will unlock the
future of deepwater development.

Total led the way in the strategic area of subsea processing with Pazflor, the
first deep offshore development in the world to implement subsea gasliquids separation and subsea artificial lift of the liquids on a large scale.
Three subsea separation units are installed in 800 meters of water. Each one
consists of a gravity gas-liquids separation module and two next-generation
hybrid pumps. The pumps combine multiphase and centrifugal pumping
technologies to boost the liquids up to the surface. These technological stepchanges proved to be the key to cost-effective production of difficult oils:
heavy (17 to 22 API gravity), viscous (3 to 10 centipoise) and contained in
low-pressure reservoirs.
With the qualification of the first high boost multiphase pump (developed
by Framo) completed in 2011, Total achieved a major new milestone in
subsea pumping of fluids from a deep offshore reservoir, using a powerful
pump (150 bar) with the ability to handle fluids containing a large
volume (60%) of residual gas (Gas Volume Fraction, or GVF). Although the
hybrid pumps developed for Pazflor were comparably powerful, they could
not tolerate a high GVF. Available low boost pumps could tolerate a high
GVF but were not sufficiently powerful (50 bar) for Pazflor's requirements.

The new high boost multiphase pump developed

by Framo combines powerful capacity with the
ability to handle fluids containing a large gas
volume fraction.


Thanks to significant investments to develop a range of subsea pumping solutions, We can avail ourselves of
technologies suited to the varying needs of our portfolio of deep offshore assets for the next ten years: 9/2/2015

Deep Offshore: Paving the Way for Subsea Processing |

Page 4 of 5

For artificial lift of fluids right from the start of production in

the case of heavy, viscous oils from reservoirs that are deeply
buried or far from production hubs.
For maintaining plateau production on mature fieldsby
supplying lift energy at the seafloor to maximize the recovery
volume as the reservoirs decline.

Transportation of a complete hybrid pump

module for the Pazflor project.

Subsea gas lift is also a critical technology for Total: gas compression on the seafloor becomes indispensable for gathering
gas over long distances when reservoir pressure declines after several years of production. We are involved in developing a
field pilot for the Statoil-operated sgard project in the Norwegian North Sea. The pilot is slated for installation in 2015.
Liquid-liquid separation is another decisive step toward maximizing recovery from mature oil fields. The quantity of
produced water inevitably increases over the fields life. The purpose of subsea liquid-liquid separation is to remove that water
from the oil and gas rather than bring it up to the FPSO. In line with this concept, Total is studying a highly innovative
configuration that couples a liquid-liquid separation step with reinjection of the water into the reservoir.

SPRINGS, which stands for Subsea Processing and Injection Gear for Seawater, is currently being developed by Total.

In the future, the seawater injected into the reservoirs to enhance oil recovery will be treated on the seafloor as well. Total is
working on SPRINGS, which stands for Subsea Processing and Injection Gear for Seawater, the first seawater sulfate
removal system designed for installation on the seafloor. With a treatment and injection capacity of 5,000 to
50,000 barrels of water per day, SPRINGS is designed for satellite oilfields located more than 10 kilometers from an FPSO 9/2/2015

Deep Offshore: Paving the Way for Subsea Processing |

Page 5 of 5

vessel. It can also be deployed to optimize the production of existing fields without requiring any major revamp of the FPSO
facilities. The nanofiltration membranes selected for this system have been qualified for a depth of 3,000 meters, a first in
the deep offshore industry. A commercial-scale trial is tentatively planned for 2015.

Steps Toward All-Electric

With advances in subsea processing and increasing distances from shore, hydraulic controls must be phased out in favor of
electric ones. Electric controls offer a number of decisive advantages over hydraulic systems:
Several years of
research by
Totals R&D
teams on
wellheads and
downhole safety
valves led to the
qualification of
technologies for
an initial
around 2013.

The world's first all-electric wellhead on the K5F

field in the Dutch sector of the North Sea.

Greater reliability (hydraulics are the leading cause of failure of subsea equipment).
More responsive, more precise control of facilities.
Better management of environmental impacts with the elimination of the risk of a hydraulic fluid leak.

Lower development costs with the elimination of the hydraulic lines in the umbilicals.
advances in
subsea processing and increasing distances from shore, hydraulic controls must be phased out in
favor of electric ones.

Subsea transmission and supply of electricity is another major enabler of subsea processing technologies. Our R&D aims to
define the electrical architectures for tomorrows developments, tailored according to water depth, tie-back distances and
power requirements. The overarching goal of this work is to achieve optimal reliability in order to streamline maintenance
requirements and improve the availability of the facilities.
Ultimately of course, the "subsea-to-shore" model for oil and gas developments far from any coastal infrastructure will best be
served by locally-generated power. In 2011, our R&D teams embarked on a program to identify the most viable solutions such
as wave energy or fuel cells for generating capacity of up to 20 MW. 9/2/2015