Study on Design Basis for Barents Sea Offshore Oil and Gas Field Facilities
Surface process units are typically included in the development of hydrocarbon fields in the Barents Sea, thus we must account for the possibility of ice conditions at the site. Smaller fields can also be built as satellites to larger production units. For gas fields, full well-stream to shore facilities may be explored if the flow conditions in the pipeline(s) can be documented and hydrate formation prevented. Although glacial ice has been found all around the Barents Sea in the past, the chances of seeing it in the southern section are extremely slim, some even calling it “negligible.” However, it is unclear at what latitude one might expect sea and glacial ice in the future, given that glacial ice has been seen on the coast of Finnmark County in the past, and there are ongoing processes related to global warming that may increase the likelihood of iceberg encounters at southern locations of the Barents Offshore Region. Concerns about the selection of the design foundation for the Barents Sea, particularly the Russian portion of the Barents Sea, will be discussed, as well as the phrase “negligible.” Criteria relating to the necessity for production unit disconnection alternatives are of special importance. The goal of this study is to emphasise the significance of the design foundation in the proper design of all field facilities. The variety in climate conditions from one year to the next should be recognised, with a special focus on past extremes that cannot be ruled out in the future, even in an Arctic where average temperatures have been rising for decades. The study finishes with suggestions for preparing a complete design basis for the entire Barents Sea region.
Ove T. Gudmestad
University of Stavanger, Norway.
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