One industry sector that was affected heavily by the recent oil crisis is the offshore oil and gas sector. However, after several years of high volatility, oil prices now seem to remain stable. We have asked one of our offshore experts, Thomas Jung (Key Account Manager ROSEN Group), what he considers to be the biggest trends in the offshore sector. Thomas has been working in the oil and gas industry for nearly three decades, and has been involved in offshore projects for many years. Here is what he told us:
Given the extreme nature of operational conditions, safety, reliability, and cost-effectiveness has always been crucial to operators of offshore production systems worldwide. Today, however, new and smart approaches to system integrity are called for when asset lifetime extension and even future decommissioning is on the agenda. Ultimately, it is all about meeting ambitious targets in a very challenging and competitive environment.
1. Cost efficiency
After the collapse of the oil price in 2014, oil and gas companies have undertaken effective measures to cut expenses. These efficiency improvements are beginning to bear fruit: many operators are now able to break even at oil prices well below what they used to be before the crisis. Although prices currently seem to gain some stability, cost-efficient operation of offshore production systems is still crucial. One important factor that contributes largely to the reduction of operational costs is asset integrity. In this context, combining professional experience gained over many decades and high-class, future-proof technology is the key to cost efficient solutions. Budget-priced solutions alone are of no real benefit. Instead, it is durable, flexible, and proactively developed solutions that will advance the industry.
2. New approaches
Closely linked to the pressing need of cost reduction is the pursuit of new, more efficient approaches. Acceptance for revolutionary ideas and methods is steadily growing in this traditionally rather conservative industry since less laborious solutions that deliver precise, reliable, and repeatable data are required urgently. ‘Smartifying’ processes and procedures will definitely gain in significance as technology is now capable of achieving results that were unthinkable only 10 or 20 years back. The keywords here are: data processing, modeling, and virtual testing.
The number of decommissioning projects will increase like never before. However, understanding the requirements, challenges, and risks will be the key success factor to excellence in project completion. In order to realize decommissioning projects as efficiently and safely as possible, precise information on the asset’s integrity status is vital. It forms the basis of sustainable project strategies and impacts their success significantly.
4. Extreme conditions
Undisputedly, offshore operation today means operating under ever-challenging and increasingly hostile conditions. 24/7 operation, remote locations, extreme water depths, and large temperature ranges call for new infrastructures and controls. Reliability, technical flexibility, and the application of new materials are only a few factors that determine economic success. Therefore, more than ever, the industry needs equipment and technologies that perform well, even under the most extreme conditions.
5. Integrity and lifetime extension
Integrity and asset lifetime extension are mutually dependent. Today, well-trained experts use high-performance software to turn targeted and precise information into a basis for economically correct decision-making. In this way, operational models are created that ensure safe and efficient operation well beyond the expected lifetime of an asset.