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DEEP DEEP W W ATER ATER REFERENCE REFERENCE BO BO O O K K Installation

DEEPDEEP WW ATERATER REFERENCEREFERENCE BOBOOOKK

Installation Vessels Sealines Subsea Control Systems ROVS and Tools Risers Umbilicals Tie-in Systems Subsea
Installation
Vessels
Sealines
Subsea Control
Systems
ROVS and Tools
Risers
Umbilicals
Tie-in
Systems
Subsea Production
Systems
SEPTEMBER 2000
SEPTEMBER 2000
SEPTEMBER 2000
SEPTEMBER 2000

SEPTEMBER 2000

SEPTEMBER 2000
SEPTEMBER 2000
SEPTEMBER 2000

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DEEPWATER REFERENCE BOOK

DEEPWATER REFERENCE BOOK

PREFACE

The Deepwater Reference Book has been prepared by the Advanced Technology Department in order to assist engineers involved with development studies and projects in deepwater.

The book is organised in three (3) volumes as follows :

Volume 1 : Subsea Production Systems, Sealines, Risers

Volume 2 : Umbilicals, Subsea Control Systems

Volume 3 : Deepwater Installation Vessels, Tie-in Systems, ROVs and Tooling

This book has been designed for use as a quick first point of reference for engineers who are not necessarily specialists in the areas of technology discussed. It is not an operations or design manual and therefore does not include Company Specifications or (e.g.) recommended procedures for installing equipment subsea. However, it will enable an engineer to grasp the key points and industry jargon associated with a particular subject, in order to approach the relevant specialists and contractors involved.

The Deepwater Reference Book presents the state of the art with respect to technology associated with deepwater field development from seabed to surface. The book does not cover technology associated with drilling operations (i.e. subsurface) or floating production systems, which are not specific to deepwater.

This reference book is a living document that was up to date at the time of writing in 1999 – 2000. With the passage of time the information contained within this document will be superseded as new technology is brought onto the market. For this reason the book is designed to incorporate revisions within each chapter, which should be performed at the appropriate time by the Advanced Technology Department (or similar function) within the Development Studies Group. It is envisaged that once every five (5) years may be a realistic timeframe to consider such a revision.

Whilst much of the information contained within this document is available within the public domain, the Deepwater Reference Book is proprietary to TOTALFINAELF and should not be passed outside of the Group or its affiliates.

J G CUTLER

JC BERGER

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DOCUMENT REVISIONS

VOLUME NUMBER

DESCRIPTION OF REVISION

DATE OF REVISION

VOLUME ONE

Original Document

30/09/2000

Rev. 0

   

VOLUME TWO

Original Document

30/09/2000

Rev. 0

   

VOLUME THREE

Original Document

30/09/2000

Rev. 0

   

Acknowledgements

The following significant contributions are acknowledged in the preparation of this document :

SEAL Engineering S.A.

Nimes, FRANCE

Subsea Control Services Ltd

London, UK

Mustang Engineering, Inc.

Houston, USA

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DEEPWATER FIELD DEVELOPMENT REFERENCE BOOK SUBSEA PRODUCTION SYSTEMS Rev. 0 Page 1 30/09/2000 DGEP/SCR/ED/TA

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

1 INTRODUCTION

5

1.1

SCOPE

5

1.2

REGULATIONS, CODES AND STANDARDS

6

1.2.1 International Specifications

6

1.2.2 UK Statutory Instruments

7

1.2.3 NORSOK Standards

7

1.3

DEFINITIONS AND ABBREVIATIONS

8

2 SUBSEA PRODUCTION EQUIPMENT

12

2.1 INTRODUCTION

12

2.2 SUBSEA WELLHEADS

13

2.2.1 Functions of Subsea Wellheads

13

2.2.2 Types of Subsea Production Wellheads

14

2.2.3 Wellhead Connector Profiles

15

2.2.4 Tubing

Spool Adapters

16

2.2.5 Casing and Tubing Hanger Interface

16

2.2.6 Wellhead Guide Structures

18

2.2.7 Loads on Wellheads

20

2.2.8 Subsea Wellhead Materials

20

2.2.9 Description of Typical Subsea Wellhead System

20

2.2.10 Wellhead Running Tools

26

2.2.11 Typical Subsea Wellhead Installation Procedures

31

2.3

SUBSEA CHRISTMAS TREES

32

2.3.1 Functions of Subsea Trees

32

2.3.2 Types of Subsea Trees

33

2.3.3 Components of a Typical Subsea Tree

42

2.3.4 Pressure and Structural Design Considerations of Subsea Trees

44

2.3.5 Subsea Tree Installation and Well Intervention Considerations

48

2.3.6 Subsea Tree Materials, Corrosion and Erosion Design

51

2.3.7 Tree Mounted Controls and Instrumentation

54

2.3.8 Flow Assurance Considerations

54

2.3.9 Deep Water Design Considerations

55

2.3.10 Factory Acceptance, Performance Verification, and System Integration Testing

57

2.3.11 Manufacturers Capabilities

62

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3 SUBSEA PRODUCTION MANIFOLDS AND TEMPLATES

63

3.1

OVERVIEW OF FUNCTIONS OF SUBSEA PRODUCTION MANIFOLDS & TEMPLATES

63

3.1.1 Subsea Production Manifolds

64

3.1.2 Subsea Templates

65

3.2 FEATURES OF TYPICAL SUBSEA PRODUCTION MANIFOLD OR TEMPLATE

66

3.3 DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS

68

3.3.1 Number of Wells

68

3.3.2 Production Piping

68

3.3.3 Bottom Conditions

69

3.3.4 Installation Method

70

3.3.5 Tie-In Requirements

71

3.3.6 Flow Assurance

72

3.3.7 Deep Water

73

3.4

ANCILLARY EQUIPMENT

73

3.4

ANCILLARY EQUIPMENT

74

3.4.1 Valves

74

3.4.2 Chokes

75

3.4.3 Flowline Connectors

77

3.4.4 Flow Meters

78

3.4.5 Sand Monitoring

78

4 SUBSEA SYSTEM INTERFACE REQUIREMENTS

79

4.1

PRODUCTION CONTROL SYSTEM

79

4.1.1 Types of Control Systems

 

80

4.1.2 Production Control System Components and Functions

82

4.1.3 INSTALLATION AND WORKOVER CONTROL SYSTEM (IWOCS)

88

4.1.4 Umbilicals And Flying

Leads

93

4.1.5 ROV Interface

105

4.2

FLOWLINE TIE-INS

108

4.2.1 Flowline Tie-In Design Issues 109

4.2.2 Flowline Tie-In Methods 110

4.3

INSTALLATION AND WORKOVER RISER SYSTEMS

113

4.3.1 INTRODUCTION

113

4.3.2 Riser System Design

113

4.3.3 Interface Considerations

117

4.3.4 Types of Installation and Workover Riser Systems

117

4.3.5 Well Test and Clean-Up of Wells

147

4.4

SYSTEM COMMISSIONING AND START-UP

147

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5 FIELD ARCHITECTURE

148

5.1 FIELD ARCHITECTURE CONSIDERATIONS

148

5.2 WELL GROUPING

150

5.2.1 Satellite Wells

151

5.2.2 Template and Clustered Well Developments 151

5.3 DRILLING AND WELL INTERVENTION CONSIDERATIONS

153

5.4 INTRAFIELD FLOWLINES

153

5.4.1 Flowline Routing

153

5.4.2 Tie-Back Distance

154

5.4.3 Commingling of Production

154

5.4.4 Well Testing

155

5.4.5 Pigging

155

5.5

FUTURE DEVELOPMENT, EXPANSION

157

6 RISK ASSESSMENT AND MANAGEMENT

158

6.1

POTENTIAL AREAS OF RISK

158

6.1.1 Project Management

158

6.1.2 Engineering

158

6.1.3 Manufacturing

158

6.1.4 Installation

159

6.1.5 Operations

159

6.2

RISK MANAGEMENT

160

6.2.1

Risk Analysis In The Project Phases

160

6.3

LESSONS LEARNED

162

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1

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Scope

In deepwater field developments the great challenges are providing a stable platform on

the great challenges are providing a stable platform on Figure 1.1 - Subsea Production Systems Offer

Figure 1.1 - Subsea Production Systems Offer a Cost Competitive Option for Deepwater Field Developments

which to mount the production facilities and transporting the production fluids to and from those facilities. Subsea production systems provide a cost competitive development option that lessens, or in some cases completely eliminates, the need for surface mounted production facilities.

The scope of this study is to provide an overview of subsea production systems technology. Key topics to be covered include the following:

A general description of the main components of subsea production systems and their functions.

Interface requirements for subsea production facilities.

Overall field architecture considerations for subsea developments.

Identification of areas of risk and risk management issues.

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1.2

Regulations, Codes and Standards

 

1.2.1

International Specifications

 

ANSI B31.3, Chemical Plant Petroleum Refinery Piping.

 

API RP 2R, Design, Rating and Testing of Marine Drilling Riser Couplings.

 

API 5A, Specification for Casing, Tubing and Drill Pipe.

 

API 5AC, Specification for Casing, Tubing and Drill Pipe.

API 5D, Specification for Drill Pipe.

 

API 5L, Specification for Line Pipe.

API 6A, Specification for Wellhead and Christmas Tree Equipment.

 

API 6D, Specification for Pipeline Valves.

 

API 8A, Drilling and Production Hoisting Equipment.

 

API 14A, Specification for Subsurface Safety Valves.

API 14B, Recommended Practice for Design Installation & Operation of Subsurface Valve Systems.

API 14D, Specification for Wellhead Surface Safety Valves and Underwater Safety Valves for Offshore Services.

API 16A, Specification for Drill Through Equipment.

 

API 17D, Specification for Subsea Wellhead and Christmas Tree Equipment.

API 17G, Design and Operation of Completion / Workover Riser Systems

 

ASME IX, Welding and Braising Qualifications, Article II Welding Procedure Qualifications and III Welding Performance Qualifications.

ASME V, Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code Section V - Non Destructive Examination.

ASME VIII, Boiler and Pressure Vessel Code Section VIII - Rules for Construction of Pressure Vessels - Division 1 & 2.

ASME/ANSI B16.34, Valves - Flanged, Threaded, and Welding End.

 

DIN 50049-EN 10 204, Documents on material tests.

 

DnV

Electrical requirements for WOCS

 

DnV

Safety and Reliability of Subsea Production systems

 

DnV Cert. note 2.7-1 Lifting certificate requirements. ( Offshore containers )

 

DnV RPB401 Recommended Practice Cathodic Protection Design.

 

EN 10204, Metallic Products - Types of Inspection Documents

FEA-M 1990, Regulations for Electrical Installation on Maritime Platforms.

 

IEC 92.101, Electrical Installations in Ships. Definitions and General Requirements

ISO 10423, Specification for Wellhead and Christmas Tree Equipment (Replaces API

6A).

ISO 10432 – 1, Standard for Subsurface Safety Valves.

 

ISO 10433, Specification for Wellhead Surface Safety Valves and Underwater Safety Valves for Offshore Service (Replaces API 14D).

ISO

13628,

Petroleum

And

Natural

Gas

Industries

-

Drilling

And

Production

Equipment.

 

ISO 13628-1, General Requirements And Recommendations.

 

ISO 13628-2, Flexible Pipe Systems For Subsea And Marine Applications.

 

ISO 13628-3, TFL Pump Down Systems.

 

ISO 13628-4, Subsea Wellhead And Tree Equipment.

 

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ISO 13628-5, Design And Operation Of Subsea Control Systems.

ISO 13628-6, Subsea Production Control Systems.

ISO 13628-7, Workover / Completion Riser Systems.

ISO 13628-9, Remotely Operated Tools (ROT) Intervention Systems.

ISO 14313, Specification for Pipeline Valves. Gate, Plug, Ball, and Check Valves (Replaces API 6D).

ISO 3511, Process Measurement Control Functions And Instrumentation Symbolic Representation.

ISO 898, Part I Bolts, Screws And Nuts.

ISO 9001, Quality Systems: Model For Quality Assurance In Design/Development, Production, Installation And Servicing.

NACE MR-01-75-94, Material Requirements, Sulfide Stress Cracking Resistant Metallic Materials for Oilfield Equipment.

NACE RP0475, Materials For Water Injection.

NAS 1638, National Aerospace Standard: Cleanliness Requirements Of Parts Used In Hydraulic Systems.

SAE J343, Tests And Procedures For SAE 100R Series Hydraulic Hoses And Assemblies.

SAE J517, Hydraulic Hoses.

1.2.2

UK Statutory Instruments

SI. 913, Design and Construction Regulations.

SI. 1019, UK. Statutory Instrument 1976 No.1019 for Offshore Installations stating Operational Safety, Health and Welfare Regulations.

1.2.3

NORSOK Standards

Norwegian Subsea Equipment is designed in accordance with the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate’s (NPD) regulations and the requirements in the following NORSOK specifications.

The NORSOK standards have been developed by the Norwegian petroleum industry as a part of the NORSOK initiative and are jointly issued by OLF (The Norwegian Oil Industry Association) and TBL (Federation of Norwegian Engineering Industries). NORSOK standards are administered by NTS (Norwegian Technology Standards Institution).

1 U-DP-001, Principles for Design and Operation of Subsea Production Systems

2 U-CR-003, Subsea Christmas Tree Systems

3 U-CR-008, Subsea Color and Marking

4 M-DP-001, Material Selection

5 M-CR-101, Structural steel fabrication, Rev. 2, Jan. 1996

6 M-CR-120, Material data sheets for structural steel, Rev. 1, Dec. 1994

7 M-CR-501, Surface preparation and protective coating, Rev. 2, Jan. 1996

8 M-CR-503, Cathodic protection, Rev. 1, Dec. 1994

9 M-CR-505, Corrosion monitoring design, Rev. 1, Dec. 1994

10 M-CR-601, Welding and inspection of piping, Rev. 1, Dec. 1994

11 M-CR-621, GRP piping materials, Rev. 1, Dec. 1994

12 M-CR-630, Material data sheets for piping, Rev. 1, Dec. 1994

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13 M-CR-650, Qualification of manufacturers of special materials, Rev. 1, Dec. 1994

14 M-CR-701, Materials for well completion equipment, Rev. 1, Dec. 1994

15 M-CR-702, Drill string components, Rev. 1, Jan. 1996

16 M-CR-703, Casing and tubing materials, Rev. 1, Jan. 1996

M-CR-710, Qualification of non-metallic sealing materials and manufacturers, Rev. 1.

1.3

Definitions and Abbreviations

ADS:

Atmospheric Diving Suit

Annulus:

The annular space between the production casing and the

BOP:

production tubing. Blowout Preventer

Casing:

Tubular steel conductors of progressively smaller sizes through which a well is drilled.

Casing Program: The sequence of casing installed in a well. A common casing program is 30” (surface conductor), 20” (surface casing), 13- 3/8” (intermediate casing) and 9-5/8” (production casing).

CDU:

Chemical (or Central) Distribution Unit

Completion Guidebase:

A permanent guidebase that incorporates production piping

Concentric Tubing Hanger:

and flowline connections. A tubing hanger with the production bore in the center and

COPS:

the annulus porting exiting the side. Communication On Power System

CRA:

Corrosion Resistant Alloy

DCS:

Distributed Control System

Drill Through Wellhead: A subsea wellhead adapted for a mudline suspension system with a connection for a temporary tie-back casing to allow drilling with a surface BOP and later completion with a mudline tree.

DSV:

Downhole Safety Valve (See SCSSV)

Dual Bore Tree:

A subsea christmas tree with production and annulus bores

EDU:

passing vertically through the tree body. Electrical Distribution Unit

EFAT:

Extended Factory Acceptance Test

EFL:

Electrical Flying Lead

EPU:

Electrical Power Unit

ESD:

Emergency Shut Down

ESP:

Electric Submersible Pump

FAT:

Factory Acceptance Test

Flowbase:

See Completion Guidebase.

HCR:

High Collapse Resistance

HDM:

Hydraulic Distribution Module

Horizontal Tree: A subsea christmas tree with production and annulus bores branching out horizontally through the side of the tree and the tubing hanger in the upper part of the tree.

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HPU:

Hydraulic Power Unit

Integral Valves:

Valves machined from the single large “block” or forging that

ISU:

forms part of the subsea tree body, as opposed to “bolt-on” valves. Integrated Service Umbilical

IWOC:

Installation and Workover Controls.

JDT:

Jumper Deployment Tool

LIM:

Line Insulation Monitor

LMRP:

Lower Marine Riser Package. A device similar to a small

BOP attached to the tree mandrel used for emergency well control and riser disconnect when running, retrieving or working over a dual bore tree. Low Pressure Housing: The machined forged steel housing welded to the top of the surface conductor (usually 30”) into which the wellhead is fitted.

Marine Riser:

A system used with floating offshore drilling rigs for guiding

MASCOT:

the drill string and circulating drilling fluids between the drilling rig and the subsea BOP. Module and Surface Computer Operations Tester

MCS:

Master Control Station

MMI:

Man Machine Interface

Mono-Bore Tree: A subsea tree with the production bore passing vertically through the tree body and the annulus bore exiting through the side of the tree.

Mudline Conversion System: A system of equipment by which a mudline suspension system may be converted to accept a mudline tree. Mudline Suspension System: A system for hanging casing at or below the mudline in offshore wells drilled using a surface BOP.

Mudline Tree:

A

subsea christmas tree designed for

installation on a

Mudline Wellhead:

mudline wellhead. A subsea wellhead used with a mudline suspension system.

OS:

Operator Station

 

Pack-Off:

The system of seals installed in the casing hanger for sealing

the annular space between successive strings of casing. Permanent Guidebase (PGB): A fabricated steel structure attached to the low pressure housing for guiding equipment onto and into the wellhead by means of guideposts and guidewires to the surface.

PLEM:

Production Casing:

Production Flowline:

from the production tree to the production processing facilities. Production Platform: For purposes of this Chapter, the term Production Platform means the host surface production facility that receives and processes the production fluids from the subsea wells. It could be a fixed platform, a jackup production platform, or a floating structure such as a spar, semi-submersible, TLP or FPSO.

Pipeline End Manifold. The final casing into which the production tubing is installed.

The piping through which the production fluids are delivered

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Production Riser: The piping through which the production fluids are delivered from the sea floor to the surface production processing facilities.

Production String:

See Production Tubing.

Production Tubing:

The tubing through which the production fluids are delivered

PVT:

from the reservoir to the production tree. Pressure, Volume and Temperature

ROV:

Remotely Operated Vehicle.

SCM :

Subsea Control Module

SCMMB: SCM Mounting Base

SCMRT:

Subsea Control Module Running Tool

SCSSV:

Surface Controlled Sub-Surface Safety Valve

Seal Assembly:

The annulus seal assembly. See Packoff.

SEM:

Subsea Electronics Module

SFL:

Steel Flying Lead

Side Valve Tree:

See Horizontal Tree.

Single Bore Tree: A subsea tree with the production bore passing vertically through the tree body and the annulus bore exiting through the side of the tree.

Single-Bore™ Tree:

SIT:

Subsea Production Manifold: A fabricated steel structure installed on the sea floor for production gathering, distribution and control. Subsea Production Template:A fabricated steel structure designed for supporting multiple subsea wells and associated piping and controls on one structure.

Subsea Tree:

installation on a subsea

wellhead. Subsea Wellhead: A machined, forged steel housing welded to the surface casing of a subsea well to which a BOP or a subsea tree may be connected for controlling the well and containing well pressures during drilling and production operations.

Surface Conductor: The first casing installed for guiding the drill bit when a well is first started (usually 30”). It may be driven, jetted or drilled into place.

Surface Tie-Back System:

A system of special connectors and casing for extending the well casing from a mudline suspension system to a surface completion. Topside Control Unit

TCU:

Temporary Guidebase: A fabricated steel structure with an opening and guide funnel at its center used for guiding the surface conductor into place when first starting a well, or for guiding the bit if the surface conductor is to be drilled into place.

TEPU:

TFL (Through Flowline): A specialized well workover system using special tools designed to be pumped through the production flowline and down the production tubing.

A Dril-Quip mono-bore tree.

System Integration Test

A

christmas tree designed for

Test Electrical Power Unit

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Through-Bore Tree:

A subsea tree with the production bore passing vertically through the tree body and the tubing hanger in the tree body. The mechanism at the base of the tree that connects the tree to the wellhead by means of a hydraulic or mechanical actuator. See Wellhead Connector. A machined hub at the top of a dual bore subsea tree for

connection of the tree running tool or the LMRP and gaining access to the tree bore. Tree Running Tool: A specially designed tool used for lowering the subsea tree onto the wellhead and actuating the tree connector or, inversely, for removing the tree from the wellhead. For dual bore trees it is sometimes incorporated into the LMRP.

Tree Connector:

Tree Mandrel:

Tubing Hanger:

A component of the wellhead system for supporting the

Tubing Head:

production tubing in the well and aligning the production and annulus bores with the BOP or subsea tree. A term sometimes used for a wellhead with a tubing hanger but no casing hangers. See Mudline Wellhead.

Tubing Spool Adapter: A wellhead adapter for 1) converting from a wellhead of one profile type to another or 2) providing a new wellhead seal surface if the original one is damaged.

TUTA:

Topside Umbilical Termination Assembly

TUTB:

Topside Umbilical Termination Box

UJB:

Umbilical Junction Box

UPS:

Uninterruptible Power Supply

USV:

Upper Swab Valve

UTA:

Umbilical Termination Assembly.

UTH:

Umbilical Termination Head

VSE:

Valve Signature Emulator

Wellhead Connector: A mechanism for connecting other equipment to a wellhead by engaging and locking onto the wellhead profile. See Tree Connector. Wellhead Profile: The external machined profile at the top of the wellhead that provides a load bearing shoulder and seal surface for the BOP connector or the tree connector.

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2 SUBSEA PRODUCTION EQUIPMENT

2.1 Introduction

As subsea production equipment has proven its reliability in service and as its cost, in relative terms, has fallen, the oil industry has come to accept it as a technically viable and competitive field development option. Subsea production equipment here is meant to include subsea wellheads, subsea production trees, subsea manifolds, subsea well templates and the ancillary equipment associated with these.

templates and the ancillary equipment associated with these. Figure 2.1 - A Variety Of Field Development

Figure 2.1 - A Variety Of Field Development Options Exist as Subsea Technology Moves Into Deeper Waters.

The focus for this discussion is deepwater developments. The term “deepwater” is subject to interpretation, but in general one can assume it to be beyond the reach of current saturation diving technology. Subsea developments within diver accessible depth are so routine as not to merit much comment these days. For this discussion we are assuming deepwater to begin at water depths well beyond the practical range of saturation diving, within the reach of current generation ADS equipment and extending to depths that require methods other than human intervention, such as remote control or ROV intervention. This covers a range of roughly 300 to 2500 meters. It should be noted that 2000 to 2500 meters represents the approximate limit of current well completion experience, although exploration drilling activity continues to push into deeper waters.

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2.2

Subsea Wellheads

2.2.1

Functions of Subsea Wellheads

Drilling a subsea well from a floating drilling rig or completing a well subsea requires a subsea wellhead. Subsea wellheads serve several purposes:

to support the subsea blowout preventer (BOP) and seal the well casing during drilling

to support and seal the subsea production tree

to support and seal the well casing.

to support and seal the production tubing hanger.

• to support and seal the production tubing hanger. Figure 2.2 - A Typical BOP Stack

Figure 2.2 - A Typical BOP Stack Being Deployed

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The subsea wellhead together with the BOP or the production tree provides the means to safely contain reservoir pressure during oil and gas drilling and production operations. It rarely sees actual reservoir pressure but is rated to withstand this pressure in case of loss of well control during drilling or a breach of a primary pressure barrier during production. Standard API pressure ratings in use are 5,000 psi, 10,000 psi, 15,000 psi. and more recently 20,000 psi.

The subsea wellhead may also be designed to accommodate a surface tie back system to a surface completion on a TLP, spar or, more rarely, a fixed platform.

2.2.2 Types of Subsea Production Wellheads

The term “subsea wellhead”, for the sake of this discussion, describes a specific class of wellhead used in subsea drilling applications that require installing the BOP at the seabed. It is sometimes also referred to as a marine wellhead. Subsea wellheads are typically used for drilling wells from a floating drilling rig.

Another class of wellheads that is sometimes employed on subsea production systems is the mudline suspension system. The mudline suspension system relies on the use of a surface BOP during drilling, usually from a jackup type drilling rig.

Subsea wellhead designs have evolved along with advances in subsea drilling and well completion technology. Subsea wellheads generally come in one of the following sizes:

13-5/8 inch

16-3/4 inch

18-3/4 inch

21-1/4 inch

inch • 16-3/4 inch • 18-3/4 inch • 21-1/4 inch The size designates the nominal bore

The size designates the nominal bore (I.D.) of the wellhead, in inches. The 18-3/4 inch subsea wellhead is currently the most common. Earlier subsea drilling systems used a “two stack” approach and relied on a low-pressure 21-1/4 inch BOP to start the well and a high pressure 13-5/8 inch BOP for finishing the well. With the development of the 18-3/4 inch x 10,000 psi (10M) BOP, the well could be drilled to final depth with one BOP and the 18-3/4 inch x 10M wellhead became the standard. Wellhead pressure ratings are trending higher, with 18-3/4 inch x 15M wellheads becoming the new standard, though manufacturers still offer 10M models. 18-3/4 inch x 15M BOPs are not as common, but the 15M wellheads are compatible with the 10M BOP connectors.

Traditionally Drill Ships have used 16- ¾ inch subsea wellhead systems. The advantage of the 16- ¾ inch wellhead is smaller riser and less mud volume. Riser storage requirements are reduced, the suspended weight is reduced, current drag on the riser is reduced, and the mud system can be smaller. The 16- ¾ inch wellhead systems are relatively common in Brazil, probably influenced by their significant deepwater experience and prevailing available equipment at the time that trends were established. An area for further development by wellhead manufacturers is in smaller bore versions of current wellhead and tree technology. This would help mitigate the increased weight imposed by deeper water operations. Manufacturers of Subsea Intervention Trees are being pressured to provide higher pressure rated designs for use within smaller (16- ¾ inch) bores. Operators may adopt Slim Hole well technology that starts with 26-inch conductors.

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2.2.3 Wellhead Connector Profiles

All subsea wellheads have an external profile for mechanically connecting and sealing the BOP or tree to the wellhead. There are numerous profiles available today, with most manufacturers having their own proprietary designs. The Cameron ”hub” and Vetco H4 “mandrel” profiles are most common. Through cooperative licensing arrangements with their competitors, wellhead manufacturers are able to provide wellheads with different profile choices for their customers, within limits. Each wellhead profile utilizes a particular style of metal gasket designated “AX”, “DX”, “VX”, or “NX” depending on the wellhead profile. The gasket provides the seal between the wellhead and the BOP connector. It is the ultimate barrier between the well and the environment.

the ultimate barrier between the well and the environment. Wellhead Datum Wellhead Profile Wellhead Datum

Wellhead

Datum

Wellhead

Profile

Wellhead Datum
Wellhead Datum

Wellhead

Datum

Wellhead Datum Wellhead Profile Wellhead Datum Internal Profile Datum Figure 2.3 - Wellhead Profiles.

Internal

Profile

Datum

Figure 2.3 - Wellhead Profiles. The two most common external wellhead profiles are show in this diagram – the upper figure shows a typical Vetco H-4 (Mandrel) profile and the lower figure shows a typical Cameron (Hub) profile.

Interface features are also identified –note especially the datum line– used for all height measurements.

Deepwater profiles are now becoming more commonplace. These were developed for much higher bending and tension loads that can be experienced in deeper water depths. Cameron has developed the double hub style profile. This profile is unique in that either their new deepwater connector or their standard connector can latch onto it. ABB Vetco Gray has also developed a deepwater profile and wellhead. It is similar to their existing designs except that the wellhead wall thickness is greater and the outer profile diameter is larger providing more strength than their conventional wellheads.

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2.2.4 Tubing Spool Adapters

It is necessary that the wellhead connector on the BOP be compatible with the wellhead on

the planned development well. Fortunately BOP wellhead connectors can be changed out relatively easily. Operators may therefore specify the wellhead type and profile of choice, taking into account compatibility with other existing wells or their preference for the well completion equipment. If an operator wishes to complete a well with a tree having a connector that is not compatible with the wellhead, a wellhead conversion can be installed.

This wellhead conversion is called a tubing spool adapter, and consists of a forged spool piece having a connector matching the existing wellhead on the bottom and a profile matching that of the tree’s connector on top. These conversions are sometimes referred to as tubing head adapters.

A tubing spool adapter can also used to provide a new wellhead seal surface if the existing

one is damaged. This is not an uncommon occurrence with exploration wells that are ultimately completed and turned into production wells. They can also be used to land the tubing hanger into, and this is often done for conventional style trees.

2.2.5

Casing and Tubing Hanger Interface

2.2.5.1

Typical Well Casing Programs

Depending on the soil conditions the hole may be started with a large conductor such as 42 inch or 36 inch or, if a template is being used it may have a large sleeve pre-installed. Then a conventional 30 inch conductor is usually installed. Again depending on the anticipated loading this may have a 1 inch, 1-1/2 inch, 2 inch, or larger wall thickness.

Most subsea wells are started by driving, drilling or jetting-in the ‘surface’ conductor with the low-pressure housing attached to the top. The well is then drilled ahead through this conductor. The 18- ¾ inch high-pressure wellhead (housing) with 20 inch/18- ¾ inch or similar sized casing attached is then run through it, into the pre-drilled hole, landed in the low pressure housing and cemented in place. The subsea BOP stack is then run onto and tested on the high-pressure wellhead housing.

Further holes are progressively drilled ahead and the appropriate sized casing is then installed through the BOP and wellhead. These are selected from a variety of sizes. The

following sizes are the most common; 20 inch, 18- ¾ inch, 16- ¾ inch, 13- 3 / 8 inch, 10- ¾ inch,

9- 5 / 8 inch and 7 inch. The progressively smaller selected casings are suspended in the

wellhead. Most wellheads can accommodate 3 or 4 hangers. If more casing is required, it can be suspended farther down the well bore as a ‘Liner’.

Horizontal subsea Christmas trees, described elsewhere in this chapter, enable the wellhead system to have one less hanger than conventional trees normally demand of wellhead systems because the tubing hanger sits in the horizontal tree rather than the wellhead as in a conventional tree. It is still routine practice to include an extra hanger slot available in the wellhead ‘just in case’. Tubing hanger adapter spools can be added above the wellhead to accommodate the tubing hanger and although rarely done, more casing hangers if required. Figure 2-10 illustrates an 18-3/4 inch wellhead with two casing hangers installed. Most wellheads are limited to 3 or 4 hangers. If more are required, secondary hangers can be installed below the wellhead.

Packoffs or seal assemblies in the wellhead seal the annulus between casings. Older pack- off designs used elastomer seals. Newer designs employ metal to metal seals. These are, in some cases, actually composite metal and elastomeric seals designed so that the elastomer

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provides an initial seal that, with deformation, causes the metal seal to be forced into place or ‘energized’. The elastomer serves as a back-up seal.

Most of the casing weight is suspended at the mud line by the wellhead. Some casing strings are anchored deeper in the well. Later when the production tubing is installed, it is suspended either in the wellhead or tubing hanger adapter spool or in the tree above. Each method transfer the loads back to the wellhead.

During well production thermal and pressure effects on the tubulars can reverse the hanger loads and push up against the wellhead. Therefore lock down of the hangers is recommended for production wells. Some ‘Exploration’ wellheads do not apply the lockdown feature so as to facilitate dismantling and abandonment of the well and because this feature can sometimes be troublesome to install.

this feature can sometimes be troublesome to install. Figure 2.4 - Typical 13-3/8” Casing Hanger 2.2.5.2

Figure 2.4 - Typical 13-3/8” Casing Hanger

2.2.5.2 Casing Hanger

At the top of each casing (and the production tubing) is a forging with an external, tapered shoulder that lands on a mating shoulder within the wellhead and transfers the weight of the casing to the wellhead. These supporting shoulders are called Hangers. There are different designs of hangers for suspending casing or production tubing. The casing hanger also provides a machined surface to seal against. Once the casing is landed and locked in place, the annular cavity is sealed by a Pack-Off or seal assembly mechanism.

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2.2.6

Wellhead Guide Structures

2.2.6.1

Guideline Drilling and Completions

Most subsea wells employ the use of a permanent guide base (PGB) mounted to the low pressure conductor housing. The PGB is a fabricated structure with guideposts and wire rope guidelines for guiding equipment onto or into the wellhead, or it may be a guidelineless style, which employ large funnels for guidance.

style, which employ large funnels for guidance. Figure 2.5 - A Typical Temporary Guide Base The

Figure 2.5 - A Typical Temporary Guide Base

The nomenclature “permanent” is used to distinguish it from the “temporary” guide base (TGB), at one time traditionally used for starting the well, although modern equipment has made the TGB largely unnecessary. The TGB is typically a gravity-stabilized guide structure normally with a 42 - 46 inch diameter central hole that is lowered to the seabed on four guide wires. The TGB lies on bottom at the angle of the seabed and holds the guide wires in place

the angle of the seabed and holds the guide wires in place Figure 2.6 - A

Figure 2.6 - A Temporary Guide Base Being Deployed by a Running Tool on Drill Pipe

to enable the 30-inch conductor to be easily guided through the central hole. The housing at the top of the 30 inch has the PGB attached to it, to take over the guidance function after the 30 inch conductor has been secured. The term “temporary” in the name is misleading in that it is a permanent fixture to the well once deployed.

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PGBs normally incorporate level indicators that can be observed by camera when landing the first conductor in a new well. If the conductor is off true vertical by more than about one degree, the driller may decide to re-spud the well. It is recommended almost universally to do this if the well is off vertical by more than one degree. If not, key seating (wearing on one side) of the casing and or BOP stack can occur seriously degrading the pressure integrity of the well and well control equipment.

The guideposts are normally designed to accommodate guide wires latched to the post tops. The post tops are generally designed to enable easy latching or unlatching of the guide wires and include a means of reestablishing new guide wires onto the post top. Virtually all PGBs utilize the API standard post spacing, four guideposts at 90º spacing, on a six-foot radius from the well center. This leads to the standard 101.82 inches between posts.

This leads to the standard 101.82 inches between posts. Figure 2.7 - Example of a Retrievable

Figure 2.7 - Example of a Retrievable Permanent Guide Base

PGBs can be designed to be retrievable while leaving the well intact for future use. This offers the advantage of not having to purchase a new guide base for every well. This style of guide base is more expensive than one that is not retrievable, but pays for itself after use on very few wells. These types of PGBs are often referred to as RGBs – Retrievable Guide Bases.

If it is known beforehand that the well is to be a production well, the guide base may incorporate piping, flowline connections, and tree piping interface hardware. This type of guide base is generally referred to as a completion guide base (CGB), or a flowbase. Virtually all CGBs are application specific designs. Sometimes a CGB is deployed on top of an existing PGB if it cannot be easily removed.

2.2.6.2 Guidelineless Drilling and Completions

Guidelineless PGBs are used in deeper water where guidelines become cumbersome and less effective. They are usually deployed from dynamically positioned drilling vessels. They can be used at shallow depths but are not normally used in less than about 2,000 feet. They typically have a funnel-up design for capturing the guidelineless BOP or subsea tree and guiding it onto the wellhead. Guidelineless funnel-down trees are sometimes used to complete wells in shallow water that have no installed guidebase.

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2.2.7 Loads on Wellheads

Wellheads must be designed for high structural loads imposed during drilling, workover, or well completion operations. The wellhead must support the weight of the BOP, drilling riser loads, casing weight and forces imposed by internal pressure. In general, wellheads are of such robust construction that, as far as external loads are concerned, they are rarely the weak point of the wellhead system. The 15M wellheads can generally sustain greater external loads than the 10M wellheads. For deep water and other special applications, manufacturers must engineer the wellhead equipment to meet the specified load requirements. A heavy duty deepwater wellhead with a heavy duty connector engaging two profiles instead of the one for more strength is shown in Figure 2-11.

To improve the transfer of loads from the wellhead to the low-pressure conductor housing and reduce fatigue stresses and fretting at critical wellhead interfaces, a rigid lockdown system may be employed. This mechanism locks the wellhead housing securely into the low- pressure conductor housing. It may be engaged automatically with the installation of the wellhead (passive), or it may require an externally applied preload (active).

2.2.8 Subsea Wellhead Materials

The following is a list of typical materials used for main components in a subsea wellhead system.

COMPONENT

MATERIAL

Low Pressure Conductor Housing

AISI 8630 Modified.

Conductor Pipe

API 5L X52

18

3 / 4 inch Wellhead Housing

AISI 8630 Modified, 80 Ksi. Yield

Wellhead Seal Area

Inconel 625 Overlay

20

inch Casing Extension,

API 5L X52

Wellhead Lock Ring

AISI 4140/4145, 105 Ksi. Yield

Casing Hangers

AISI 8630 Modified, 80 Ksi. Yield

Pack-Off Seal Elements

AISI 1010 or 1015

Pack-Off Bodies

AISI 4140, 75 Ksi. Yield

Pack-Off Split Rings

17-4 PH, 100 Ksi. Yield

2.2.9 Description of Typical Subsea Wellhead System

For the purposes of this discussion, a wellhead system consisting of the following components will be considered:

30 inch conductor housing joint,

18 ¾ inch wellhead housing joint,

20 inch casing

13 3/8 inch and 9-5/8 inch centralized casing hangers

Associated packoffs.

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2.2.9.1 Subsea Wellhead Features:

The following are features that should generally be expected in wellhead equipment:

The ability to test all the seals and locking arrangements.

Protection for all permanent seals during running and the seals are remotely energized after landing.

The ability to clean component seal surfaces after cementing operations and prior to setting the pack off seals.

The casing hangers have ability to be locked in place.

The flow path for cuttings and cement returns without excessive build up of pressure, blockage or reduction in velocity through the flow-by holes and slots.

The use of a minimum number of seals and components installed subsea.

The primary metal-to-metal seals with elastomeric secondary system for all permanently installed seals.

Weld overlay surfaces with a nickel-based alloy (Inconel 625) at the wellhead's gasket seal surface.

Reliable and robust suite of versatile running tools.

2.2.9.2 30 inch Conductor Housing Joint.

The 30-inch conductor-housing joint provides the structural foundation for the wellhead system. The outer diameter of the housing is fitted with a keyway and a shoulder to provide orientation of the PGB which in turn orientates the BOP and the tubing hanger, and later the

turn orientates the BOP and the tubing hanger, and later the Figure 2.8 - Typical 30”

Figure 2.8 - Typical 30” Wellhead Housing

tree. The joint generally consists of a 30 inch conductor housing welded onto a 30 inch conductor pipe. A proprietary, mechanical, pin connector is fabricated onto the bottom end of the 30-inch conductor. The overall length of the joint is approximately 45 feet. The 30-inch conductor will normally have large landing pad eyes for handling and hang off purposes welded to it near the housing. The string is suspended below the pad eyes through the rotary

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table while the running tool is made up to it. The padeyes are then cut or burnt off and the casing run to the seabed.

A 30-inch conductor housing should normally provide the following features:

An internal profile locking facility for the 30-inch conductor housing running tool.

Side outlet holes with diameters for cement returns.

Control of the elevation, concentricity, and vertical alignment of the 18-3/4-inch wellhead housing by the load shoulder and locking mechanism incorporated with the internal profile.

Unrestricted passage of a 26-inch drill bit.

Available working pressure of 2000 psi (135 bar).

2.2.9.3 18- 3 / 4 inch Wellhead Housing Joint.

The 18- 3 / 4 inch wellhead housing joint serves as the suspension head for the surface casing string and provides a mechanical connection and sealing preparation for the BOP stack and tree. It also provides landing, locking, and sealing preparations for the subsequently run

locking, and sealing preparations for the subsequently run Figure 2.9 - Typical 18-3/4” Wellhead Housing casing

Figure 2.9 - Typical 18-3/4” Wellhead Housing

casing hangers. The 18- 3 / 4 inch wellhead housing joint generally consists of an 18- 3 / 4 inch high pressure housing welded to a 20 OD pipe (typically 0.625 inches wall thickness). A 20 inch pin connector is welded to the lower end of the casing joint. The overall length of the 18- 3 / 4 inch wellhead housing joint is approximately 40 feet.

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An 18- 3 / 4 inch wellhead housing should generally provide the following features:

Positive mechanical lockdown mechanism into the 30 inch conductor housing.

Provision for the flow of drill cuttings and cement returns between the 18- 3 / 4 inch wellhead and the 30-inch conductor housing.

Control of the elevation and concentricity of the casing hangers and the tubing hanger.

Seal surfaces appropriate for the sealing systems associated with the test and running tools.

Transfer loads from the hangers and bending loads from the BOP and riser into the 30 inch conductor housing. This can be achieved by a two point socketing arrangement between the 30 inch housing and the 18- ¾ inch wellhead housing.

Profile Wellhead Pack Offs or Seal Assemblies
Profile
Wellhead
Pack Offs
or Seal
Assemblies
housing. Profile Wellhead Pack Offs or Seal Assemblies Wear Bushing Casing Hangers Figure 2.10 - A
Wear Bushing
Wear
Bushing
Wellhead Pack Offs or Seal Assemblies Wear Bushing Casing Hangers Figure 2.10 - A Typical Modern

Casing Hangers

Pack Offs or Seal Assemblies Wear Bushing Casing Hangers Figure 2.10 - A Typical Modern Wellhead

Figure 2.10 - A Typical Modern Wellhead Stack-Up

Allow passage of 17- 1 / 2 inch drill bit.

Incorporates an external wellhead connector profile to suit the tree connector and BOP connector.

A wellhead gasket seal preparation for metal-to-metal sealing between the wellhead and the connector, inlaid with nickel based alloy Inconel 625.

Suitable working pressure of 10,000 or 15,000 psi

A variety of profiles exist in the market today. There are two primary profiles, licensed by two different manufacturers. All manufacturers produce each other’s profiles

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through cooperative agreements and license arrangements. The two most common profiles are currently being further developed for deep water requirements demanding higher capacities.

for deep water requirements demanding higher capacities. HC CONNECTOR ON DWHC HUB DWHC Connector on Standard

HC CONNECTOR ON DWHC HUB

demanding higher capacities. HC CONNECTOR ON DWHC HUB DWHC Connector on Standard Hub DWHC Connector on

DWHC Connector on Standard Hub

HC CONNECTOR ON DWHC HUB DWHC Connector on Standard Hub DWHC Connector on DWHC Hub Figure

DWHC Connector on DWHC Hub

Figure 2.11 - One Manufacturer’s Standard (HC) and Deepwater (DWHC) Wellhead Connectors on Standard and Deepwater Wellhead Hubs, Demonstrating Their Interconnectability

2.2.9.4 The Casing Hangers

The casing hangers centralize and suspend the casing strings inside the 18 3 / 4 inch wellhead housing. They also provide seal surfaces for the pack off assembly to isolate the casing annuli. The casing hangers are normally supplied with a casing pup joint pre-installed. The casing pup usually terminates with a pin connection.

Casing hangers should generally provide the following additional features:

Two-point centralization in the 18- 3 / 4 inch wellhead housing.

Sufficient flow-by area to permit flow of drilling mud, cuttings, and cement.

Allows passage of drill bits for the next successive casing size.

Interfaces with a variety of running tools – such as drill pipe tool, full bore tool, or single trip tool.

Suitable working pressure of 10,000 or 15,000 psi.

Suspend a sufficient working load – usually at least 1,000,000 lbs capacity.

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2.2.9.5 Pack-Off (Seal) Assembly.

The pack off or seal assembly should generally provide the following features:

The necessary seals and components to ensure that the seal is set, energized, tested and if required, retrieved in a single down hole trip.

Seals are protected during running phase.

Single trip tool runs casing hanger and pack off assembly as a unit.

Complete seal assembly can be retrieved using single trip tool or a pack off retrieval tool.

An effective seal for continuous or intermittent annulus pressure.

Bi-directional metal-to-metal seal with elastomeric backup seals to pack off the casing hanger to 18 3/4 inch wellhead housing annulus.

Suitable working pressure of 10,000 or 15,000 psi.

• Suitable working pressure of 10,000 or 15,000 psi. Figure 2.12 - Typical Casing Hanger for

Figure 2.12 - Typical Casing Hanger for Subsea Wellhead

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2.2.10 Wellhead Running Tools

Running tools are required to install, test and retrieve the wellhead system components. These tools are supplied by the wellhead manufacturer as part of the wellhead system, most often on a rental basis. One aspect of wellhead system design is to design the running sequence and tools so as to minimize the number of trips required. This becomes more important in deep water where rig rates are high and trips take more time.

The tools should be of robust design, debris tolerant, and capable of giving strong easily detected signals of correct function that can be observed at the drill floor.

of correct function that can be observed at the drill floor. Figure 2.13 - A Typical

Figure 2.13 - A Typical Suite of Subsea Wellhead Running Tools

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2.2.10.1 Bore Protector The bore protector is used to protect the casing hanger sealing surfaces inside the 18 3/4 inch wellhead housing during drilling operations associated with the subsequent setting of the surface casing string. The wellhead housing can usually be deployed with the bore protector installed. Additionally, most systems have tools designed that do not transfer pressure end load into the protector and therefore allow the BOP stack to be pressure tested without retrieving the bore protector. The bore protector is normally mechanically held in place by shear pins or o-ring friction.

2.2.10.2 Wear Bushing.

The wear bushing protects the bore of the packoffs and casing hangers from mechanical wear associated with drilling activities subsequent to the setting of the intermediate casing string. It is deployed and retrieved on drill pipe and set using a wear bushing running and retrieval tool. These are often used for several functions and called multi-purpose or multi- utility tools. The wear bushings are normally designed to allow BOP testing to be conducted without retrieving the bushing.

BOP testing to be conducted without retrieving the bushing. Figure 2.14 - A Typical 30” Wellhead

Figure 2.14 - A Typical 30” Wellhead Running Tool

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2.2.10.3 30-Inch Conductor Housing Running Tool. The 30 inch running tool is used to deploy the 30 inch conductor string and housing. Typical features of this tool are:

Locks into the profile of the 30 inch housing.

Seals inside the 30 inch housing below the flow-by ports

Visual position indicator provided.

Anti-rotation feature.

Right hand rotation of the running string releases the tool. This is often a hydraulic function in deeper waters.

6 5/8 inch API Regular box up by 4 1/2 inch API Internally Flush (NC50) pin down.

Valves to allow filling of the string with seawater and then closed.

2.2.10.4 18 3/4 inch Housing Running Tool.

The 18 3/4 inch housing running tool runs the high-pressure wellhead housing. It typically includes the following features:

Locks into the upper groove inside the wellhead bore.

Has visual position indicator.

Right hand rotation of the running string to release. This is often a hydraulic function in deeper waters.

This is often a hydraulic function in deeper waters. Figure 2.15 - A Typical 18-3/4” Wellhead

Figure 2.15 - A Typical 18-3/4” Wellhead Running Tool

6 5/8 inch API regular box up by 4 1/2 inch API Internally Flush (NC50) box down.

Anti-rotation pins to prevent free spinning of the tool inside the housing.

Valves to allow filling of the string with seawater and then closed.

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2.2.10.5 Bore Protector Running and Retrieval Tool. A Bore Protector Running and Retrieval Tool is typically used for running and retrieving all of the 18-3/4 inch bore protectors and wear bushings. It can also be used as a test tool with wear bushings in place or as a washout tool if need be. The tool typically has a 4-1/2 inch API Internally Flush (NC50). box up by 4-1/2 inch API Internally Flush (NC50) pin down.

2.2.10.6 Single-Trip Tool

Most wellheads have a single trip tool available which is used to run, set, and test the casing hangers with its pack off in a single trip. After the casing is cemented in place, the tool hydraulically sets the pack off. Most tools are designed so that if the pack off should fail to set properly, the tool will retrieve it. The tool generally has a 6-5/8 inch reg. box up by 4 1/2 inch API I.F. pin down.

a 6-5/8 inch reg. box up by 4 1/2 inch API I.F. pin down. Figure 2.16

Figure 2.16 - A Typical 18-3/4” BOP Test Tool

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2.2.10.7 Pack-Off Assembly Running Tool The Pack-Off Assembly Running Tool is primarily used to run, set, or retrieve the pack off independently of the casing hanger. It will typically enable testing of the pack off in the same running trip. The tool typically has a 4-1/2 inch API Internally Flush (NC50)inch box up by 4- 1/2 inch API IF (NC 50) box down.

2.2.10.8 Drill Pipe Casing Hanger Running Tool.

The casing hanger running tool runs the casing hanger without its packoff on drill pipe. Running the casing hanger and pack off this way is a two-trip operation and in deeper waters is generally avoided.

2.2.10.9 Full Bore Casing Hanger Running Tool.

The casing hanger running tool runs the casing hanger without its packoff on casing. Running the casing hanger and pack off this way is a two-trip operation and in deeper waters is generally avoided.

2.2.10.10 BOP Test Tool.

The BOP test tool is used to test the BOP stack without subjecting the wellhead components below it to the BOP test pressure. The tool is deployed on drill pipe and seals inside the housing bore.

2.2.10.11 Emergency Drill Pipe Hang-Off Tool.

The emergency drill pipe hang off tool is used to suspend drill pipe in the wellhead during suspended drilling situations. Drill pipe weight is transferred into the wear bushing. The configuration of the tool is unique to the particular BOP stack involved in the field development.

2.2.10.12 Mill and Flush Tool.

The mill and flush tool is primarily used to clean out the annular area behind the casing hanger neck before the installation of the pack off assembly. Lead impression blocks can be provided to enable the elevation of the casing hanger to be verified prior to running the pack off.

2.2.10.13 Emergency Seal Assembly.

The emergency seal assembly is used when the casing hanger is set high. Height adjustment is built into the design of the emergency seal assembly enabling it to pack off on the high set, casing hanger. It can then still provide a landing shoulder for the subsequent run casing hanger or seal surface for the Horizontal Tree stinger at the correct elevation.

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2.2.11 Typical Subsea Wellhead Installation Procedures

Run 30 inch conductor string into open hole with 30 inch suspension joint attached to the guidance cone.

Once landed and set to the correct vertical elevation, cement 30 inch conductor in place according to operator procedures.

Rotate the drill pipe and pull to release running tool. Pull back to surface.

Drill the next hole to TD and run the 20-inch casing.

Attach the 18 ¾ inch wellhead body to the 20-inch casing. Install the bore protector in the wellhead (if not installed at the factory). Run cement stinger into wellhead housing sitting on rotary table and make up the wellhead body to the running tool. Make up running tool to wellhead.

Run the wellhead body assembly into the suspension joint. Cement.

Release the running string from the wellhead by rotation and pull back to surface.

Place the drilling BOP across the spider beams over the moon pool. Make up the hydraulic umbilicals and check all the functions.

Run the BOP on marine riser. Lock BOP connector onto 18 ¾ inch wellhead. Rig up diverter with choke and kill lines.

Make up the isolation test tool onto drill pipe string. Run into the wellhead. Test the BOP stack then retrieve the test tool.

Drill the hole for the 13-3/8 inch casing. Pull back the string and make it up to the bore protector retrieval tool. Run in and retrieve the bore protector.

Run in the 13-3/8 inch casing string with attached cementing equipment.

Make up the 13-3/8 inch casing hanger and the pack off to the single trip tool and make this assembly up to the casing string, run in the hole with the drill string and casing.

Land the hanger into the 18 ¾ inch wellhead. Slack off the weight and cement the string into place. Activate the pack off setting mode of the tool

Slack off the string weight and close the BOP pipe rams.

Build up pressure above the tool to set and test the pack off. Open the pipe rams, release the tool from the pack off and then pull it back to the surface.

Run in the 13-3/8 inch bore protector on the bore protector running tool. Land and lock into the wellhead. Release the tool and pull back to the surface.

Repeat the above steps to run the next casing strings.

Start next functions for well – (e.g. Temporary abandonment, permanent abandonment, completion, etc.).

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2.3

Subsea Christmas Trees

2.3.1

Functions of Subsea Trees

A subsea Christmas tree is basically a stack of valves installed on a subsea wellhead to provide a controllable interface between the well and the production facilities. Some specific functions of a subsea Christmas tree include the following:

Sealing the wellhead from the environment by means of the tree connector.

Sealing the production bore and annulus from the environment.

Providing a controlled flow path from the production tubing, through the tree to the production flow line. Well flow control can be provided by means of tree valves and/or a tree-mounted choke.

Providing access to the well bore via tree caps and/or swab valves.

Providing access to the annulus for well control, pressure monitoring, gas lift, etc.

Providing a hydraulic interface for the down hole safety valve.

Providing an electrical interface for down hole instrumentation, electric submersible pumps, etc.

Providing structural support for flow line and control umbilical interface.

support for flow line and control umbilical interface. Figure 2.17 - Schematic Representations of Different Tree

Figure 2.17 - Schematic Representations of Different Tree Types

Figure 2.17 - Schematic Representations of Different Tree Types Tree Tubing Head Spool Tubing Hanger Subsea

Tree

Figure 2.17 - Schematic Representations of Different Tree Types Tree Tubing Head Spool Tubing Hanger Subsea

Tubing Head Spool

Figure 2.17 - Schematic Representations of Different Tree Types Tree Tubing Head Spool Tubing Hanger Subsea

Tubing Hanger

Figure 2.17 - Schematic Representations of Different Tree Types Tree Tubing Head Spool Tubing Hanger Subsea

Subsea Wellhead

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2.3.2

Types of Subsea Trees

2.3.2.1

Dual Bore Tree or Conventional Tree

Until recently, most subsea trees were so-called “dual bore” type trees. A typical dual bore tree is illustrated in Figure 2-18. These trees have a production and annulus bore passing vertically through the tree body with production and annulus master valves and swab valves oriented vertically in the main block of the tree. They are designed to allow vertical access to the main production bore and to the annulus bore during installation and workover operations. When a dual bore subsea Christmas tree is connected to a subsea wellhead it must interface with the tubing hanger previously installed in the wellhead. The tubing hanger and tree must

installed in the wellhead. The tubing hanger and tree must Figure 2.18 - Example of a

Figure 2.18 - Example of a Compact Dual Bore Tree

be correctly orientated so they mate properly with one another and the production and annulus bores are properly aligned and sealed. Alignment of the tubing hanger in the wellhead is generally accomplished by interaction of a pin and helix between the tubing hanger running tool and the BOP or a pre-machined vertical orientation slot in the BOP connector upper body. The reaction between the pin and the helix causes the tubing hanger assembly to rotate into the correct position. Alternatively, the tubing hanger is rotated until the alignment slot lines up with a spring-loaded alignment key on the running tool. The tree is subsequently aligned by the permanent guidebase.

2.3.2.2 Mono Bore Tree

A typical mono bore tree is similar to a conventional dual bore tree but differs in that it utilizes

a simpler riser system to install the tree and tubing hanger. Additionally simpler styles of

mono bore tree exist which are generally used on mud line completions in shallow water. When producing a well, the annulus between the production tubing and the well casing must be accessible to relieve thermally induced pressure build up. In order to accomplish this, tubing hanger and tree systems must enable access to the annulus under the tubing hanger. Both conventional and mono-bore trees (except the basic mudline style trees) utilize a port

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through the tubing hanger. This port, as well as the production bore, must be closed before removing the BOP or the subsea tree.

On a conventional style tree, the annulus port is typically sealed with a wire line plug run and retrieved through a multi-bore completion riser or a riser with a diverter mechanism. This riser is generally expensive and dedicated to the tree system. Refer to descriptions of riser systems elsewhere in this document for detailed descriptions.

In the mono bore tree system the tubing hanger is run on drill pipe or tubing and the annulus is accessed through a hose bundle. Opening and closing of the annulus is accomplished by means of a “shiftable” plug or valve in the annulus bore. The disadvantage to this, as compared to the dual bore system, is the requirement for moving parts within the tubing hanger that must be left subsea for the life of the completion. Some designs incorporate a second plug or valve, ported in series with the primary plug, which can be actuated as a backup to close the annulus if more redundancy is desired.

The mono bore tree obviates the need for a true vertical annulus bore through the tree.

the need for a true vertical annulus bore through the tree. Figure 2.19 - Deepwater Guidelineless

Figure 2.19 - Deepwater Guidelineless Horizontal Tree

tree. Figure 2.19 - Deepwater Guidelineless Horizontal Tree Figure 2.20 - Monobore Tree 2.3.2.3 Horizontal Tree

Figure 2.20 - Monobore Tree

2.3.2.3 Horizontal Tree

Another type of subsea Christmas tree that has gained popularity since its introduction in 1992 is the “horizontal” tree. A typical horizontal subsea trees are illustrated in Figures 2-19 and 2-21. Its most obvious distinction from the dual bore tree is that the production and annulus bores branch horizontally out of the side of the tree body and the valves are oriented on a horizontal axis. The horizontal tree has no production or annulus swab valves. Access to the well bore is gained by removing the internal tree cap, or a wireline plug within the internal tree cap, and a wireline plug in the tubing hanger. The horizontal subsea Christmas tree is sometimes referred to as a “side valve tree” or SpoolTree™. Other distinguishing features of the horizontal tree, in addition to the valve arrangement from which it gets its

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name, are: 1) the tubing hanger is installed in the tree itself, rather than in the wellhead and 2) the top of the tree is designed so the BOP may be landed onto the tree. This arrangement allows the tubing string to be recovered without first retrieving the tree.

Horizontal Tree technology was conceived and developed to run and retrieve well bore tubing through an installed tree providing a simple and efficient work-over capability. Originally, this type of technology seemed ideally suited for Electric Submersible Pump (ESP) applications, where frequent pump maintenance or replacement may be required. Well interventions were most commonly caused by the need to repair downhole problems as opposed to subsea tree equipment problems. The concept was extended to include standard production and injection wells in the belief that horizontal technology offered much greater benefit over conventional technology, at least in some applications.

The benefits and drawbacks of both horizontal and conventional tree technologies have been the subject of many debates for several years. The newer horizontal tree technology has been shown to have significant merit in order to have acquired at least 50 % of the market in less than six years. It is probable that both completion technologies will have a vital part to play in future oil and gas developments and the possibility of a winner for all applications is unlikely.

possibility of a winner for all applications is unlikely. Figure 2.21 - Horizontal Trees Rev. 0

Figure 2.21 - Horizontal Trees

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2.3.2.4 ADVANTAGES of Horizontal Trees

Tubing recovery is simplified. The ability to perform tubing work-over and some drill- through operations without the need to recover the subsea tree and disturb the associated production flowline/controls connection is beneficial. This is particularly attractive for wells with planned or scheduled tubing work-over intervention or complex down-hole completions with the higher probabilities for down-hole failures requiring rig intervention.

The spool tree is suitable for tubing up to 7” OD whereas the dual bore tree is limited to 5-1/2” OD. The larger bore can also accommodate a larger number of down-hole hydraulic control lines, chemical lines and electrical transducer penetrations with the capability to provide full bore annulus circulation or injection.

The large bores possible with this system are consistent with the usual objective to reduce the number of wells. However, reliability may be compromised by a more complex completion.

The ability to use standard, drilling BOP stacks for installation and work-over. All the completion operations except for running the subsea tree and debris cap are performed through the drilling BOP stack. This eliminates the need for a dedicated open water completion riser system.

All completion work is carried out through or within the protection of a BOP stack.

The ability to use single string tubing or casing as an installation and completion riser allows a cheaper riser to be configured than a conventional dual bore riser. The BOP stack’s choke and kill lines are used to circulate the annulus or riser fluids prior to disconnection and recovery of the riser system. The production tubing annulus access bypasses the tubing hanger and uses metal sealing valves for annulus isolation. This provides maximum space through the tubing hanger body for big bore completions.

Subsea tree installation or recovery is greatly simplified by using drill pipe instead of a dedicated riser system.

The Subsea Tree provides an integral and precise, passive tubing hanger orientation system with no requirement for BOP modifications, interaction or datum’s.

Subsea tree provides new, exact and retrievable tubing hanger landing, locking, orientation and sealing profiles, not dependent on the condition of wellhead internal profiles. A damaged hanger sealing profile in the wellhead, is not significant to a Horizontal Tree. The same benefit with a conventional tree system requires expensive additional tubing hanger adapter or tubing spool equipment.

The tubing hanger-to-subsea tree interface is tested and verified at the time of landing the tubing hanger in the tree while the BOP stack is still in place. Should problems arise, this offers the possibility for recovering the tubing hanger and taking immediate remedial action without tripping the stack. A conventional tree-to-wellhead/tubing hanger interface cannot be verified until after the BOP stack has been recovered and the tree installed. A failure to interface properly can have serious time/cost implications, especially if the tubing hanger is damaged or not in the correct orientation when the tree lands.

Subsea tree single-piece spool body construction provides the maximum tree spool strength characteristics and reliability with minimum failure modes. These are considered to be stronger than conventional trees.

Successful subsea tree installation is not dependent on the full integrity of the wellhead internal sealing profiles. There are greater probabilities for successful installation on existing and perhaps old exploratory wellheads of uncertain integrity. The tree readily adapts to different wellheads from different vendors.

Horizontal trees are compact, have a low profile and an excellent strength-to-weight ratio.

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Subsea component ‘building blocks’ can be arranged into many different tree layouts. This has given considerable flexibility to horizontal tree configuration and improved the opportunity of mass produced tree equipment by allowing the flexibility to manufacturers. Tree internals can be standardized while external characteristics can be varied or moved to suit the application.

A Horizontal subsea tree design, using guidelines, can be readily converted to a guideline-less and funnel-down, wellhead re-entry system. This is achieved by adding a bolt-on funnel to the bottom of the tree. A funnel-down, BOP stack, wellhead re- entry system can be used for guideline-less re-entry to a Horizontal Tree with little or no change to the standard guideline subsea tree. This will provide the lightest possible guideline-less subsea tree weight.

the lightest possible guideline-less subsea tree weight . Figure 2.22 - Dual Bore Tree Stacked on

Figure 2.22 - Dual Bore Tree Stacked on Top of Tubing Adapter on Shop Floor

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2.3.2.5 DISADVANTAGES of Horizontal Trees

The tubing must be pulled first before retrieving the tree. Horizontal Tree recovery requires that the down-hole completion is recovered first, with the associated well killing operations through the BOP stack. Rationalization of this disadvantage is based on intervention data, that suggests that subsea tree failures, requiring the tree to be recovered, are a low percentage of all major failures requiring intervention. By far, the

of all major failures requiring intervention. By far, the Figure 2.23 - Dual Bore Split (Upper

Figure 2.23 - Dual Bore Split (Upper and Lower) Body Tree

greatest percentage of failures, relate to the failure of down-hole equipment, such as safety valves, gravel packs, etc. This suggests that intervention savings are actually likely to be accrued due to the use of Horizontal Tree technology, as down-hole work- over frequency is much greater than the probability of tree recovery.

A drill-and-complete scenario for Horizontal Trees currently requires two BOP trips. (Run the BOP stack; drill well; recover BOP stack; run tree; re-run BOP stack; finish complete; recover BOP stack).

A Horizontal Tree does not include master and/or swab valves in the vertical bore of the tree to provide first-line barrier protection to the environment. It relies on a wireline plug to provide the first line barrier protection. Care must be taken to ensure that the critical wireline plug sealing surfaces in the tubing hanger and tree cap are not damaged during wireline operations.

The subsea tree must be designed to withstand the loadings associated with a deepwater BOP stack and riser system.

The bore of the subsea tree may be exposed to a very harsh drilling riser environment requiring special provisions for bore protection and bore cleaning in order to ensure successful tubing hanger installation and valve reliability.

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Tubing hanger installation requires the use of a sophisticated BOP subsea intervention tree and landing string system in order to provide for safe flow testing, wireline and coil tubing intervention and emergency disconnect scenarios. This adds complexity and time to the tubing hanger and down-hole completion, installation process. The Tubing hanger installation requires simultaneous control of the tubing hanger running tool, Subsea Intervention Tree and landing string system, BOP and subsea tree’s work-over functions. This involves up to four umbilicals and their control panels.

involves up to four umbilicals and their control panels. Figure 2.24 - Dual Bore Tree Being

Figure 2.24 - Dual Bore Tree Being Deployed

The tubing hanger hydraulic and electrical penetrations exit through the side of the

Control of hydraulic functions and monitoring of electrical

functions is typically not provided although available, during installation of the tubing hanger system.

The side outlet penetrations for control and electrical functions are additional leak paths in the primary tree bore during drilling and completion operations

ROV’s must be used to connect/disconnect work-over controls between the BOP and Subsea Tree.

A landing string leak or failure during well test or well clean up can divert hydrocarbons to the rig floor, burst the marine riser, or evacuate the marine riser allowing it to collapse under hydrostatic pressure.

subsea tree’s spool body.

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2.3.2.6 ADVANTAGES of Conventional Dual And Mono Bore Trees

Only one BOP trip is required in a drill-and-complete scenario. In addition, no temporary well abandonment plug is required between the BOP stack recovery and the tree installation as the tubing hanger serves that purpose.

The subsea tree can be recovered without having to recover the tubing hanger and down-hole completion because the tubing hanger lands in the wellhead and not in the subsea tree.

hanger lands in the wellhead and not in the subsea tree. Figure 2.25 - Dual Bore

Figure 2.25 - Dual Bore Guidelineless Tree on Test Stand

The subsea tree is not required to withstand high loads associated with a Drilling BOP stack.

Work-Over control connections are normally made between stab rings mounted on the tree mandrel and the LRP connector. No ROV is required.

2.3.2.7 DISADVANTAGES of Conventional Dual And Mono Bore Trees

The wellhead bore sets the tubing hanger outside diameter, leaving only a limited area for downhole access. This restricts the largest possible production bore size when including all the other down-hole penetrations required. Particularly the annulus bore that provides a circulation path that can also be sealed with a wireline plug. The 2” annulus bore is selected for the minimum reliable wireline plug size and exceeds the flow requirements. The available space is even more severely limited when considering a concentric tubing hanger design or for the need for annulus injection or gas lift capabilities.

If deepwater wells tend toward intelligent completions and/or simultaneous production from different reservoirs, conventional tree technology is inherently limited by the restricted space inside a wellhead. An alternative would be to use the hybrid tree, which lands a conventional tree on top of a horizontal tree, for these applications.

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The subsea tree must be recovered in order to perform a tubing work-over. This disturbs the production flowline and umbilical connections. This creates new opportunities for damage to other hardware that is not easily recovered.

Figure 2.26 - Horizontal Tree With Trawl Protector Frame
Figure 2.26 - Horizontal Tree With Trawl Protector
Frame

A Monobore riser with a selector crossover mechanism at its base, in order to provide wireline access to the annulus can be unreliable.

The subsea tree is typically installed on the dedicated work-over riser and wireline BOP intervention system in order to provide for flow testing, wireline and coil tubing operations, and emergency disconnect. This adds complexity and time to the installation process. This is the same as running the horizontal tree's tubing hanger on the subsea intervention tree and associated landing string system.

The integrity of the wellhead interface is an issue. Damaged seal surfaces in the wellhead are not readily replaced and require an expensive tubing hanger adapter.

No industry standard interface exists and the formalities of exchanging design information with a competitor and taking responsibility for its performance can be difficult.

The tubing hanger’s orientation system is very complex with very significant orientation tolerances in the system. It relies on accurate setup and active interaction with the BOP stack. The interface between the tubing hanger and the subsea tree cannot be tested until the BOP stack has been recovered and the tree installed.

A leak or failure of the riser system during well test or clean up will produce hydrocarbons to the environment. If the failure occurs near the surface safety issues arise.

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2.3.2.8 Other Types of Trees

There are other specialized variations of subsea trees as well. These include TFL trees designed for use with special “through flowline” (TFL) workover equipment; “Single-Bore™” or “mono-bore” trees with a vertical production bore and a side valve for annulus access; “through-bore” trees with the tubing hanger in the tree body and “concentric” trees, used with a concentric tubing hanger and not requiring orientation between the tree and tubing hanger.

2.3.3 Components of a Typical Subsea Tree

The subsea Christmas tree is a complex engineered system of components. There are several different types of trees as explained below, and the tree configurations available even within a given type of tree (e.g. horizontal tree, or dual bore tree) vary widely from project to project. A subsea Christmas tree will typically consist of the following components:

A tree connector to attach the tree to the subsea wellhead.

The tree body, a heavy forging with production flow paths, designed for pressure containment. Annulus flow paths may also be included in the tree body.

Tree valves for the production bore, the annulus, and ancillary functions. The tree valves may be integral with the tree body or bolted on.

Valve actuators for remotely opening and closing the valves. Some valves may be manual and will include ROV interfaces for deep water.

Control junction plates for umbilical control hook up.

Control system. This includes the valve actuator command system and includes pressure and temperature transducers. The valve actuator command system can be simple tubing or a complex system including a computer and electrical solenoids depending on the application

Choke (optional) for regulating the production flow rate.

Tree piping for conducting production fluids, crossover between the production bore and the annulus, chemical injection, hydraulic controls, etc.

Tree guide frame for supporting the tree piping and ancillary equipment and for providing guidance for installation and intervention.

External tree cap for protecting the upper tree connector and the tree itself. Tree cap often incorporates dropped object protection or fishing trawl protection.

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TotalFinaElf DEEPWATER REFERENCE BOOK Figure 2.27 - Typical Fail Closed Subsea Actuator (Valve Not Shown) Figure

Figure 2.27 - Typical Fail Closed Subsea Actuator (Valve Not Shown)

2.27 - Typical Fail Closed Subsea Actuator (Valve Not Shown) Figure 2.28 - Typical Valve Actuator

Figure 2.28 - Typical Valve Actuator With Rotary ROV Override

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TotalFinaElf DEEPWATER REFERENCE BOOK Figure 2.29 - Horizontal Tree Tubing Hanger 2.3.4 Pressure and Structural
TotalFinaElf DEEPWATER REFERENCE BOOK Figure 2.29 - Horizontal Tree Tubing Hanger 2.3.4 Pressure and Structural

Figure 2.29 - Horizontal Tree Tubing Hanger

2.3.4

Pressure and Structural Design Considerations of Subsea Trees

2.3.4.1

Pressure Design

Pressure containing components of subsea trees are to be designed and tested in accordance with API 17D and API 6A for pressure ratings of 5000, 10000 and 15000 psi for most applications. The tree piping is normally designed in accordance with ASME B31.3. The guidelines in the API specifications are general and in many case open to interpretation. It is up to the manufacturer to apply his engineering judgement.

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The sources of pressure in a subsea tree include the following:

Production fluids.

Hydraulic fluid. The hydraulic fluid pressure to the SCSSV may exceed the tree pressure rating. Effects of primary seal failures should be considered.

Chemical injection fluids. Seal failures can result in migration of fluids

Thermal expansion of fluids in closed cavities.

Annulus pressure.

It should be assumed that pressure will accumulate in the well

annulus.

External hydrostatic pressure.

Test pressure. Seal verification pipeline

Hydraulic lock.

When mating parts are engaged, fluids may become trapped in the

enclosed cavity and impede the engagement of the parts or cause damage to some component.

Seals The rules of the ASME pressure vessel code apply for the design of pressure containing shells. Seal design, however, is largely beyond the scope of the pressure vessel code, and a great variety of proprietary manufacturer’s designs exist. While the pressure design of the tree body, tree valves and piping is fairly straightforward, the interfaces between the various tree components require careful consideration or unexpected pressure effects may not be discovered until too late. It should be assumed that all seals are subject to failure, and at least one redundant or secondary seal shall be provided for every primary seal.

The following are some of the seal interfaces to consider:

Sealing between the production bore and the annulus bore.

Tubing hanger to tree interface.

Tubing hanger to wellhead interface.

Tree connector to tree body interface.

Valve blocks to tree body interface.

Valve seats, stems, gates, and bonnets.

Flowline and valve flanges.

Running tool interfaces.

Riser interfaces

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TotalFinaElf DEEPWATER REFERENCE BOOK Figure 2.30 - Examples of Tree Cap Running Tools Rev. 0 SUBSEA
TotalFinaElf DEEPWATER REFERENCE BOOK Figure 2.30 - Examples of Tree Cap Running Tools Rev. 0 SUBSEA

Figure 2.30 - Examples of Tree Cap Running Tools

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Seal Materials:

Metal to metal seals. These employ a soft metal seal ring such as a stainless steel. The sealing seating surface is a harder material. Seal surfaces are usually overlaid with a non-corrosive material such as a high nickel alloy (Inconel). Metal seals come in a variety of forms including gaskets, rings, wedges and other geometric configurations.

Elastomer energized metal seals. These are composite metal and elastomer seals designed such that, the elastomer allows applied pressure to energize the metal seals, or confined elastomer compression squeeze energizes the metal seal during the setting procedure. Even with degradation of the elastomer, the metal component maintains the seal. Some designs include provision for potentially the opposite to occur in which the elastomer provides a back up seal for metal seals that may be damaged during setting or through use – for example fretting if movement occurs with temperature or pressure cycling.

The temperature rating and fluid compatibility of the elastomer is

Elastomer seals. very important.

2.3.4.2 Quality Control and Testing

Rigorous quality control and testing procedures are necessary to assure pressure integrity and correct fit and function of the components. Quality control, non destructive examination and testing requirements are laid out in detail in API specifications. There are four levels of quality assurance defined in API 6A, called Product Specification Levels. Product Specification Levels dictate the degree of inspection, testing and certification required for the primary pressure containing components.

The following table summarizes PSL-2 to PSL-4. It should be kept in mind that API-6A was developed for surface wellhead equipment. PSL-1 is not usually considered applicable to subsea trees, and the applicability of the other Product Specification Levels is subject to interpretation. Subsea equipment will generally fall into the PSL-3 category and manufacturers often offer PSL-3 for only nominally higher cost than PSL-2 because they have standardized on materials and procedures that comply with PSL-3.

 

API Product Specification Levels

 

PSL

API Pressure Rating

High

Close

Level

5000

10,000

15,000

H2S

Proximity

PSL-2

X

   

X

 

PSL-2

X

     

X

PSL-2

 

X

     

PSL-3

 

X

   

X

PSL-3

X

   

X

X

PSL-3

   

X

   

PSL-4

 

X

 

X

X

PSL-4

   

X

X

 

PSL-4

   

X

 

X

Manufacturers of equipment almost always try to adhere to API specifications, but the customer should specify requirements when purchasing. All factory acceptance testing procedures will be generated by the manufacturer and should be reviewed by the customer to ensure that specific field requirements will be met by the equipment. System integration testing is another process that verifies that the equipment is suitable for use. These procedures are normally very project specific and relate to various equipment interfaces within the project. Refer to the section on testing.

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Most manufacturers maintain a quality assurance system within their manufacturing and testing facilities to monitor and identify problems as early as possible in order that rectifying actions can take place as early as possible to prevent schedule delay. The method that most companies employ is for a report, often call a non-conformance report or NCR, to be generated. This report is created so that experienced engineers and/or customer representatives can review and decide on what course of action to take to assist the project meet schedule and quality goals. These quality systems are normally in compliance with ISO 9000 series specifications or API Q1 specification.

Manufacturing records of the material certificates, pressure tests and charts, non- conformance records, weld maps, nondestructive testing reports, x-rays, dimensional logs and other critical information such as test reports are collected, maintained, and published by the quality assurance group in the manufacturing companies. These records or parts of these records are required by regulation in many parts of the world in order to be able to deploy and use the subsea equipment.

2.3.4.3 Structural Design

The tree connector, tree body, tree guide frame and tree piping must be designed to withstand internal and external structural loads imposed during installation and operation. The following are some tree and tree component load considerations:

Riser and BOP loads.

Flowline connection loads.

Snagged tree frame, umbilicals or flowlines.

Thermal stresses – trapped fluids, component expansion, pipeline growth.

Lifting loads.

Dropped objects.

Pressure induced loads – external and internal.

Non-pressure containing structural components should be designed in accordance with AWS

D1.1.

Tree framework is usually designed around standard API post centres. This is typically, but not always true, even if the tree is designed to be guidelineless. API defines the position of four guideposts evenly spaced around the well centerline at a six foot radius. This equates to 101.82 inches between the posts on any side of the square corners that they form.

2.3.5 Subsea Tree Installation and Well Intervention Considerations

2.3.5.1 Running Sequence

The following is a summary of the sequence of operations for installing a subsea tree onto a predrilled well:

Move the rig onto location.

Launch ROV to locate the wellhead.

Establish final position over wellhead with the aid of the ROV and drill string reference positioning system.

If a guideline system is being deployed, re-establish guidelines.

Retrieve the corrosion cap from the wellhead. Check the condition of wellhead sealing surface with the ROV and flush if necessary.

Verify that a wellhead wear bushing is not in place. If it is, it will need to be retrieved. This is normally done through the BOP stack after it is run. For a horizontal tree, it

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may be retrieved in open water to avoid having to trip the BOP stack for just the wear bushing retrieval. This exposes the wellhead gasket sealing area to potential risk of damage. Extra precautions may be taken to avoid this such as an extended rubber tipped bull nose being run below the retrieval tool, or other means or guidance such as a guide frame.

Depending on the system design, a completion guide base or tubing hanger adapter spool may be deployed next. If not, the tree in a horizontal tree system will be deployed and then the BOP stack. Alternatively for a conventional system, the BOP stack will be run before the tree.

Horizontal Tree – An elevation check tool may be optionally run to confirm the height of the last casing hanger in the wellhead with the same precautions mentioned above. The Horizontal Subsea Tree is then run on drill pipe with the tree running tool and land on the wellhead. The operation should be monitored by ROV. The umbilical should be strapped to the drill pipe as the tree is being run. The tree is then locked onto the wellhead and the gasket tested. The ROV then disconnects the work over umbilical junction plate and parks it above the tree running tool. The tree running tool and umbilical is then retrieved. The BOP and marine riser is then run and latched onto Subsea tree. The BOP can then be tested by running the isolation test tool which is then retrieved. Completion work is then carried out and the tubing hanger run after the bore protector has been retrieved. The tubing hanger is run with the landing string and usually subsea test tree – refer to the section on work over risers. The well typically flows through the landing string for well clean up and well test purposes. A crown plug is set in the tubing hanger after the well test or clean up is finished. An internal tree cap is then set and the BOP stack retrieved. A debris cap is then run onto the tree.

Conventional Dual Bore Tree – The BOP stack is run onto the wellhead before any completion work commences. An elevation check tool may be optionally run to confirm the height of the last casing hanger in the wellhead through the BOP. Completion work is then carried out and the tubing hanger run after the bore protector has be retrieved. The tubing hanger is run and oriented with the installation and work over riser configured for the tubing hanger running tool – refer to the section on work over risers. Plugs are then set in the tubing hanger and the installation riser and BOP stack are retrieved. The tree is then run on the installation and work over riser configured for the tree running tool and lower marine riser package. The plugs in the tubing hanger are then retrieved and the well tested or cleaned up through the installation and work over riser. The riser is then retrieved and a debris cap run onto the tree.

The guidelines are then cut or released usually by ROV.

The rig then pulls anchors and departs.

All of the above operations must be carefully planned before mobilizing offshore in order to avoid costly errors. In addition to all the logistical issues to be addressed, a part of the pre- planning should include consideration of weather limitations for the various operations and contingency plans for abandoning or suspending operations in case of bad weather.

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2.3.5.2 Tree Running Tools

Subsea tree and other equipment deployment requires a suite of dedicated purpose designed running tools for the tree and tubing hanger. These are typically hydraulically actuated if they can not be weight or tension activated. In deeper water, torque gets difficult to transmit and control to the subsea equipment because of the flexibility in the pipe being used to transmit it. In addition the pipe can have a tendency to curl if torque resistance is offered by the subsea tool. It is difficult to count the number of turns that the subsea tool receives because the observed number of turns at the surface may be different to the number of turns at the seabed. Visual indication of the function of the tool can thereby be confusing or lost leading to problems and often damage if test pressures or over pulls are applied with a tool incorrectly functioned.

Hydraulic tools can have hydraulic signals built into their design to confirm the correct function of the tool. Hydraulic signals can generally be assumed to reach the tool function if no pressure loss occurs which would otherwise indicate a leak. Hydraulic tools must be designed with a means of secondary override or fail safe to prevent problems in the event that the hydraulic system or umbilical fails while the tool is subsea. It would be undesirable to have a tool latched into a wellhead or tree with failed hydraulics so that it is stuck in place.

or tree with failed hydraulics so that it is stuck in place. Figure 2.31 - Typical

Figure 2.31 - Typical Tree Running Tool for Mechanical Connector

(Hydraulics Are In the Tool)

2.3.5.3 Reentry

Installation and workover systems are discussed in a separate section. It also describes various options for umbilical connection

In either design the tubing may be reentered with the tree in place. The reentry mandrel profile is a profile that is provided on the top of the tree. It is designed to provide a mechanical connection and pressure containment for the mating connector on the “Installation and Workover” riser system, or the subsea BOP in the case of a horizontal tree.

Recovery of the downhole tubing is another issue. With all conventional dual bore tree designs, the tree must be retrieved before pulling tubing. With horizontal trees, the tubing may be retrieved without pulling the tree.

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2.3.6 Subsea Tree Materials, Corrosion and Erosion Design

Considering the high cost for intervention, material selection becomes more critical for deep- water applications. Investment in the right materials will prevent or mitigate the likelihood of equipment failure due to the effects of corrosion.

2.3.6.1 Corrosive Agents

Hydrogen Sulfide Hydrogen sulfide in even low concentrations can induce cracking in wrought materials, wherein nascent hydrogen ions produced by other corrosion activity at the metal surface do not recombine to gaseous hydrogen due to the action of sulfide ions. The H+ ions migrate through the metal recombining to H2 at discontinuities, creating very high pressures and causing the metal to crack.

Another failure mechanism induced by hydrogen sulfide at higher levels is sulfide stress corrosion cracking. Sulfide stress corrosion failures tend to be catastrophic in nature because the effects are more pronounced on more highly stressed areas. The failures commonly occur in the heat-affected zone adjacent to welds.

The measure of H2S concentration level is partial pressure. Low concentrations at high pressure are equivalent to higher concentrations at lower pressure. The effects are further influenced by temperature, but generalities do not apply well. For some materials the susceptibility to stress corrosion cracking decreases with increasing temperature. For others it may increase to a point and then decline. The presence of other corrosive agents such as chlorides may also have an effect on this behavior. Extensive testing of metal alloys by the National Association of Corrosion Engineers (NACE) has demonstrated that by controlling material hardness and microstructure the effects of stress corrosion can be mitigated. Guidelines are published in NACE MR - 01- 75. The European Federation of Corrosion, Oil and Gas Working Parties have also issued guidelines for H2S service for both plain steels and corrosion resistant alloys (CRAs). These present more detailed guidelines than the NACE document and are complementary to it.

Carbon Dioxide Carbon dioxide in the presence of water forms carbonic acid which corrodes low alloy steels. The principle indicators to watch for are partial pressure and temperature, with corrosion rates increasing with the increase of either the temperature or the partial pressure. Above 60°C a protective deposit of iron carbonate is formed on the surface of low alloy steels that inhibits the corrosive effects of CO2. Any areas not so protected, due to a feature of operation that prevents the formation of this carbonate product or disrupts it, will continue to experience high corrosion rates. Much work in the field of CO2 corrosion has been conducted by DeWaard and Milliams [Simom-Thomas MJJ, DeWaard C, SmithLA: “Controlling Factors in the Rate of CO2 Corrosion.” UK Corrosion 1987].

Chloride Ions

Chloride ions, present in the formation water of the reservoir, can cause cracking and pitting in certain materials. The cracking mechanism is chloride stress corrosion cracking, in stressed areas above 50°C. This corrosion mechanism is largely independent of pressure. Austenitic stainless steels, such as type 316, are susceptible. Low alloy steels and martensitic stainless steels (F6NM) are less susceptible to chloride induced stress corrosion cracking, but suffer from pitting corrosion.

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2.3.6.2 Erosion

Erosion is a physical process, whereas corrosion is usually a chemical process. Apart from the direct loss of material from erosion effects, erosion often accelerates the rate of corrosion by preventing the formation of protective films or scale and exposing new metal to the corrosive environment.

The worst erosion agent is sand in the produced fluids. It is impractical to design against high levels of sand production so sand control and monitoring is critical.

There are several design features that can mitigate erosion effects.

Large flow passages to reduce velocity.

Long radius piping bends.

“Cushion” tees.

Overlay with harder and/or more corrosion resistant materials in susceptible areas.

Extra material thickness in susceptible areas.

There is instrumentation available to monitor sand production and material loss. New technology is constantly under development. The first defense is prevention of sand production through careful design and deployment of well completions. If that fails the monitors may detect the problem before it becomes catastrophic.

2.3.6.3 Crevice Attack and Pitting

Crevice attack and pitting are very common forms of corrosion in seawater.

Pitting is caused by local concentration cells set up by differences in oxygen concentration, temperature, or fluid velocity. It is more prevalent under relatively stagnant conditions. Surface features or metallurgical factors, such as inclusions, breaks in the protective film, surface defects, etc. may help initiate pitting.

Crevice corrosion occurs around gaskets, washers, fasteners, foreign matter, etc. that provide crevices that can become oxygen deprived. Crevice effects may be enhanced by simultaneous galvanic action. Elastomers containing sulfur or graphite are especially damaging to stainless steels.

2.3.6.4 Low Alloy Steels

Where suitable, low alloy steels are desireable because they are inexpensive, easy to weld and readily available. The low alloy steels are carbon-manganese grades, in accordance with API or ASTM standards (e.g. AISI 4130 & 8630). Low alloy steels, however, are limited in their usefulness in corrosive service.

For CO2 corrosion it is generally accepted that when the CO2 partial pressure is above 0.5 bar significant corrosion may occur in low alloy steels and their use is not recommended. Low alloy steels may be used in CO2 service if the wetted areas are clad with a protective overlay of corrosion resistant material such as Inconel or stainless steel.

H2S induced stress corrosion cracking is a concern with low alloy steels where H2S partial pressure is above the allowable level. It can be mitigated, however, by controlling the material grain structure and hardness.

2.3.6.5 Martensitic Stainless Steels

Martensitic grades of stainless steel (ASTM A182: F6NM, AISI 410) offer good resistance to

both carbon dioxide and hydrogen sulfide. They have low resistance, however, to pitting corrosion due to chlorides, especially at higher temperatures. Extended exposure to high chloride environments may result in severe localized pitting, particularly where natural crevices exist.

These steels are available in high strengths and are widely used in down hole and wellhead applications.

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2.3.6.6 Austenitic Stainless Steels

Austenitic stainless steels (e.g. AISI 316 L) have excellent corrosion resistance up to 50 bar partial pressure of CO2. However, chloride stress corrosion resistance is limited to operating temperatures up to 50°C. They can be susceptible to crevice corrosion. Austenitic stainless steel is immune to sulfide stress corrosion cracking up to 0.5 bar partial pressure of H2S at temperatures up to 60°C.

The low yield strength of austenitic stainless steels renders them unsuitable for structural components but they are extensively used for fittings and connectors. They are particularly suited for gasket materials where their low yield ensures that they deform preferentially to the ring groove and deform readily into any surface irregularities.

2.3.6.7 Duplex Stainless Steels

Duplex stainless steels are high alloy steels comprised of both austenitic and ferritic phases. The two most commonly specified grades of duplex stainless steels are UNS 31803 (with 22% Cr and 5% Ni), and UNS 32750 (25% Cr, 7% Ni). The 25%CR material is sometimes referred to as “super duplex” or high performance duplex.

Duplex stainless steels offer better resistance to CO2 and chlorides than the austenitic (316L) stainless steels and have higher mechanical strength.

Duplex stainless steels are frequently used for piping and downhole tubing. It is not used for large forgings because of the expense and because of reduced mechanical strength near the center of thick forged sections.

2.3.6.8 High Nickel Alloys

The high nickel alloys containing 25% to 65% Ni are the most resistant to both CO2 and H2S corrosion. No limits are given for CO2 corrosion, whereas H2S corrosion is a function of the nickel content. Inconel alloys UNS N08825 and UNS N06625 are the most widely used high nickel alloys in the oil industry. They are usually more expensive than the duplex stainless steel alloys.

High nickel alloys are used in both solid forgings and as weld cladding on less expensive low alloy steel substrate. Overlaying the exposed surface with a high nickel alloy can mitigate crevice corrosion effects. This is the case with ring gasket seal areas. It is important that the alloys used for the overlay have hardness greater than the gasket seal material to minimize the risk of locally yielding the ring groove.

2.3.6.9 Coatings and Cathodic Protection

It is normal to use sacrificial aluminum anodes to protect the steel components of subsea trees, templates, manifolds and pipelines from seawater corrosion. The anodes are usually used in conjunction with a high quality epoxy coating system applied to the low alloy steel components. Stainless steel components are typically left bare. The anodes afford the Austenitic stainless steels some protection against pitting and crevice corrosion as well.

The coating helps to minimize the rate of consumption of the anodes, allowing for fewer anodes and extending their life. The anodes must be designed for the life of the equipment and must allow for degradation of the coating. Replacement of anodes is not an option, or a very expensive one.

The coating system commonly consists of an epoxy primer applied over a surface that has been prepared by cleaning and grit blasting to “white metal”, followed by the application of two coats of high build polyamide epoxy.

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2.3.7 Tree Mounted Controls and Instrumentation

Tree mounted controls are dependent on operational, functional, and interface to the subsea system requirements. Typical tree mounted equipment includes the Subsea Control Module (SCM or pod) with mounting base and funnel, pressure and temperature sensors, choke position indicator, sand detectors, erosion detectors, downhole gauge interface, junction plates, and parking positions for both hydraulic and electrical jumpers. The SCM is responsible for gathering all instrumentation data on the tree, including sensor readings from all tree mounted gauges as well as downhole gauge readings and sending that information to the topside control system for action and interpretation. The SCM also filters the hydraulic fluid supply and then, when directed, to actuate an appropriate solenoid valve to actuate a valve on the tree. The SCM can also record the “signature” of the valve by monitoring the outlet pressure on that line. The signature is compared automatically on the surface to the normal signature of the actuator to verify its function and proper position.

Junction plates are mounted on the tree to provide an interface point for the hydraulic, chemical and/or electrical jumpers or umbilical to mate to the tree to supply hydraulic signals, hydraulic power, chemicals for injection, electric power, or electronic control signals the tree. The jumper plates are also connected during installation and workover functions to allow the rig local control of the tree during these operations.

There are a variety of gauges that can be placed on the tree, separate pressure and temperature sensors (or combined) can be placed in the annulus and the production bore and upstream and downstream of the choke. The sand detector can be either intrusive or acoustic and be set to warn the operator incase of sudden or progressively increasing sand production. Parking positions are included on the tree to allow parking of chemical/hydraulic jumpers, and electrical jumpers during workover, pulling of the tree or retrieval of the SCM.

The control system is described in detail in Section 4.1.

2.3.8 Flow Assurance Considerations

Flow assurance has become something of a catch phrase in the subsea industry, but for good reason. As developments move into deeper water lower seabed temperatures are encountered, increasing the likelihood of flow problems, the means of intervention are fewer, and the costs are higher. While most flow assurance issues are with the flowlines, the mitigation of flow assurance problems may begin at the subsea tree, or even downhole. The following are some possible sources of, or contributors to flow assurance problems.

Hydrate formation. Joule-Thompson effect, low ambient seabed temperatures and longer exposed risers contribute to the likelihood of hydrate formation in deepwater developments. Wet gas at high pressures can form hydrates at temperatures well above those encountered on the seabed.

Wax deposition. If the seabed temperature is below the wax crystallization temperature (cloud point) deposition of wax on the walls of the flowlines may take place.

High viscosity, high pour point. Low temperature result in higher viscosity and diminished flow rates.

Asphaltenes. These can precipitate similarly to wax crystals and restrict the flow.

Sand production. Sand can accumulate in flowlines and restrict flow. If any of the other contributors to flow assurance problems are present the problems can be greatly compounded with the additional presence of sand. Sand production can very seriously and very rapidly degrade the pressure integrity of subsea systems.

Scale formation. Scale deposits can restrict flow passages.

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There are a number of measures that can be taken to mitigate flow assurance problems. Among them are the following:

Insulation: The subsea tree and flowline may be insulated against the cold seawater. There are many types of insulation. Syntactic foam is often used for deep water applications because of its high compression strength.

Chemical injection: Wax inhibitor, pour point suppressant, methanol, and scale inhibitors may be injected at the subsea tree, or even downhole. The chemicals are often delivered through tubes in the production control umbilical reserved for that purpose, or through a dedicated umbilical or tube bundle. Actuated injection valves and check valves are typically provided at the injection point on the subsea tree. Downhole injection requires that the tree and tubing hanger be ported, and a downhole injection line installed with the completion tubing string.

Heating: While not commonly implemented due to cost and technical obstacles, heat tracing of the subsea tree and flowline, accompanied by insulation, could be a solution to an extreme flow assurance problem. An alternative may be to circulate hot water within a production bundle, or stabilised crude oil where two flowlines are connected to the production manifold.

Pigging: Regular pigging can control the accumulation of wax, sand and asphaltenes. Pigging issues are discussed in more detail elsewhere.

2.3.9

Deep Water Design Considerations

Deep is a subjective term, but as developments move into ever deeper water those issues that have always posed challenges to subsea engineers become even greater, and the solutions that worked successfully before no longer suffice. It is the designer’s challenge to identify where to apply new solutions while building on what has worked in the past. The following are some deep water design challenges:

2.3.9.1 High Hydrostatic Pressures

High hydrostatic pressures can sometimes have unexpected effects on equipment. The following are some things to consider.

If pressures are not balanced, the hydrostatic pressure can force parts together or apart with unexpectedly high force, causing seizure or failure.

Hydrostatic

pressures

can

collapse

elastomeric

seals,

hoses

and

other

soft

components.

Spring

return

actuators

may

be

affected,

causing

valves

to

open

or

close

unexpectedly.

Umbilical coupler seals may allow seawater intrusion, or junction plates may become impossible to disengage.

High pressure could be trapped inside equipment that has been exposed to great depth and could present a hazard to personnel on the surface when the equipment is retrieved.

Hydrostatic differentials due to differing specific gravities of different fluids can cause inadvertent reactions. These can include “U-tubing” of fluids into umbilical hoses or hydraulic function of a running tool or device where the control fluid or chemical in the umbilical hose is a lighter fluid than the ambient sea pressure or completion brine in the marine drilling riser and well.

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2.3.9.2 Equipment Guidance

The long vertical offset complicates the station keeping for the drilling rig and makes the use of guidelines impractical. The following are some considerations.

Guide funnels to capture devices and guide them into position.

Fenders and guard rails to protect other equipment from damage.

Soft landing connectors. These allow rough engagement and capture of a component (e.g. a flowline connector) without risk of damaging seals, and then a hydraulic mechanism controls the movement from there to the final position. Rough engagement can be difficult to avoid if the deployment vessel is subject to wave motion.

2.3.9.3 Low Temperatures.

Extreme low temperatures can result from gas expansion (e.g. across a choke) combined with the low ambient seabed temperatures. Besides the flow assurance issues addressed above, low temperatures may have other effects.

Increased stiffness of elastomers. Elastomer material selections may have to be reviewed, or metal seals employed.

Thermal stresses due to high temperature differential or temperature changes. Clearances may be affected. Flexibility of piping loops may have to be addressed.

Material embrittlement. Low temperature material may have to be specified and Charpy notch toughness testing conducted.

2.3.9.4 Diverless Installation

All completion operations must be conducted without the benefit of diver intervention. Diverless tree technology is well developed and ROV intervention tooling is pretty well adapted to supporting subsea completions. The area that is most challenging in this regard is subsea flowline tie-ins.

2.3.9.5 Long Trip Times

Tree installation requires numerous round trips to run and retrieve the various tree components and running tools, as detailed in Section 2.3.5. The time required for each operation increases with the water depth. In addition, the day rate cost is usually higher for deep water drilling rigs. Finally, the risk of a mishap with each trip increases with increased water depth, due to longer exposure times and less precise positioning control. The designer may address this by finding ways to minimize the number of trips required. The operator may address it by carefully planning all completion procedures.

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2.3.9.6 Riser Considerations

Drilling risers and installation and completion risers are both affected by deep water considerations.

Riser loads can increase with depth due to current loading and increased weight of the riser due to increased length. This requires increased connector capacities

There is increased risk of riser leakage because of the longer lengths of riser in deep water. This can be hazardous during well flowing operations to a rig above the well. High pressure gas or hydrocarbons released at depth expand tremendously in volume as they rise to the surface. Thus a small volume of high pressure gas at depth can be a large gas bubble or cloud at the surface. This of course represents tremendous safety risk.

Riser disconnect becomes more difficult at depth because of hydraulic response time and because it can take much longer to bleed down contained riser pressure. Installation and work over riser systems for deep water will typically include a number of valves that will enable the riser to be closed and then disconnected while under pressure.

Deepwater riser systems are now being deployed with quick response electro-hydraulic muliti-plexed control systems to enable rapid emergency disconnects if required.

Rig BOP and riser deck storage areas must be larger on deeper water rigs, or the riser must be offloaded to support vessels.

2.3.10 Factory Acceptance, Performance Verification, and System Integration Testing

2.3.10.1 Factory Acceptance Testing

Factory Acceptance Testing, commonly referred to as FAT, is always performed on newly manufactured subsea equipment to ensure that the individual components and items of equipment meet the specified requirements and function correctly. After successful final assembly and FAT, equipment is then almost always further verified by Systems Integration Testing (SIT). SIT is described further in this document.

In addition to FAT and SIT, subsea equipment is subjected to qualification testing, frequently referred to as Performance Verification Testing (PVT), if the equipment is new design or significantly changed from proven equipment. Various procedures for this type of testing are laid out in, or adapted from, PR1 or PR2 testing standards defined in API specifications for equipment. PVT is described further in this document.

All testing is normally heavily based on relevant ISO and API Standards.

In order to try to ensure successful FAT and thereby assist with maintaining project schedules, subsea equipment is manufactured and tested in accordance with predefined quality procedures and quality plans. These procedures and plans are prepared before manufacture commences and define the levels and methods of inspection and testing that will be followed during the manufacturing process. A proficient quality system and well defined quality plan will identify defects and problems early in all stages of manufacture so that corrective actions can be invoked to ensure timely delivery of good equipment. This normally involves a substantial amount