Hundreds of Subsea Projects with Thousands of Pumps Moving Forward


The recent plunge in oil prices has caused some subsea projects to be canceled or delayed but there are more than 100 projects moving forward. The subsea vessel industry is currently expanding at 7%/yr. Over 54 percent of the active fleet has been delivered over the past eight years. There are also an additional 115 vessels under construction. The status of projects is continually reported in Oil, Gas, Shale and Refining Markets and Projects published by the McIlvaine Company.

Pump companies play a critical role in the movement of working fluids and product. Their subsea activities are analyzed in Pumps World Market.

A number of large pump orders have been recently awarded. Lewa has won a €30-million ($41.6-million) order for 40 process diaphragm pumps for two large gas fields offshore Saudi Arabia. The development project is designed to process 70 MMcm/d (2.5 bcf/d) of ethane, propane, butane, and natural gas from the two fields, producing on average around 50 MMcm (1.8 bcf) of market-ready gas. However, peak demand could reach 86 MMcm (3 bcf).

The Lewa pump systems will be installed on 13 wellhead and two tie-in (drilling and export) platforms and will work at operating pressures of 140 to 500-plus bar (2,030 to 7,252 psi) to inject monoethylene glycol (MEG) and sulfur solvent. The MEG will circulate continuously between the platforms and the glycol regeneration units in the onshore preparation facilities, reducing the risk of hydrates in the two subsea pipelines.

One issue is that the sulfur content of the two gas fields is at a significantly higher concentration than in other areas, and starts to solidify at high temperatures. To prevent blockage of the pipeline and ensure reliable transport on land, a solvent for the sulfur must be injected continuously and reliably.

Sulzer Pumps Ltd and FMC Technologies, Inc. have an exclusive collaboration agreement to further leverage leading-edge technology including world-class pumps from Sulzer Pumps, pump services, and subsea systems and advanced permanent magnet motor technology from FMC Technologies. Over the last several years, Sulzer Pumps and FMC Technologies have developed, built and qualified a new, high-speed helico-axial multiphase subsea boosting unit based on Sulzer Pumps topside pump designs.

Andritz completed an order from two Chinese shipyards, Waigaoqiao Shipbuilding, Shanghai, and China Merchants Heavy Industry, Shenzhen, with twelve submersible motor pumps for use on jack-up rigs. The submersible motor pumps (multi-stage centrifugal pumps in combination with maintenance-free submersible motors) pump the raw water for the drilling platform from a depth of ten to 20 meters below sea level.

Flowserve has won orders for water injection and liquid transfer pumps for Sabah Shell Petroleum s Malikai oil field project, 110 km (68 mi) offshore Sabah, Malaysia.

The order comprises pumps for seawater lift, firewater, drain caisson, flare knockout drum, circulation, and sump services.

Flowserve will provide four variable-speed drive barrel pumps constructed from super duplex stainless; two WIK (BB5) multi-stage double-case diffuser pumps supplying high-pressure deoxygenated water for well injection; and two HSO (BB5) multi-stage, double-case volute pumps to transport crude from the field to the KBB processing facility. Additionally, the company will provide six WUC (VS6) vertical, double-case, multi-stage pumps, six Pleuger super duplex submersible pumps, and six HPX (OH2) single-stage API process pumps.

Subsea Production Alliance, combines Aker Solutions offerings in subsea production and processing with Baker Hughes strengths in well completions and artificial lift. The alliance will steer subsea well management planning away from heavy workover systems to light intervention, with easier access to subsea trees. As for boosting subsea recovery, the alliance can offer a wide range of single or multi-phase pump solutions combined with different types of intelligent completion and artificial lift solutions. The alliance would work on technologies including subsea-optimized downhole electric submersible pumps; integration of ESPs into subsea well jumpers for single-well boost or dual-boost applications, potentially in existing brownfield wells; medium-cost light intervention risers deployed from a rig, and ultimately riserless intervention; and on ways of lifting oil longer distances to platforms.

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