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Q&A - Spar Design & Development with Chris Malone

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When it comes to the different types of offshore facilities, where would a spar be most appropriate? What are some of the other benefits of employing standardized designs in offshore facilities? What about the increased use of standardized designs in the offshore segment? What value do they add? What are some unique considerations for the design and development of spars? What are some measures operators can take to effectively manage spar development? What are some of the pros and cons of wet vs. dry tree development? Right now, there's a real push towards minimizing OPEX and limiting CAPEX to profitable projects. Offshore facilities are long-term investments, so taking them offline in a difficult environment isn't an option. Instead, operators are focusing on ways to optimize existing systems in an effort to weather the current downturn. It depends on operator preference. Spars, in particular, are less sensitive than TLPs when it comes to water depth and payload. They also allow for the development of dry trees in deepwater fields and enable vertical access to wells. Additionally, the spread mooring system of a spar makes it less susceptible to wave- induced motions, which helps keep vertical motions in an acceptable range for dry trees. In addition to the cost and schedule savings, standardized designs allow operators to take lessons learned from one facility and make modifications that will improve the performance of future facilities. They also allow for the implementation of a flexible, "one- size-fits-most" standardized design that can accommodate a wide range of hydrocarbon profiles and reservoir characteristics. Right now, there is a general push throughout the industry towards standardization – especially in light of the current economic environment. Standardized designs help reduce development time and costs. In general, they allow operators to mitigate some of the risk associated with building fit-for-purpose facilities. The offshore installation and hook- up of a spar is oen very intensive because it requires the topsides to be lied onto the hull via a heavy offshore li. This is in contrast to a semi-submersible, where the majority of the hull/topsides li and hook-up work is done in a shipyard. Liing upwards of 10,000 metric tons in an offshore environment is very difficult from a rigging and safety standpoint. It requires careful consideration of additional factors such as weather, ocean conditions, and manpower requirements. For topsides engineering design, well data will determine the equipment requirements. However, spars typically don't have as much workable space in terms of horizontal square footage as other offshore facilities, so there are some unique challenges with regards to equipment placement and topsides layout. Furthermore, the multiple deck design of spars requires careful planning when it comes to equipment setting order, hook-up, and installation. As is the case with any offshore facility, close and thorough communication between contractors is key. Interface management plays a particularly important role in the development of spars because it helps streamline load-out, transportation, upending, installation, and hook-up operations. What are some of the challenges that offshore operators face in today's market? Spar Design & Development Delving Deep with Chris Malone: They both have advantages and disadvantages. Wet trees (or subsea tiebacks) are more appropriate when developing multiple fields at a longer distance from the platform. Dry trees, on the other hand, are better for local fields that are in close proximity to the facility. They allow access to the wellheads on the facility, but limit the production to only the local reservoir. Project Manager, Audubon Engineering Solutions auduboncompanies.com

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