A pioneering design for a Floating Normally Unattended Installation (NUI), that has the potential to unlock smaller and deepwater oil and gas reservoirs, is one step closer to commercialisation following an announcement of a collaboration agreement between the engineering consultancy behind the design, Buoyant Production Technologies (BPT), and Subsea 7, a subsea engineering, construction and services company.
The BPT Floating NUI
BPT’s patented proprietary design is a compact single column offshore facility, designed and equipped specifically for unmanned operations. The unit’s low OPEX and low CAPEX deliver optimised lifecycle costs to offshore developments.
With increasing focus on the environmental impact of oil and gas projects, as well as uncertainty surrounding commodity prices, Floating NUIs can offer a robust development solution for a wide range of future projects. BPT has developed Floating NUI into several configurations:
-Utility buoys powered using renewable sources, that can replace subsea umbilicals for well control and management
-Normally unattended production units
-Offshore substation units for use in offshore wind farms and for power import/export to oil and gas infrastructure
Central to the patented design, which is scalable for different field requirements, are several features:
-Slender “hull” structure and integrated (buoyant) “deck box”
-Open deck for topside process equipment and personnel access
-Deck box housing power generation and utilities
-Minimal motions, enabling deployment in harsh environments
-Minimal offshore installation cost
The Floating NUI series includes:
-Production Buoy: A standalone production facility for smaller deep-water developments
-Power & Control Buoy: Providing well-site services to enable subsea developments such as long-range /complex gas and oil tiebacks
-Floating substation: Supporting offshore substations for use on offshore wind developments and power import/export applications
The NUI conecept was developed and tested with multiple industry partners including the Oil and Gas Technology Centre, Premier Oil, Total E&P UK, Lloyds Register, Siemens, Wärtsilä, Ampelmann and BW Offshore.
The Subsea 7 and BPT collaboration agreement
BPT will bring their proprietary Floating NUI designs, configured for a range of offshore developments while Subsea 7 will provide field development and delivery expertise, supporting the integration of Floating NUIs into offshore energy developments and the engineering, construction, procurement, and installation phases of the project.
Duncan Peace, Managing Director at Buoyant Production Technologies, said, “By entering into this collaboration agreement with Subsea 7, we have developed a robust delivery model for Floating NUI projects, which we believe will enable us to successfully deliver projects to our global customer base.”
Thomas Sunde, Vice President Strategy at Subsea 7 added: “We believe BPT’s Floating NUI technology is well placed to help us support clients to improve lifecycle development economics of their offshore energy projects. By working together, we believe both parties will be able to better support our clients’ ambitions.”
For BPT, a wholly owned subsidiary that was formed in 2018, this announcement is a step along their journey to create novel designs to reduce HSSE risks and minimise lifecycle costs with a clear route to the market for the Floating NUI now established.