Framo Engineering has, as the first company in the world, developed a subsea solution for wet gas compression. This is a technology with enormous potential.
– What sets our technology apart from standard subsea compressors is its ability to handle wet gas. This eliminates the need for an auxiliary separation system, and the complexity of the subsea processes is dramatically reduced. Our solution is a simplified all-in-one system with minimum installation and intervention requirements, says Arne B. Olsen, Sales Manager, Pumps and Subsea Process Systems, Eastern Hemisphere.
Framo Engineering has a 95% share of the subsea pump market, and with its new technology the company’s hold on the subsea sector will become even stronger.
The company’s wet gas compression system allows for gas of any composition to be recovered from the reservoir, and is thus a solution suitable for a large number of fields.
– This technology is unique as it can handle gas with everything from 0% to 100% liquid content. We are the only company to offer this, and the potential for this technology is huge, says Olsen.
A contract has been entered into with Statoil, and the plan is for the first system to be installed at the Gullfaks Field in 2015. The operating company anticipates the wet gas compression system to facilitate an increase in production at Gullfaks from 62% to 74% – or three billion cubic metres of gas.
Framo Engineering has worked on the development of its wet gas compression concept since the 80s. Towards the end of the decade, the potential of this concept and technology had already become evident. However, the market was not ready. Since then, the solution has been optimised and further developed in collaboration with the operating companies Shell and Statoil. When oil prices plunged in the 90s, the project became part of the Demo 2000 program where the objective was to maintain activity levels on the Norwegian Continental Shelf through measures such as development of new technology.
– Our aim was to qualify for Ormen Lange, but we were unsuccessful due to the system’s limited capacity at the time, says Olsen.
Major contract secured
With a few adjustments in hydraulics and design, Framo Engineering managed to increase the system capacity by 4 to 5 times. The solution was then in a completely different league. When production at Gullfaks started to decline, Statoil, as the operating company, took an interest in technology they believed may contribute to an increased recovery rate. This, in turn, led to talks with Framo Engineering.
– Statoil established a Gullfaks 2030 project focusing on extending production from the field until 2030. We then entered into a joint venture agreement with Statoil where the aim was to qualify a wet gas compression system for the field, says Olsen.
In March this year, Statoil awarded Framo Engineering a contract worth NOK 900 million.
The technology is a quantum leap in terms of recovery of gas from subsea fields. In other words, Framo Engineering has taken a major step towards its vision of a complete processing plant on the seabed. The solution is mainly based existing and qualified Framo Engineering technologies.
– Market interest has been strong, and a number of operating companies have been in contact with us regarding the concept. Solutions that may help oil companies recover more gas when a field is in its later stages of production and the pressure drops are in great demand, and the potential for our technology is undoubtedly very large. Some are sitting on the fence waiting to see how this will work at Gullfaks. The outcome will, without doubt, have a colossal effect on any future sales, says Olsen.