A cooperation programme on data acquisition and development research to ensure a coordinated approach for work of common interest and value

The Norwegian Deepwater Programme was founded April 1996 on the same scheme as used by licenses on the Norwegian Continental Shelf in the period 1980-1994 (OKN-operators north of 62°N). The deepwater licenses in Norway joined forces in order to carry out cost effective preparations for safe and efficient drilling and field development, mainly covering an area between 62°N and 69°N, from the continental shelf at 400 m water depth to the abyssal plain at approximately 2500 m.

The Norwegian Deepwater Programme has so far been extended five times. Phase 5 will come to an end in 2016.

Scope of work

The Norwegian Deepwater Programme will not perform licence-specific studies (i.e. site-specific data acquisition and analysis) and detailed concept studies, as well as develop systems and equipment, from the time a field development is decided. The programme, on the other hand, promotes cooperation between academia and industry as well as supporting third party system and equipment development.

The scope of work includes:

  • Performing studies in areas with ongoing deepwater activity (exploration and development) and where the effect of cooperation is best suited
  • Preventing duplication of work within the involved licences and other joint industry programmes (JIP’s)
  • Promoting inter-licence cooperation in order to optimise operational efficiency and costs, reduce strain on contractor industry and reduce risk by establishing a common understanding of the deepwater area
  • Balancing the activity with respect to licence commitments (variable commitments and activity plans)
  • Promoting cooperation with academic institutions

Organization and workflow

The programme is organized at three levels:

1. Programme Steering Committee

  • Members are Operators of each deepwater licences – one vote each
  • Approves work programmes and budgets (the budgets are to be approved by the individual Licence Management Committees)
  • Reviews project progress and results

2. Project Technical Committee

  • Members are technical specialists representing all operators and partners in the deepwater licences
  • Discusses and follows up technical aspects of projects

3. Project Company/Project Manager

  • Appoints Project Manager
  • Responsible for executing projects
  • Reports project progress to Programme Steering Committee
  • Presents work programmes and budgets to Programme Steering Committee
  • Coordinates work in the Project Technical Committee
  • Seeks advice from the Project Technical Committee on important technical issues

Events and main achievements

  • 1994 – Opening of deepwater Vøring and Møre Basins for Exploration
  • 1996 – 15th round was award with seven deepwater licences
  • 1996 – 1996: Norwegian Deepwater Programme (NDP) was established, starting up with projects on Metocean and Seabed
  • 1997 – Gas discovery in Ormen Lange (Block 6305/5-1)
  • 1997 – NDP extended with projects on Environment, Riser and Mooring and Subsea, and annual NDP budget peaked at 55 MNOK
  • 2000 – 16th round award – five deepwater licenses
  • 2001 – NDP was extended into Phase 2
  • 2002 – 17th round award – three deepwater Licenses
  • 2003 – Ormen Lange White Paper issued for subsea Production
  • 2004 – 18th round award – eight deepwater Licenses
  • 2006 – NDP was extended into Phase 3
  • 2008 – Phase 3 of NDP was prolonged for one year, in order to finalise all NDP activities
  • 2009 – NDP was extended into Phase 4
  • 2009 – Sand waves were discovered at 600-700 m water depth at 72°N (taken into Metocean Project from 2010)
  • 2010 – NDP interest area was extended beyond 69°N2010NORA10, the new extensive wind and wave hindcast project and GANS, the hydrate project were completed
  • 2011 – Development decision for “Luva” at 1300 m water depth with Spar floating production unit (“Luva” has later been renamed “Aasta Hansteen”)
  • 2012 – NDP results (data, reports, publications) were transferred to License2Share (L2S), the official communication and archiving tool for administrative interaction between operators, partners and authorities for all licenses on the Norwegian Continental Shelf
  • 2013 – NDP was extended with Phase 5 (2013 – 2016)
  • 2016 – NDP comes to an end in September 2016, 20 years after establishment. The website will be kept open

Five projects

The NDP constitutes of five projects, covering the following disciplines:

  • Environment Project – Biological effects, baseline assessments, ecological consequences, including fate of oil and gas from deepwater releases
  • Metocean Project – Meteorological and oceanographic data acquisition of ocean currents, waves, ocean modeling and technology development
  • Riser & Mooring Project – Technology related to cost effective deepwater riser and mooring configurations
  • Seabed Project – Shallow seismic, geological and geotechnical data acquisition and geological modeling
  • Subsea Project – Technology related to deepwater subsea production systems, processing and flow assurance

Environment

Objective

The main objective of the Environment Project are to assess environmental aspects of petroleum activities in Norwegian deepwater areas. An important part of getting permission to explore and develop licenses in the deep sea is to have the knowledge and thorough understanding to avoid harming marine life.

The main focus has been on aspects related to environmental baseline assessment of deep water locations:

  • Fate and biodegradation of oil and gas at deep water conditions
  • Biological effects and ecological consequences
  • Oil spill contingency for deep water
  • Deep water blow-out

The aim is to reduce environmental risks related to exploration drilling and field development in deep water areas through:

  • Multidisciplinary approaches to identify and close gap of knowledge.
  • Study deep sea fauna and improve taxonomical expertise.
  • Establishment of sound environmental monitoring.
  • Improve knowledge and methods for oil spill response in deep water

Main activities

  • Understanding the parameters that influence on the blow-out risk, and suggest risk reducing measures
  • Optimization of oil spill contingency to fit with deep water conditions
  • Potential effects of discharges from drilling operations
  • Communicate with the regulators on issues of common interest to the deep water operators

Project organization

Management and technical supervision is carried out by one of the operating companies, based on advice from the Environment Technical Committee, which is also a forum for general environmental deep sea environmental matters. The subprojects are executed by several Norwegian and foreign institutions and results are presented in technical reports and publications.

A number of partners and contractors have been involved in the projects executed by the Environment project. In the most recent years, the main contractors have been: SINTEF, IRIS, IMR, Vitenskapsakademiet, DNV and others.

Metocean

Objective

  • Establish a metocean data base for Norway’s deepwater region and adjacent waters
  • Concentrate activities on data acquisition to ocean currents and hydrography
  • Enhance the general understanding of slope and deepwater currents
  • Encourage co-operation between participating institutions

Project achievements have been checked and corrected against objectives at each new phase of the programme. In addition, independent assessments of obtained results have been carried out twice in the programme.

Main activities

Ocean Current Data Acquisition:

  • Sequential cross slope ocean current measurements at periods of 2 – 3 months
  • Ocean surface current measurements
  • Long-term current measurements in the Svinøy Section (years)
  • Rig-based ADCP measurements from seven drilling locations
  • High-frequency current & VIV measurements
  • High resolution current & temperature measurements in the slope area
  • Fine grid and high resolution sea bottom current measurements
  • Specific sea bottom current measurements related to sand waves
  • Cathodic protection & current speed from specific sensors

 Ocean Current Modelling:

  • Extended and tested the ocean circulation model MI-POM for the deepwater area in several grid sizes (large area 30 km grid, 10 km local grid and 2 km fine grid, and nested within 21 vertical layers)
  • Established an archive in 30 km grid from Ireland to the Barents Sea
  • Performed regional hindcast and model validation (10 km domain, validation of local 2 km domain, comparison with long term measurements)
  • Produced hindcasts (2 years in the Ormen Lange area in 2 km local domain)
  • Used MI-POM in 4 km grid to forecast currents during drilling campaigns
  • Testing and comparing 3 different models (MI-POM, ROMS and HYCOM) to establish best possible ocean model system
  • Supported the development of ROMS as the operational 3-D model for Norwegian waters
  • Testing of 6 different current models for the Lofoten/Vesterålen area
  • Extensive hindcast for the years 2008 – 2012 using ROMS with different horizontal resolutions

 Remote Sensing:

  • Utilised altimeter data to study mesoscale ocean current variability by merging ERS and Topex/ Poseidon altimeter data to determine sea surface anomalies to deduce eddy kinetic energy
  • Used SAR and AVHRR images to study eddies, fronts and other surface features in the deepwater area
  • Special study of fronts causing ocean currents

 New Wind and Wave Hindcast Model (NORA10):

  • Development of a new hindcast model NORA10, based on 3rd generation wave model
  • Tested and verified against all available wave measurements
  • Input of real ice border movements and tested for “Polar Low” resolution
  • Data archive established in 10 km grid for deepwater and shelf areas from west of Ireland, the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea
  • Annual update of NORA10 since 2010, including improvements and new validations in specific areas

 Data Analysis & Other Activities:

  • Sea temperature atlas based on all available historical data
  • Update of wind and wave data (old WINCH hindcast model, outdated when NORA10 became operational)
  • Re-analysis of SACLANT current measurements and ship-borne ADCP data
  • Variability of the Norwegian Atlantic Current based on coastal sea level data
  • Routine EOF analysis of ADCP data
  • Analysis of the temperature structure: comparison between the Ormen Lange and Svinøy Sections
  • EOF analysis of spatial and temporal variability
  • Verification and documentation for methods for extreme value analysis
  • Simplification of wave spectrum formulation and response analysis of different types of structures
  • Summary & assessment studies of the project and the current measurements
  • Several studies on internal waves based on modeling and indications in current measurements
  • Trends in wave observations
  • Established deepwater data base for waves based on measurements, including extensive testing of radar measurements from the Draugen platform
  • Review of all marine growth information in order to develop deepwater criteria (based also on marine growth observations at Ormen Lange pipelines), and establishment of recommended practice for deepwater marine growth
  • Development of Metocean Reference Software (MERS) for extreme events
  • Data management and archiving of data in L2S, the official communication and archiving tool for administrative interaction between operators, partners and authorities for all licenses on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.

Project organization

Management and technical supervision is carried out by one of the operating companies, based on advice from the Metocean Technical Committee (MTC), which is also a forum for general metocean matters. The subprojects are executed by several Norwegian and foreign institutions and results are presented in technical reports and publications.

 Cooperating partners/contractors:

  • CLS – Collecte Localisation Satellite, Toulouse, France (remote sensing, ocean current modelling)
  • DNMI – Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Oslo (current modelling, assessments, wind/wave hindcast)
  • DNV – Norske Veritas, Oslo (marine growth)
  • Forristall Ocean Engineering Inc., ME, USA (assessments, data analysis)
  • Fugro Geos – Global Environmental & Ocean Sciences Limited, Wallingford, UK (rig-based current measurements, current measurements, data analysis)
  • Fugro Oceanor – Oceanographic Company of Norway ASA, Trondheim (current measurements, data analysis), previously Oceanor
  • Geological Survey of Norway (NGU), Trondheim (sea bottom processes, modeling)
  • IMR – Institute of Marine Research, Bergen (sea temperature, current measurements & modelling)
  • MIROS, Asker (platform monitoring)
  • MSI – Metocean Services International, Cape Town (current measurements)
  • NERSC – Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Center, Bergen (remote sensing, current modelling)
  • Polytec, Haugesund (software development, data analysis)
  • Robit, Oslo (marine riser instrumentation),now Corrocean ASA
  • SAT-OCEAN S.A.S., Versailles, France (ocean current modeling)
  • SINTEF Civil Engineering, Trondheim (data analysis, current measurements, software development)
  • SINTEF Marintek, Trondheim & Sandefjord (response analysis, cathodic protection, instrumentation)
  • Thales Geosolutions, Cape Town, South Africa (current measurements), now Fugro Geos
  • UiB – University in Bergen, Geophysical Institute, Bergen (current measurements, data analysis)
  • UiO – University of Oslo, Mathematical institute, Oslo (project assessment)

Riser & mooring

Objective

The main objective of the Riser & Mooring Project is to address relevant challenges for riser and mooring systems in deep water Norwegian Sea. The challenges are identification of safe and cost effective riser and mooring configurations for the Norwegian deepwater province, which builds on existing world-wide deepwater field development expertise:

  • Harsher environment
  • Needs of production concept
  • Avoid re-invention

The scope of activities covers needs of all licenses in 800 – 1500 m water depth, within the Norwegian Sea environment, and for a range of platform concepts (FPSO, TLP, SPAR and DDF).

Moreover, the project indents to:

  • Create a forum in which technology needs and challenges of each licenses are discussed exchanged
  • Identify by consensus specific activities of common interests to all deepwater licences for funding by   the Norwegian Deepwater Programme
  • Minimize duplication with other industry programmes

Main activities

  • Analysis of High mode VIV tests – During the winter of 2010-2011 Shell performed a high quality model test of various riser configurations under different current conditions at the ocean basin at MARINTEK. The overall emphasis of the tests was to enhance the understanding of the VIV phenomenon and to explore the effectiveness of a range of VIV mitigation devices. A large amount of data was acquired and NDP is performing advanced data analysis. The aim is to extract as much information as possible from the data and to create a basis for improvement of state-of-the-art VIV prediction tools. Particular focus areas are:
    • Influence of Reynolds number on VIV amplitude and response frequency
    • Explore spatial variation in VIV response when it is dominated by travelling waves or standing waves. Explore the spatial variation in VIV response in the transition modes when the response is not fully standing nor is it completely travelling
    • Examine the effects of changing damping and power-in regions using VIV mitigation devices
    • Explore response with various mitigation devices, including: effects of marine growth, partial coverage; scattered coverage etc.
  • Marine riser interference and VIV amplification- In deep water interaction and possibilities for clashing is a concern when designing riser and umbilical systems. Reliable prediction method is identified as a gap in the riser analysis tool-box. Thus, the aim of this activity is to enhance prediction capabilities for multi-riser interaction. The motivation of this activity is to ensure appropriate safety level for riser damage due to clashing and to improve understanding multi-riser dynamics. Main focus in this phase is to build a semi-empirical prediction model without clashing. Experiments with PIV (Particle Image Velocimetry) are used to establish wake properties behind various riser configurations (bare riser, straked risers and riser with fairing). Results from this will be used in a Parameter Wake Field Model.
  • Fairing development – An important activity over a number of years has been related to development of fairings for mitigation of vortex-induced vibrations in risers. The motivation is to provide effective fairing solutions for drilling operations where size and deployment time are critical, as well as for production risers. A focus is to develop solutions with reliable connector design and robustness for installation loads, as well as being hydrodynamically effective with regards to VIV mitigation and reduction of drag loads.
  • Feasibility of steel riser systems – Compliant steel riser solutions for harsh environment and large motion vessels are being studied. Examples are steel lazy-wave risers and COBRA (Catenary Offset Buoyant Riser Arrangement). Feasibility studies for various riser configurations, including fabrication, installation and operation of risers has been performed. State-of-the-art optimization techniques have been used to design riser configurations. Focus has been on fatigue life and capacity in extreme conditions. Moreover, screening of possible hang-off solutions has been performed.
  • Damping of flexibles – Structural damping of flexibles (risers, umbilicals and power cables) is a topic for the Riser and Mooring project. Due to the structural stick-slip behavior of flexibles, there are uncertainties as how such risers will respond in high current and deep water. The motivation for this activity is to enable more reliable prediction methodology of dynamic response of flexibles, including vortex-induced vibrations. DNV has developed an iterative procedure for VIV analysis of flexibles, where the VIV prediction tool (e.g. Shear7 or VIVANA) is coupled with a cross-section analysis tool (HELICA) to account for the stick-slip damping in a consistent manner. Case studies are performed in order to demonstrate the damping effect on the VIV response. Full-scale testing of sections of flexibles to experimentally validate damping predictions is pending.
  • Riser-Soil Interaction – The fatigue life of a pipe loaded by extreme storms, vessel movements, and vortex-induced vibrations, is one of the critical issues when designing compliant riser systems. It is especially difficult to estimate fatigue stresses due to the interaction between the seafloor and the pipe because of the high non-linearity of soil response. The touchdown zone (TDZ) where e.g. a steel catenary riser (SCR) contacts the seafloor often proves to be the critical location for fatigue analysis, since the maximum bending stresses usually occur in this part of the pipe. In addition, these studies have also shown fatigue damage to be sensitive to seafloor stiffness. Although linear elastic seafloor models provide very useful insights about seafloor-pipe interactions, they cannot fully describe the complex interaction problem including trench formation, non-linear soil stiffness, limited soil suction, detachment of the pipe from the seabed, and cyclic degradation of soil stiffness, as shown by full-scale experimental testing. Therefore, NDP Riser & Mooring is in cooperation with DNV developing a new consolidated non-linear riser-soil model. The aim is to propose a new model that includes the most important non-linear pipe-soil interaction effects while disregarding insignificant effects, in order to obtain a computational efficient code with “simple” geotechnical input. A pilot version has been implemented as a plug-in to ABAQUS and is presently being validated. 

Seabed

Objective

The main objectives of the Seabed Project is to assess the safety and feasibility of exploration activities and field developments in the Møre and Vøring deepwater area with regards to:

  • Slope stability
  • Drilling problems
  • Geo-hazards 

Data acquisition:

  • Acquire relevant raw and adapted data generated outside the Norwegian Deepwater Programme
  • Acquire new seismic, geological and geotechnical data
  • Analyse and compile new and existing data

Utilizing data:

  • Establish a regional stratigraphy and geological model, including maps showing geological and drilling hazards
  • Update the stratigraphy and geological model
  • Perform regional seafloor mapping surveys (i.e. swath bathymetry) covering the existing license areas, and update the existing seabed bathymetry model
  • Focus on data management and database
  • Provide relevant geological and geotechnical data as input to early phase of development projects initiated by the individual companies

Improvement:

  • Initiate and support projects focusing on technical improvements directly linked to geological and geotechnical studies of the deepwaters (e.g. new sampler techniques, high-resolution 3D-seismic systems etc.)
  • Initiate cooperation projects with academia

Seabed Project Database:

All acquisition data, including interpretations, geotechnical analyses and geological models have been organized and loaded in a project database, which will be a reference for future studies and investigations in the area.

Main activities

Past R&D Projects:

  • ENAM – The overall objectives of ENAM were to quantify and model large-scale sedimentary processes and material fluxes on the continental shelf edge of the European North Atlantic Margin contributing to mass wasting events and the  development of deep sea fans
  • COSTA – The project aims to advance at the optimum achievable level the knowledge regarding slope stability along European margins from the W Mediterranean in the south to the NE Atlantic in the north. For this reason, COSTA will constitute a sound basis for future assessment and prediction of slope failure and gas hydrate presence
  • STRATAGEM – The project, which is supported by EC, is studying the development of the glaciated European margin. STATAGEM is an acronym for ‘Stratigraphic Development of the Glqaciated European Margin’
  • GANS – The overall task of GANS was to provide knowledge vital for a safe exploration and management of potential resources linked with gas hydrates and natural seeps, and to improve our knowledge about their dynamics and volume properties. GANS is an acronym for ‘Gas hydrates And Natural Seeps’. The aims were achieved by integrating detailed geophysical studies of zones of gas hydrates and associated free gas (UiT) in cooperation with geotechnical laboratory experiments (NGI, SINTEF), theoretical gas hydrate dynamic studies (UiB), geological studies (UiB), and geochemical studies of the fluids (UiB, NGU)

Ongoing R&D Projects:

  • Temperature Effects on Laboratory Strength Measurements on Soft to Medium Clays sampled in Deep Water and Cold Environments – Phase III – NGI is main contractor for the study together with Montana State University. The work is supported by NDP, BP and both performing contractors. The main objectives are to extend the work done in Phases I and II:
    • Finalize specifications/requirements for equipment and procedures to be used for tests at low temperatures
    • Repeat some of the tests carried out in Phases 1 and 2 to confirm findings
    • Carry out tests that were not done  as planned in Phase 2 due to unexpected problems with testing at low temperatures
    • Develop and recommend procedures for correcting strength and deformation parameters for temperature effects
  • Assessing Offshore Geohazards – site surveying, sampling and comparison of shallow, submarine landslides in coastal and deepwater environments, Northern Norway – Main Contractor for the work is the International Centre for Geohazards (ICG) complemented with the Universities of Bergen and Southampton. The main objective of this study is as described below. The motivation of this project is to understand and compare the origin and development of relatively small landslides in different sedimentary environments (coastal and deepwater). To address these questions, we originally proposed to perform detailed, multidisciplinary investigations of carefully selected submarine landslides: one in a shallow, harboured environment with prominent shallow gas accumulation (Finneidfjord) and one poorly-understood, pristine deepwater environment with low mobility landslides. These sites benefit from being easily accessed such that sampling can be accomplished by available academic research vessels (such as R/V Seisma and R/V Johan Hjort), and, in the case of Finneidfjord, having a substantial volume of exactant data

Project organization

Management and technical supervision is carried out by one of the operating companies, based on advice from the Seabed Technical Committee, which is also a forum for general seabed matters. The subprojects are executed by several Norwegian and foreign institutions and results are presented in technical reports and publications.

Cooporating partners/contractors:

  • G&G interpretation (NGU, Fugro Survey, BGS)
  • Slope stability (University of Oslo/NGI)
  • Slide mechanisms (University of Oslo/NGI)
  • Gas hydrate studies (University of Tromsø)
  • Seafloor mapping in the Møre Vøring area (Fugro Survey, Geoconsult, University of Bergen and Tromsø)
  • Coring, sample analysis and dating of samples (University of Bergen)
  • Contract on exchange of high-resolution seismic data, seafloor mapping data, geotechnical data etc.
  • 3D seismic data from all the deepwater licenses and contractors
  • New coring techniques (NGI/AP van den Berg/Lankelma)
  • New 3D seismic equipment (VBPR and Fugro Survey)

Subsea

Objective

  • To develop low cost subsea technology concepts, methods and procedures for design, installation, and operation of subsea systems in deep waters.
  • To make operators aware of the challenges for future field developments in deep water areas in the Norwegian Sea.
  • To contribute to improved hydrate control concepts and solutions 

Main activities

  • Impact of corrosion on hydrate plugging – Experimental studies carried out in the Statoil Flow Assurance pilot suggest that corrosion has a marked effect on plugging rate in the subsea mimic. An experimental program has been launched to study these aspects further.
  • Environmentally-friendly kinetic hydrate inhibitor based on bio-protein – Low Dosage Hydrate Inhibitors (LDHIs) have been commercially applied by the gas and oil industry since the late 90’s worldwide. However, there is a lack of biodegradable and non-toxic LDHIs that are both stable and competitively priced. Further, most of LDHIs on market do not meet the strict criteria for environmentally sensitive areas such as the North Sea. NDP is supporting a new project aiming to develop a kinetic inhibitor to meet the stringent Norwegian criteria.
  • Measurement of hydrate deposition – Knowledge of hydrate deposition in oil and gas production systems is of key importance in order to assess hydrate risk for these systems. Industry lacks good and reliable measurement techniques to this end. NDP supports a project with the objective of developing a laboratory scale sensor system for studying deposition mechanisms.
  • Kinetic Hydrate Inhibitor Removal, Recovery and Reuse – LDHIs are already an important hydrate control method used worldwide. It is expected that there will soon we available environmentally benign chemicals to be used in the Norwegian Continental Shelf. It is important to improve the economics in their use. To this end NDP is supporting a project with the main objective to develop techniques for removal KHI from produced water and, in the second phase of the project, to recover the chemical for possible reuse