Glossary

Since the performance in global projects is about communication to co-ordinate global and local initiatives, it appeared imperative to create this glossary.

You will find words related to technology as well as commercial and contractual terms.

For each word you will find a definition as short and simple as possible and comments to make the best use of it.

With new technologies and new practices, new words or new understandings to come up at any time, feel free to comment. We expect to handle this section as a permanent  interactive learning session.

Many thanks in advance for your contribution

SAGD : Definition: SAGD is the acronym of Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage. The Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage is a process to produce oil from tar-sands. Comments The SAGD process has been developed in Ontario, then in Alberta by Imperial Oil (ExxonMobil) in the years 1970s. Canada holds the most important reserves of extra heavy crude oil, also called bitumen. For years multiple experiments had been attempted to make this extra heavy crude oil technically recoverable, then economically viable. The SAGD process is based on horizontal wells being drilled in parallel at a distance of 4 to 6 meters above each other. In the upper well, the operating companies inject steam at high pressure which has the effect to make melting the oil contained in the sand. In melting from the sand the extra heavy crude oil goes down in the ground and then is collected few meter below by the lower well. This lower well is then pumping this melted oil up to the surface. At this point the oil is mixed up with the sand dust and water coming from the steam condensation and present naturally in the Canadian underground. Thus the surface facilities will have oil/sand/water separation units and waste water treatment units. During this operation, gas are released, especially methane and carbon dioxide, that need to be captured and treated. SAGD depends on energy and water If the concept of the SAGD process looks pretty simple, its implementation requires key elements: energy and water. The SAGD process needs massive quantity of energy to produce the steam. Using the oil to generate this steam should be counter productive, so all alternative source of energy have been considered including solar, windmill and nuclear. Nuclear has been quickly left aside, far before Fukushima disaster, because of the lack of water needed for the cooling while water is precisely the other critical resources needed to produce steam in quantity. For instance the energy is developed from the fields of natural gas in Alberta and in British Columbia. Regarding the water, all the SAGD facilities include large water re-cycling units in order to minimize the toll taken from the natural water reserves. Between 2005 and 2010, the water consumption in the SAGD process has been divided by three. From the early days of the SAGD in the 70s, the technology has improved significantly so that today, the recovery rate in some reservoirs may reach 70% or 80%. At these early days the barrel price was fluctuating around $10 to $20 per barrel while the cost of the oil produced from SAGD was running around $80 per barrel. But since then, both curves crossed each other where the oil price is now cruising around $100 per barrel and costs have been divided by two. Technically and economically the SAGD is recognized as a viable solution as long as it also integrates all the environmental constraints. It has contributed to help Canada to revise its proven reserves of oil to 179 billions of barrels, close behind the number one, Saudi Arabia.
Semisubmersible : Definition: Semisubmersible or Semisub- is referring to Offshore drilling rigs so called because they are combining the advantages of submersible rigs with the ability to drill in Semisubmersible drilling rig. The Semisubmersible drilling rig is made of a floating structure having vertical hollow legs connected to horizontal pontoons used for ballasting with seawater for stability. It also has numerous large heavy anchors which keep it secured to the seabed in turbulent offshore waters. Comments: To be used in water depth beyond the reach of the Jack-up drilling rigs, 160 mters (492ft), the Semisubmersible rigs are the most common type of offshore drilling rigs, With a Semisubmersible rig, the air is let out of the lower hull, the rig does not submerge to the sea floor. Instead, the rig is partially submerged, but still floats above the drill site. When drilling, the lower hull, filled with water, provides stability to the rig. These Semisubmersible drilling rigs can be towed to their drilling area while floating, but this operation requests a lot of time and energy. So depending on the size of the Semisubmersible drilling rig, the most common practice is to dry tow them up to the site. Then the vessel carrying theSemisubmersible rig will lower the hull to let the Semisubmersible floating by itself.
Shale gas : Definition: Shale gas is the name given to natural gas accumulation is locked in tiny bubble-like pockets within layered sedimentary rock such as shale. Comment: Shale gas is usually found in compact, low-permeability rocks deep beneath the surface. Reserves of this gas are very substantial and well distributed over the globe: they are estimated to represent between 120 and 150 years’ worth of natural gas supply at the current rate of consumption. While geologists have known for decades that shale gas existed deep beneath many areas of the North American continent, traditional vertical oil and gas drilling methods were able to access only a small fraction of the gas within these formations. But recently, operational efficiencies and proven technology have come together to make shale gas both accessible and economically competitive.
Smart Automation 2.0 (China) : In the 2000s years, China wanted to become the “World factory” with labor costs lower than the rest of the world to support its economical growth and provide jobs to its billion inhabitants. In that purpose all the Chinese Provinces rivaled from imagination to attract investors and establish new production units from greenfield in few months. As a result the “Made in China” has become a global brand synonymous of high value for price. But in the last five years, the situation has changed where labor costs increased compared with other countries in Asia, Africa. The energy cost and environmental issues have brought in new challenges that Chinese Authorities had to address to maintain any economical growth on the next decade. Meanwhile China realized that industrial countries were preparing initiatives to relocate manufacturing activities at home, so that it had to invent a new era. Based on the now well-established manufacturing sector, the Chinese Authorities incentivize companies to move concept from the “Made in China” to the “Create in China”. This ambition is supported by research and development joined programs between the companies and the universities. These programs cover not only R&D investments to develop new products in China to go global but also the innovation related to improve the operating performances of the manufacturing industry. This “Future of Manufacturing” program to support this second era of the Chinese industry has been named “Smart Automation 2.0”.
SPAR : Definition: SPAR is the acronym for Single Point Anchor Reservoir (SPAR). This descriptive definition refers to a floating system with infield flow lines and associated subsea infrastructure to connect the subsea production and injection wells. Comments: From design perspective a SPAR is a cylindrical, partially submerged offshore drilling and production platform that is particularly well-adapted to deep water. SPAR platforms are among the largest offshore platforms in use. These huge platforms consist of a large cylinder supporting a typical fixed rig platform. The cylinder does not extend all the way to the seafloor, but instead is tethered to the bottom by a series of cables and lines. The large cylinder serves to stabilize the platform in the water, and allows for movement to absorb the force of potential hurricanes. For these reasons the SPAR are the preferred design in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico The first SPAR platform in the Gulf of Mexico was installed in September of 1996. Its cylinder measured 770 feet long and was 70 feet in diameter, and the platform operated in 1,930 feet of water. SPAR is moored to the seabed like TLP, but whereas a TLP has vertical tension tethers, a SPAR has more conventional mooring lines. SPAR has to date been designed in three configurations: - Conventional SPAR in one-piece cylindrical hull - Truss SPAR where the midsection is composed of truss elements connecting the upper buoyant hull (called a hard tank) with the bottom soft tank containing permanent ballast - Cell SPAR which is built from multiple vertical cylinders The SPAR has more inherent stability than a TLP since it has a large counterweight at the bottom and does not depend on the mooring to hold it upright. It also has the ability, by adjusting the mooring line tensions (using chain-jacks attached to the mooring lines), to move horizontally and to position itself over wells at some distance from the main platform location. The first production SPAR was the Keer-McGee\'s Neptune, anchored in 1,930 ft (590 m) in the Gulf of Mexico; however, SPAR (such as Brent SPAR) were previously used only as FSOs ENI\'s Devil Tower located in 5,610 ft (1,710 m) of water, in the Gulf of Mexico, was the world\'s deepest SPAR until 2010. The world\'s deepest platform is currently the Shell\'s Perdido SPAR in the Gulf of Mexico, floating in 2,438 meters of water. It was built at a capital expenditure of $3 billion In 2012, Aker Solutions has been awarded a FEED (front-end engineering and design) contract from Statoil to design the world\'s largest SPAR platform for the Aasta Hansteen field development in the Norwegian North Sea.
Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage : Definition: Steam Assisted Gravity Drainage is a process to produce oil from tar-sands. Comments The SAGD process has been developed in Ontario, then in Alberta by Imperial Oil (ExxonMobil) in the years 1970s. Canada holds the most important reserves of extra heavy crude oil, also called bitumen. For years multiple experiments had been attempted to make this extra heavy crude oil technically recoverable, then economically viable. The SAGD process is based on horizontal wells being drilled in parallel at a distance of 4 to 6 meters above each other. In the upper well, the operating companies inject steam at high pressure which has the effect to make melting the oil contained in the sand. In melting from the sand the extra heavy crude oil goes down in the ground and then is collected few meter below by the lower well. This lower well is then pumping this melted oil up to the surface. At this point the oil is mixed up with the sand dust and water coming from the steam condensation and present naturally in the Canadian underground. Thus the surface facilities will have oil/sand/water separation units and waste water treatment units. During this operation, gas are released, especially methane and carbon dioxide, that need to be captured and treated. SAGD depends on energy and water If the concept of the SAGD process looks pretty simple, its implementation requires key elements: energy and water. The SAGD process needs massive quantity of energy to produce the steam. Using the oil to generate this steam should be counter productive, so all alternative source of energy have been considered including solar, windmill and nuclear. Nuclear has been quickly left aside, far before Fukushima disaster, because of the lack of water needed for the cooling while water is precisely the other critical resources needed to produce steam in quantity. For instance the energy is developed from the fields of natural gas in Alberta and in British Columbia. Regarding the water, all the SAGD facilities include large water re-cycling units in order to minimize the toll taken from the natural water reserves. Between 2005 and 2010, the water consumption in the SAGD process has been divided by three. From the early days of the SAGD in the 70s, the technology has improved significantly so that today, the recovery rate in some reservoirs may reach 70% or 80%. At these early days the barrel price was fluctuating around $10 to $20 per barrel while the cost of the oil produced from SAGD was running around $80 per barrel. But since then, both curves crossed each other where the oil price is now cruising around $100 per barrel and costs have been divided by two. Technically and economically the SAGD is recognized as a viable solution as long as it also integrates all the environmental constraints. It has contributed to help Canada to revise its proven reserves of oil to 179 billions of barrels, close behind the number one, Saudi Arabia.
Subsea Electrical System : Definition: Subsea Electrical System refers to all the solutions to transport and distribute electrical power from the land or an Offshore operating unit, such as platform or FPSO, to supply seabed operating units like compressors, pumps, valves, etc... Comments: Normally electricity and water do not fit too well together, so it may look strange to consider such solutions using an entire Subsea Electrical System. But the costs of the platforms or FPSOs are pretty high and only affordable for large offshore fields and we know that around these large fields there are numerous pockets of Oil & Gas that could be developed as soon as an economical solution could apply. That is where the Subsea Electrical System finds its first application to explore all the satellites reservoirs around a platform or a FPSO. If the distance is today economically limited to 50 - 100 km around the source of supply, technically the engineers can go much further. In practice it means that in extending this distance it become possible to develop offshore fields only from shore. But there are also other applications coming up, as in Norway where the hydro power can provide all the energy needed to develop Oil & Gas fields without producing CO² emissions. So not only the Subsea Electrical System would reduce costs but in addition it would contribute to produced clean Oil & Gas. Another interesting situation is where the oil fields produce a lot of associated gas like in pre-salt reservoirs in Brazil. This gas cannot be just flared any more and pipeline or floating LNG remain at high costs. Then a solution is to use it on site to produce power and then supply the Subsea Electrical System