In trying to foretell what might be required for the future we face an almost impossible task, in that our perceptions are inevitably strongly influenced by today's prevailing conditions One year ago "today" was $30 a barrel and in the UKCS deepwater production was just around the comer "Today" is now $15 a barrel with deepwater production moving somewhat further into the future, and efforts tending to be focussed more on how to develop existing hydrocarbon reserves in shallower water at minimum cost.
The task is exacerbated by trying to decide where shallow water actually ends and deep water begins For these reason this chapter will not be too constrained by the "deep water" label but will talk about subsea and modularization in a broader sense It will discuss some of the key issues and technologies that are playing an important role today and are seen as requiring further development and Improvement for tomorrow
The chapter attempts to be wide-ranging and to give indications as to the fields of activity where developments will be needed, rather than talking in detail about one or two specific examples of modular equipment, to a large extent this will have been covered by the preceding contributions As it is a form of "crystal ball gazing" it will inevitably be generalist in nature, although particular examples will be given where possible Nevertheless, these will be mainly for illustrative purposes and in many cases are in hand already They should therefore not be used as a "shopping list".
In keeping with the theme of the conference, the chapter is structured such that the types of modules that might be used are discussed first, followed by a review of some of the general issues which influence the choices to be made However, the framework is mostly a matter of convenience to give a vehicle for raising some of the issues and Inevitably most of the discussion will be covered in the earlier sections The later ones will be used as a "catch all" and an opportunity to re-emphasise some of the points which will have already been raised in earlier presentations
It is first useful to consider three broad categories
(or, if preferred, maxi-, midi- and mini-modules) The dividing lines between these categories are somewhat grey and, indeed, equipment modules might contain retrievable components, and systems modules might contain equipment modules Nevertheless, there are some distinctions between these groups which can be used in subsequent discussions.
Table 1 gives some suggested examples of what might appear in each category.
In thinking about systems modules we are concerned primarily with how we might develop any given hydrocarbon prospect. In addition to the subsea orientated examples given m Table 1, this will also involve a consideration of the merits of platform systems (be they fixed, compliant or floating), well completions, export systems etc These can be packaged together in a number of different combinations to give various filed development options.