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Perdido Development: Subsea and Flowline Systems

G.T. Ju, H.S. Littell, T.B. Cook, M. Dupre, K.M. Clausing, E. Shumilak, and W.W. Schoppa, Shell International
Exploration and Production, Inc., and W.A. Blizzard, Seahorse Deepwater Technology, Inc.

Copyright 2010, Offshore Technology Conference

This paper was prepared for presentation at the 2010 Offshore Technology Conference held in Houston, Texas, USA, 36 May 2010.
This paper was selected for presentation by an OTC program committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper have not been
reviewed by the Offshore Technology Conference and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material does not necessarily reflect any position of the Offshore Technology Conference, its
officers, or members. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper without the written consent of the Offshore Technology Conference is prohibited. Permission to
reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words; illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of OTC copyright.

Perdido is located in the Western Gulf of Mexico in 7,817 feet of water. It is being developed with cutting-edge subsea
technologies to mitigate the projects key development challenges, which include extreme water depth, rugged seafloor
terrain, low-pressure reservoirs, and aggressive hydrate formation tendency.
This paper provides an overview of the Perdido Development subsea and flowline system and its associated flow assurance
strategy. This paper also includes reviews of the design, fabrication, and installation of key subsea equipment such as twophase separators, subsea trees, manifolds, top-tensioned production risers, umbilicals, and flowlines. In particular, the two
enabling subsea technologies, subsea boosting system and surface Blow-Out Preventer (BOP) for drilling and completing of
subsea wells, are discussed.
Unique features of the Perdido subsea system include:
All wells are subsea (wet trees operated by umbilicals) and consist of 22 local Direct Vertical Access (DVA) wells
and 12 offset wells.
The subsea DVA wells are drilled, completed, and intervened through a single high-pressure drilling/completion
riser and a surface BOP with the host rig.
All production will flow from manifolds into five subsea boosting systems where gas will flow naturally to the
topside facility, while liquids will be pumped using electrical submersible pumps (ESPs).
The Perdido Development, jointly developed by Shell, BP, and CVX, includes the Great White, Silvertip, and Tobago fields
and is located in the Perdido Basin and Foldbelt, in the Alaminos Canyon Protraction Area. This area is located in the
western Gulf of Mexico, 200 miles south of Freeport, only eight miles north of the Mexico maritime border. All three fields
are developed with subsea wells tied back to the host, which is a Spar with full offshore processing capabilities and pipelines
for export.
Significant challenges associated with development of these fields include:
Extreme water depth Water depth at the three fields ranges from 7,800 to 9,600 feet. This extreme depth
represents significant installation, operation, maintenance and flow assurance challenges.
Problematic seafloor terrain In addition to the Perdido Canyon, faults, and significant chemosynthetic
communities, the rugged seafloor terrain in this area includes geologic features such as fluid expulsion, seafloor
erosion, and steep slopes. These seafloor features make the subsea equipment layout and choice of host location
extremely challenging.
Distinct fluid properties The reservoirs of these three fields consist of three different oil-bearing formations,
Oligocene (Frio), Upper Wilcox (WM-12), and Lower Wilcox (WM-50) with fluid properties ranging from 17 to 40
API and gas/oil ratios from 350 to 2,600 scf/bbl.
Low-temperature and low-pressure reservoirs The reservoirs exhibit characteristics of low temperature and low
pressure. As a result, a novel subsea boosting technology was required to ensure the deliverability of the reservoirs.

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Market condition The project was sanctioned when the industry experienced an active market condition, which
made on-time delivery of equipment and an accurate cost estimate of the project exteme difficult.

In order to overcome these challenges, the Perdido Development is using cutting-edge technologies that include wet-tree
direct vertical access (DVA) wells and a unique subsea boosting system for artificial lift. The development system also
incorporates a high-pressure single-bore top-tensioned riser with surface BOP, for drilling/completion of the subsea wells.
Unique features of the subsea system are as follows:

All wells are subsea (wet trees operated by umbilicals) and consist of 22 local DVA wells and 12 offset wells.
A compact 6-slot Spar equipped with a platform rig will drill and complete the DVA wells and process production
from all wells, as compared to the conventional dry tree DVA technology requiring 22 slots, and thus a larger host.
The DVA wells will be drilled, completed, and intervened through a single high-pressure drilling/completion riser
with the host rig through a surface BOP system, using only one of the six well bay slots.
Production from both the offset and DVA subsea wells is commingled through dual-header manifolds. All
production then flows from manifolds into five separation and boosting systems where gas flows naturally to the
topside facility and liquids are pumped using powerful electrical submersible pumps.

Subsea Layout
The Perdido Development consists of three different fields, Great White, Tobago, and Silvertip. The development has four
major subsea clusters as illustrated in Figure 1. The field layout is based on a subsea wet-tree direct vertical access (DVA)
concept with additional subsea tiebacks from offset wells. The concept provides for rig access to a maximum number of
subsea wells while minimizing the size of the host platform. The following is a description of the unique characteristics of
the four clusters:
DVA Cluster:
The DVA Cluster was configured for the development of the majority of the Great White anchor reservoir, as shown in
Figure 2. This cluster is directly beneath the host facility and its arrangement can accommodate up to twenty-two subsea
wells. These wells are to be drilled, completed and intervened by the Spar rig (H&P 205) through a high-pressure
drilling/completion riser and a surface BOP system. In order to accommodate DVA to the wells and the subsea boosting
equipment in this cluster, all equipment was placed within a 175 ft radius circle.
All DVA production is commingled and collected at two dual-header manifolds. The manifold is also designed for the
tie-in of flowlines from the offset well clusters. The production then flows from each manifold into two separation and
boosting systems (SBSs) at the base of top-tensioned risers where gas flows naturally to the topside facility, while liquids are
pumped using high horsepower electrical submersible pumps. A detailed description of the subsea boosting system will be
given in later sections of this paper.
Southwest Cluster
The Southwest Cluster is approximately three miles southwest of the DVA Cluster. This cluster consists of three
production wells and two water injection wells. Fluid from the production wells is commingled and flows to the north
manifold at the DVA Cluster through a single 10-inch flowline with Glass Sphere (or Syntactic) Poly-Urethane (GSPU)
insulation. The choice of a single flowline eliminated the need for a manifold at the SW Cluster. Instead, a flowline
termination sled with four hubs was used to allow the initial tie-in of the production wells and one future tie-in of a daisychain flowline or an additional well.
This cluster is also configured to accommodate a couple of water injection wells. Water for the injection wells is
provided through a 10-inch water injection line with steel catenary riser from the host. Similar in layout to the production
wells, a flowline sled is used for distributing water to the SW injection wells while a daisy-chained water injection line to the
DVA Cluster supplies the three water injection wells at the DVA Cluster.
Oligocene Cluster
The Oligocene Cluster consists of two wells that are being used to test a shallow reservoir (2000 feet below the mudline)
in the Great White field. The two wells are located about two miles south of the DVA Cluster and daisy-chained with a
single 8-inch flowline insulated with GSPU. The production is then commingled and flows to the south manifold at the DVA
Regional Cluster
The regional cluster consists of subsea tiebacks from both Tobago and Silvertip fields. Tobago is approximately seven
miles east of the DVA Cluster, and Silvertip is about two miles north of Tobago. This cluster is configured to support a

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maximum of six wells. In phase I, there will be a total of three wells, four from Silvertip and two from Tobago. The two
fields are daisy-chained with a single 10-inch GSPU-insulated flowline, and their production is commingled and flows to a
dedicated subsea boosting system at the DVA Cluster. In order to mitigate the possibility of hydrate formation during an
unplanned shutdown, there is a 6-inch un-insulated oil service line from the host to Silvertip to establish a flow loop for dead
oil circulation when necessary.
Flow Assurance Strategy
Owing to the inherent challenges of Perdido - ultradeep water, low reservoir energy, marginal project economics - flow
assurance was recognized early on by the project team as a critical success factor for this development. In particular,
comprehensive fluid sample analysis and thermal-hydraulic studies were initiated at the onset of the project feasibility
assessment, which enabled key flow assurance considerations to be identified for incorporation into the appraisal well
campaign (for fluid sampling) and the overall concept selection and project execution. Some key elements of the Perdido
flow assurance strategy include:
Artificial Lift
Early thermal-hydraulic studies (Hysys/PipeSim) identified that mechanical artificial lift would be required early on in the
field development, due to the hydrostatic pressure in the riser at this water depth. It was shown that gas-lift was not a viable
option, due to the moderately high GOR of the reservoir fluids, as well as the additional Joule-Thomson cooling occurring in
the riser.
Heat Retention
The central strategy is to maintain temperatures in the subsea system outside the hydrate and wax envelopes during
normal operation, with adequate cooldown time to permit shutdown operations for securing of the subsea system. The wettree DVA concept was a key enabler for this strategy (as compared to a dry-tree DVA concept), in allowing fully insulated
top-tensioned risers and commingled flow with higher production rates per riser.
Single Flowline Operation
Due to the challenging Project economics at the outset, an early risk-based decision was taken to employ single flowlines
for the Great White clusters. Without pigging capability, a wax-in-place strategy was verified by laboratory studies with
WM-12 appraisal well samples, with provision for paraffin inhibitor injection at select subsea trees to treat the SW and
Regional flowlines at lower rates. Analysis showed that wax deposition would not be a challenge for the heavily biodegraded Frio fluids. Anti-Agglomerate Low Dosage Hydrate Inhibition (LDHI) is provided at each well, for hydrate
management during the warm-up of the wellbore and flowlines at start-up, and for pre-treatment for planned shutdown
events. For unplanned shutdowns, the Southwest and Oligocene cluster flowlines can be fully depressurized through the
caissons by blowing down at the host and the minimal gas annulus hydrostatic head. The caisson, collect any liquid
carryover, which may be pumped away by the ESP if desired.
Regional Flowline Operation
The same single flowline strategy is also employed for the Silvertip and Tobago wells, but with an additional uninsulated
oil service line to enable dry-oil circulation and water removal at shutdown. Due to the significant elevation change from the
Tobago manifold at 9625 fsw to the Spar riser base at 7820 fsw, depressurization of this flowline is not possible for
anticipated production conditions.
Riser Operation
The Subsea Boosting System concept affords a number of benefits for riser operation in ultradeepwater, including: (i)
reduced Joule-Thomson cooling of the liquid stream, (ii) beneficial shift of the hydrate curve for the liquid stream due to
degassing, (iii) riser slug suppression, (iv) blowdown feasibility for WM-12 SW and OL-2 flowlines, (v) heating of the
separated gas stream via bundled insulation with the flowing liquid stream, which avoids requirement for continuous hydrate
treatment of the gas stream. Finally, each Caisson contains a downcomer tubing string to enable dead-oil circulation into the
ESP at start-up, and to allow Caisson and riser displacement at shutdown.
Chemical Injection
In addition to the subsea injection of LDHI and paraffin inhibitor mentioned above, methanol injection is included at each
subsea tree for displacement of trees/jumpers and bullheading at shutdown. Provision for downhole scale inhibitor is
included for select wells, to mitigate scaling risks due to waterflood, as well as to prevent scaling on the ESP motor surface,
which could lead to motor overheating. Subsea defoamer injection has been provided into each Caisson, to aid in the subsea

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Subsea Boosting System

Since the reservoirs of Great White, Tobago, and Silvertip all have similar characteristics of low temperature, low pressure,
and are in ultra-deepwater, production simulation indicated that artificial lift was required to ensure reasonable production
rates. Therefore, the need for artificial lift in order to economically develop these prospects was recognized early in the
feasibility assessment phase of the project.
Several subsea artificial lift systems, such as riser base gas-lift, multiphase pumps, two-phase separation with single-phase
pumps, and wellbore pumps were identified as potential lift methods for the above three prospects. A thorough feasibility
assessment of the artificial lift systems was conducted, and the technology gaps for implementing each of them were
A formal system selection process was then implemented. It was determined that a subsea caisson separator and electric
submersible pump (ESP) was the preferred system. This system will achieve two-phase separation with single-phase
pumping. It was also decided that a rigorous technology maturation plan from design, equipment qualification, and a fullscale flow loop test would be carried out to demonstrate the robustness of the system before the project was sanctioned.
Concept Description
The Perdido Subsea Boosting System (SBS) employs a vertical gas-liquid cylindrical cyclonic (GLCC) separator that
achieves two-phase separation as shown in Figure 3. The separator consists of an inlet assembly based on the GLCC
concept, for passive gas-liquid separation, and a 35-inch, 350-foot long caisson inserted into the seabed for liquid retention.
A 1,600 hp ESP is deployed inside the caisson. The inlet assembly is connected to the host through a 14-inch toptensioned riser that contains three separate flow paths. After the production is separated, the liquid drops down to the bottom
of the caisson and the gas flows upward through the outer annulus of the riser naturally. The liquid is then pumped by the
ESP though a 7-5/8 inch tube inside the riser. In order to extend pump life, a 2-7/8 inch tube inside the 7-5/8 inch production
tube enables oil to be recycled down from the topside into the caisson to ensure there is sufficient liquid flow to cool the
pump motor during low flow rate scenarios, such as well ramp-up.
The primary concept behind the GLCC is to separate as much free gas as possible to enhance ESP power efficiency.
However, the ESP is still capable of handling a moderate amount of gas with the liquid. Therefore, the separator is not
required to perform complete gas-liquid separation. The system is also quite efficient in terms of power consumption since
the ESP is primarily used to boost only liquid. Furthermore, this system can accommodate significant variations in fluid
characteristics, such as GOR and water cut, over the life of the reservoir. This robustness of design accommodates significant
sub-surface uncertainties.
Equipment Packages
The major equipment packages for the SBS include foundation, 35-inch caisson, inlet assembly, top-tensioned caisson
riser, electric submersible pump (ESP) with outflow assembly, and flow control assembly. Descriptions of these packages
are provided below and are illustrated in Figure 4.
Foundation and 35-inch Caisson
The foundation consists of two conductors, which serve to anchor the seabed equipment and accommodate loads imparted
by the caisson riser. In addition, the conductors provide a sub-mudline receptacle for the caisson. The caisson is a 345-foot
fully welded fabrication with no threads or seals . The primary function of the caisson is to provide surge volume for the
separated production liquids such that the system will ride through variations in flow caused by flowline slugging. During
steady-state operations, liquid will be maintained at a level to keep the ESP inlet flooded. The caisson diameter and overall
volume are important design parameters to transform wild variations in liquid inflow into gradual level changes, which allow
for smoother ESP operation.
Inlet Assembly
The primary function of the Inlet Assembly (IA) is to receive multi-phase production from the field and separate it into
two streams, liquid and gas. Secondarily, the IA serves to mechanically connect the top-tension riser to the foundation
embedded into the sea floor. The IA receives production via a rigid jumper from either the north or south manifold, or the
Regional Flowline mini-manifold.
The upper end of the IA attaches to the caisson riser with a subsea 18- inch hydraulic connector. Separated gas rises up
through the top of the IA directly into the inner bore of the caisson riser. The lower end of the IA attaches to the caisson with
a 42-inch diameter hydraulic connector. Liquids separated in the IA drop into the caisson along the wall.

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Top-Tensioned Caisson Riser (CR)

The produced gas and liquid flow up from the seafloor through a top-tensioned caisson riser (CR) to the host platform.
The ESP hangs on a tubing string inside the CR and pumps the liquid from the caisson up through this tubing string. Gas
flows under its own pressure in the annulus between this tubing and the CR itself.
The CR outer tubular is 14-1/8 inch diameter and is threaded together using pin and box connectors. The CR is tensioned
utilizing hydraulic tensioners from the Spar host. The upper end of the CR passes upward to a deck within the well bay
where it terminates at the flow control assembly (FCA).
Electric Submersible Pump (ESP) and Outflow Assembly
The ESP and various other mechanical and electrical elements hang freely inside the CR to form the outflow assembly.
Each outflow assembly includes the ESP, liquid production tubing, downcomer string, power and instrumentation cables,
chemical injection tubing, valves, and necessary spacers, pup joints, and centralizers. The main function of the outflow
assembly is to act as an upward directing conduit for the separated production liquids exiting the ESP, and a downward
directing conduit for transferring electrical power, instrumentation, chemicals. In addition, a liquid recycle line is provided
down to the caisson to allow fluid to be pumped from the platform down to the ESP should the need arise. The liquid riser is
a 7-5/8 inch tubing string with all control and power cables strapped to it, and has a 2-7/8 inch tubing string (the downcomer)
passing through it, and stabbed into a receptable at the bottom. The liquid path has a check valve just below the downcomer
exit port, which prevents liquid draining back into the caisson at high rates.
Instrumentation is mounted on the outflow assembly to safeguard the ESP from abuse while providing optimal operating
conditions for the system. These include vibration and temperature sensors near the motor, a flow meter immediately
downstream of the pump discharge, and pressure/temperature gages both above and below the ESP.
Flow Control Assembly (FCA)
The separated production is managed at the host well bay through the use of a series of valves referred to as a flow control
assembly. This assembly is located on the top of the CR and is similar to a boarding valve in operation. It provides on/off
actuation of the production and recycle fluids through utilization of both hydraulic actuated and manual valves. The gas,
liquid, and recycle flow paths are kept isolated from one another through the use of nested tubing hangers inside the body of
the FCA. The FCA outlet flanges direct the various flow streams to their respective topsides separators via flexible jumper
hoses located in the host well bay.
The seabed equipment was installed in five campaigns that leveraged vessels already in the field for Perdido. The
philosophy of being able to install equipment using various methods was incorporated into the installation engineering on
each package. This philosophy provided the project team with the flexibility to fit each installation into an ever-changing
offshore construction schedule and take advantage of windows of opportunity as they arise. In addition, impacts to the
construction schedule due to manufacturing delays were less significant.
The vessels utilized to install each equipment package included:

Noble Clyde Boudreaux, Noble Drilling Services Semi-Sub Moored Drilling Vessel Foundation
Balder, Heerema Marine Contractors Semi-Sub Crane Vessel Caisson, Inlet Assembly
Olympic Intervention IV, Oceaneering International Multi-Service Vessel Guide Funnel for IA
The caisson riser, outflow assembly, and flow control assembly were installed utilizing the H&P 205 rig residing on
the Perdido platform.

Surface BOP for Drilling and Completion of Subsea Wells

As mentioned previously, the wet-tree DVA concept was adopted for the Perdido Development in order to minimize the size
of the host, while maximizing the number of subsea wells with direct vertical access (DVA) from the Spar. For the DVA
subsea wells, drilling, completion, and workovers are performed with a rig located on the Spar. The rig stays in a fixed
position over the dedicated drilling/completion slot, and the host is moved by the active mooring system around the well
pattern to provide vertical access to all the wells in the working area. Significant cost saving are achieved using this
arrangement, compared to using a 5th generation floater to drill and complete the wells in this water depth.
A custom wellhead, riser, and BOP system was developed for this project. The surface BOP (blow out preventer) is a 16-3/4inch 5,000 psi rated stack. It is connected to a top-tensioned, high-pressure drilling and completion riser (DCR). The DCR
was specially designed for this project. It has a 17.25-inch OD and a 15-inch drift, and it is rated for 5000 psi internal
pressure at surface with 10.1 ppg fluid in the riser. Unlike surface BOP operations from floaters, no subsea isolation device

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(SID) will be installed on the bottom of the riser because the Spar rig is considered to be a permanently moored structure and
because the DCR is designed to stay connected during hurricane abandonment.
Well operations are in general very similar to dry-tree DVA wells for most drilling and completion activities (drilling,
running casing, wellbore cleanout, perforating, gravel packing).
The most significant challenge for the completion of subsea wells with a surface BOP is running and landing the subsea
tubing hanger without a subsea isolation devise. The three main issues that needed to be addressed for this operation were (1)
double terminations of the umbilical lines if a surface spanner joint is used, (2) the need to be able to pressure up the annulus
for testing, and (3) the size/weight of a conventional IWOCS umbilical for this water depth. The Perdido solution is a hybrid
configuration in which the IWOCS umbilical is replaced by two six-line flat packs for hydraulic functions and a single TEC
line for the electrical connection. The lines are run with the landing string just like control lines are run with the production
tubing. As a result, no surface spanner joint is required. This setup is illustrated in Figure 5.
Subsea Trees and Manifolds
Subsea Trees
With the water depth at Perdido approaching 10,000 feet, Shells existing first generation standard tree system was not
applicable, since it was rated for only 7,500 feet of water depth. In addition, it was desired to incorporate technology
advancements in seals, actuators, materials, and connectors, as well to have the ability to accommodate a wider range of
deployment and intervention options. As a result, the project team developed an updated standard tree system that
incorporated learnings from previous systems and the latest technologies. Unique features of this updated tree system, as
shown in Figure 6a include:

Rated for 10,000 psi and 10,000 feet of water depth

Retrievable flow module that contains both multi-phase flow meter and choke
Modular design that allows the tree system to be configured differently depending on the functional requirements of
the field
Compact and light weight design that accommodates a wide range of deployment and intervention options

Tree Installation
For the Perdido development, wells were planned to be drilled/completed by one of three methods: (1) moored floaters
with a dual derrick, (2) dynamic positioned floaters with single derrick, and (3) the Spar rig. As a result, several different tree
installation methods were employed, including:

Deployment with drill pipe from the rig For a dual-derrick/dual activity rig, the trees systems were deployed
with drill pipe using the second derrick. The tree deployment was mostly off the critical rig path, which
provided substantial cost savings for tree deployment.
Deployment with heave compensated lift system (HCLS) For a floater with a single derrick, the trees systems
were not installed with a rig, but deployed with an HCLS from an anchor-handling vessel.
Deployment from a platform winch Deploying trees on DVA wells under the Spar was more challenging than
the methods mentioned above, since the Spar rig lacks a moon-pool and has significant constraints on weight and
space. A purpose built traction winch with synthetic/fiber rope, mounted on a small cantilever deck attached to
the upper deck of the Spar, was used for deployment of the trees systems from the Spar.

Subsea Manifolds
For the Perdido development, two production manifolds, as shown in Figure 6b, were located under the host Spar
structure. Each manifold has two main headers and each header is connected to one of the five artificial lift subsea boosting
systems. Round trip pigging capability is not required.
Capability for planned and potential future production dictates the need for connection points on the manifolds. This
includes future DVA well tie-ins, as well as potential flowline sled connections. Both manifolds use an identical
configuration, which includes 10 inlet hubs (eight 5-inch hubs and two 7-inch hubs), providing maximum flexibility for
future production. In addition, the design allows production from any branch hub to be directed to either header for full
operational flexibility.
The manifolds are located in the center of the DVA cluster, surrounded by twenty-two subsea wells, including water
injectors along with production wells. Since all twenty-two wells were batch set before the manifolds were installed, there
was concern about the potential for large mounds of drill cuttings and other debris. As a result, a suction pile was used to

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provide the foundation support, instead of the traditional mudmat in order to minimize the need of an extensive flat level area
with minimum elevation tolerance.
The infield flowline infrastructure includes two 8-inch production flowlines, three 10-inch production flowlines, one 10-inch
water injection flowline, one 10-inch water injection flowline/SCR, and a 6-inch service flowline/SCR. The production
flowlines are coated with 3-inches of GSPU insulation. The water injection lines are internally and externally coated with
fusion-bonded epoxy (FBE).
Intially, twenty-nine jumpers, varying in size and material, connect the wells and other subsea structures to the flowlines.
Each flowline is initiated and terminated with a pipeline end termination (PLET). Fourteen PLETs were required for this.
Each PLET is designed to meet the operational needs of its specific location, consequently most are unique. The PLETs
range in size, measuring up to 51 x 20 x 15 feet and weighing up to 75 tons. The shallow ends of the flowline routes are
located under the host in 7820 feet of water, while a record was achieved with the successful installation of the deepest
flowlines and PLETs in 9790 feet of water.
Due to the extreme water depth, two of the flowlines are shorter than the water depth. This provided unique challenges
because the entire flowline, including both PLETs, was suspended in the water column during installation. Installation stress,
prevention of rotation, and other requirements had to be controlled to ensure the flowlines were installed safely.
In addition to the water depth, design of the flowlines encountered several other challenges, including route restrictions.
Access to the Perdido Spar is limited by the 1000-foot deep Perdido Canyon to the north, chemosynthetic communities to the
south and east, and seafloor features throughout the field. Extensive route surveys were required to establish flowline
corridors from the Spar to the subsea well clusters.
Perdido also presented an opportunity to apply an alternative coating technology for water injection lines. The water
injection flowlines used internal and external FBE coating as an alternative to CRA cladding or polymer lining. After an
extensive testing program, the pipe joints of the injection lines were coated in a new, custom built coating facility. The use of
internal FBE coating for water injection lines provided considerable savings in materials and installation time.
The Perdido pipelines and flowlines required a combination of installation methods to address the challenges. Technical
limitations required both reeled and J-lay (as shown in Figure 7) installation methods for the flowlines and risers. Installation
of the export pipelines, driven by the distance to the existing infrastructure, was feasible only with S-lay. Due to the tight
installation schedule of the Spar, some flowlines were installed on the seafloor below the host prior to the host arrival; and a
few other flowlines, along with SCRs, were installed after the host arrival.
In addition to the technical challenges of extreme water depth and rugged terrain mentioned above, the project team had to
overcome challenges caused by a series of hurricanes and tropical storms during 2008 (Dolly, Ike, Gustave, and the tropical
storm Edouard) that occurred during the installation phase of the Perdido flowlines. The storms not only impacted the
offshore installation schedule, but also caused extensive damage to the onshore infrastructure that supported the offshore
Umbilicals and Subsea Distribution Hardware
The umbilical infrastructure for the Perdido Development is comprised of four dynamic umbilicals from the host platform
to subsea and three static umbilicals between the subsea fields. The umbilicals provide hydraulic fluid, injection chemicals,
power, and communication services to the five subsea fields mentioned above. Figure 8 shows a cross section of the typical
dynamic umbilical.
All tubing in the umbilicals is (12.7mm) ID super duplex steel material rated for a design working pressure of 10,000
psi (690 bar). The umbilical electrical wire is a four wire (quad configuration) that consists of four 6 sq mm conductors per
umbilical electrical line. The electrical lines provide multiplexed power and signal communication between the subsea
control modules and control systems on the host platform.
The umbilicals were delivered on 5 reels and a transport carousel. The installation reels were lifted directly from barge to
a Reel Drive System (RDS) on the deck of the Acergy Polar Queen. The two longest and heaviest umbilicals that exceeded
reel limits were transpooled from the transport carousel on a barge to separate carousels on the installation vessel. Installation
was completed through a Tiltable Lay System (TLS). The four dynamic umbilicals were laid from the subsea termination

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towards the platform and a shallow water cross haul handover was performed to the winch wire from the host to complete
installation of each riser section through the Spar pulltubes in the inner wellbay.
Subsea Distribution Hardware
Subsea chemicals and hydraulic control fluids are transported through the umbilical tubes to the subsea end of the
umbilical, called the Umbilical Termination Head (UTH). Tubes terminate in couplers in Multi Quick Connect (MQC) plates
on each side of the UTH. Each dynamic umbilical is located on a common mudmat (UTA mudmat) with a Hydraulic
Distribution Manifold (HDM). All fluids pass from the UTH to the HDM through a short jumper of steel tubes designated as
an Umbilical Termination Assembly Jumper (UTAJ). This allows the mudmat, with or without the HDM, to be installed
independently of the umbilical. When both parts, the umbilical with UTH and mudmat with HDM are installed, a pair of
UTAJs are installed between them. The HDM has MQC plates along each side for incoming UTAJs and for outgoing tree
Steel Flying Leads (SFLs) or step out SFLs (i.e. SFLs running to the UTH of a subsea static umbilical.) The HDM also has
logic caps that allow plumbing to be outside the HDM for easy re-configuration/re-plumbing later in field life.
Power and data communication to the tree SCM and downstream devices is accomplished through the use of umbilical
electric cables to the UTH. Each cable terminates in a Field Assembled Cable Termination (FACT) and electrical bulkhead
connector on the side of the UTH. An Electrical Distribution Manifold (EDM) is located nearby on a separate mudmat.
Conductors pass from the UTH to the EDM through Electrical Flying Leads (EFL).
The Perdido Development provided an innovative response to a series of significant challenges, such as extreme water depth,
rugged seafloor terrain, and unique reservoir characteristics (with no production analog). To meet these challenges the
Perdido Project Team implemented several novel technologies in conjunction with a unique seafloor layout that allowed
direct vertical access to the majority of wells and subsea boosting systems while minimizing well bay size and flow assurance
risks. In addition to the challenges mentioned above, the Perdido Project Team was also challenged to deliver and install
equipment during a period of heightened industry activity that placed additional strain on cost, schedule, and resources.
The three subsea technologies that had the most impact on the technical success of the project were wet tree DVA, subsea
boosting, and surface BOP. These technologies were integrated into an overall novel system for drilling, completion,
production, and intervention. The wet tree DVA allows direct vertical access to a majority of the subsea wells from the
platform rig to reduce drilling, completion, and intervention costs. The subsea boosting system provides a significant
backpressure reduction on the reservoirs so that the wells can produce at adequate rates. The surface BOP system allows the
use of a lighter riser, and a smaller/less expensive rig (and subsequent smaller platform to support the rig).
For the offshore campaign, the equipment installation method and timing were analyzed early in the project cycle. In order to
minimize vessel standby due to potential late delivery of equipment in an over-heated market environment, the subsea and
flowline systems were designed, to the extent possible, with a flexible installation sequence in mind. This approach allowed
each installation work scope to be placed into various installation windows of opportunity by leveraging the use of vessels
already in the field.
Much of the success in executing the Perdido subsea and flowline work scope was due to the excellent capability and
consistency of the core team members brought onto the project by Shell management. Many project team members started
on Perdido during its early conceptual phase and continued to play key roles through its deployment. This continuity in
personnel throughout the project phases enhanced the team members awareness of basic principles, understanding of critical
issues, openness to new thinking, willingness to correct course, and attention to detail. Maintaining personnel continuity
during a period of heated industry activity was as significant a success as overcoming the technical challenges.
The authors would like to thank Shell, CVX, and BP management teams for their permission to publish this paper and their
encouragement and support for implementing the novel technologies at Perdido. The authors would also like to acknowledge
the dedication of Perdido Subsea and Flowlines Team members and the high quality performance of many vendors,
fabricators, and installation contractors. Because of the contribution from these unnamed individuals, we were able to
successfully execute this challenging project.

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Figure 1 Subsea Clusters

Figure 2 Schematics of DVA Cluster


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Makeup oil

Flow Control Assem bly





Inlet Assem bly

Electrical Submersible Pump

Figure 3 Schematics of SBS Concept




Figure 4 Illustration of Major SBS Components

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Figure 5 Schematic for Installing Subsea Tubing Hanger with a Surface BOP

Figure 6a Subsea Tree

Figure 6b Subsea Manifold


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Figure 7 Jay Operation

Figure 8 Typical Cross Sections of Umbilicals and SFLs