Executives see the future of offshore and it is standardized

Deep-water drillers, fighting to stay alive in a world of $50 oil, are looking to science to do more than just cut costs, save time and boost oil production. They want to standardize technology.

British oil giant BP has used its supercomputer to detail the subsea earth and identify what now looks like 1 billion barrels of previously hidden oil across four fields in the Gulf of Mexico. The Houston-based oil field services contractor Baker Hughes has a new, more universal tool for deep-sea hydraulic fracturing, announced Monday, that has already saved about 25 days of rig time and $40 million on one well in the Gulf of Mexico, the company said.

And Houston offshore specialist Dril-Quip has adopted aerospace techniques to build a new subsea wellhead – the structure over the oil or gas well – that will take two or three days less to install on the ocean floor. The savings? At least $1.6 million each time, the company says.

“There’s a lot of effort in the industry to standardize designs, standardize materials, to make things less expensive,” said Marcus Smedley, vice president of sales and marketing at Dril-Quip.

Offshore oil companies are preaching a new gospel: The days of bespoke solutions to every single deep-water project are over.

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