Offshore/subsea systems

BSEE Policy Change Would Allow Longer Tieback Extensions

BSEE said details of the policy change will come later this year.

Illustration of subsea pipelines
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The US may implement changes to let companies operating in the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) lengthen extensions to offshore well tiebacks.

US Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) Director Scott Angelle said the agency is looking at a policy change that can improve subsea tiebacks and investment in GOM for the future, according to Reuters. He added that more details will be available later in the year. BSEE is also examining whether the oil-producing platforms are being fully utilized.

Developing technologies such as subsea boosting, distributed and local heating, and water treatment and injection could support changes in tieback length and increase overall cost effectiveness.

Currently there are 1,782 platforms in GOM of which approximately 42 are active deepwater platforms, according to BSEE. Companies generally drill new wells within about 25 to 30 miles of existing platforms and connect the wells with tiebacks.

GOM crude production averaged 1.9 million B/D in 2019, reaching a high of 2 million B/D in August 2019, according to Energy Information Administration data. Since then, production has dropped to 1.6 million B/D in May 2020.