OE15: OneSubsea president talks industry technology

Audrey Leon

September 2, 2015

Ahead of next week’s SPE Offshore Europe 2015, Audrey Leon spoke with OneSubsea’s Don Sweet about how he got into the industry and what technologies he’s keeping an eye on.

Sweet. Image from OneSubsea.

Math and science got Sweet, OneSubsea president – integrated solutions & sales, into oil and gas. He tells us more.

Q. How did you get into oil and gas?

A. I received a Bachelor of Science degree in Petroleum Engineering in 1983. Since 1980, during my studies, I worked in the field for Amoco Production Company over the summer months. Upon graduation I was hired by Schlumberger, where I have been employed for the last 32 years.

Q. What upcoming projects are you excited to begin and why?

A. One of the most interesting projects is for the Statoil Gullfaks field, where OneSubsea has deployed the industry’s first true subsea wet gas compressor, the WGC4000. This technology development began several years ago and everyone involved is looking forward to commissioning the multiphase compression system, which is scheduled to take place in the latter part of 2015. This is a key industry milestone and many operators are paying close attention because of the advantages of multiphase compression in a subsea environment. In addition to this, OneSubsea was recently awarded the SPS FEED for the proposed WEL Browse FLNG development offshore Western Australia. We are excited to execute the FEED study in order to design the most cost-effective subsea production system for this major development.

OneSubsea’s multiphase compressor on the quayside in Norway earlier this year. Image from Statoil. 

Q. What technologies are you keeping an eye on?

A. Subsea processing technologies (boosting, multiphase compression). With more subsea developments planned for deeper waters and longer tiebacks, these technologies are true enablers and mission critical. OneSubsea is working closely with many operators—utilizing our experience from more than 30 projects worldwide—to continue expanding the operating range to handle even the most difficult environments. The integration of technologies is also important, for example combining a subsea production system with boosting and in-well artificial lift with a single control system. Technology developments that can reduce the cost of intervention also is important.

Q. What advice do you have for students considering a career in oil and gas?

A. Oil and gas developments are becoming more technically challenging, particularly in deepwater. These challenges create opportunities for individuals and companies, some of which we cannot even imagine today. The best piece of advice I can give is to remain flexible in the type of position you are willing to accept and be ready to relocate in order to gain experience.

Q. With respect to the downturn, are you still hopeful about the future of the offshore industry, and that of the UK, in particular?

 A. Absolutely. The offshore industry and the production from subsea developments remain a key strategic pillar of growth for many IOCs, NOCs and Independents. The industry cost base will adjust and activity will rebound on the UK Continental Shelf and in other offshore regions as it has done in the past. However, to become an even stronger industry operators and equipment and service providers need to collaborate more, drive innovation, and adopt new technology at a much faster pace than what has been done in the past.

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