Equinor to deploy Optime Subsea ROCS for Irpa natural gas field well completion campaign offshore Norway

March 22, 2024

(WO) – Optime Subsea has been contracted by Equinor to deliver two Remotely Operated Control Systems (ROCS) for use at the operator’s Irpa field development.

(From left to right) Jan-Fredrik Carlsen, CEO; Trond Løkka, chief innovation officer; and Torfinn Kristensen, chief commercial officer, together with a ROCS unit.

The latest award comes only three months after Equinor ordered a ROCS for use at its Rosebank field, west of Shetland, UK.

Optime Subsea's ROCS eliminates the need for both the umbilical, which traditionally connects the surface to the seabed for controlling the tubing hanger in subsea well completions, and the topside hydraulic control unit. This innovation not only cuts costs but also reduces the amount of deck space required for these operations.

Utilising ROCS also creates HSE benefits as the system reduces the need for personnel in the red zone on the rig. Further, it provides operational and financial benefits through faster installation and subsea well completion operations. This innovative approach holds particular value for deepwater fields such as Irpa.

“We are seeing that ROCS is gradually becoming the new standard for well completion operations due to substantially lower capex, opex and smaller environmental footprint compared to conventional systems,” says Jan-Fredrik Carlsen, CEO of Optime Subsea.

Optime Subsea will manufacture the two ROCS systems at the company’s headquarter in Notodden, Norway, and deliver them to Equinor’s offshore base at Sandnessjøen in North Norway in 2025. Optime Subsea has not disclosed the value of the contract.

Equinor will use one system for a well completion campaign at Irpa that is planned for 2026, while the other will be a back-up system.

Irpa, formerly called Asterix, is a natural gas field a depth of approximately 1,350 m in the Norwegian Sea, 340 km offshore Bodø, North Norway. Irpa will be developed as a tie-in to the Aasta Hansteen FPSO.

“We said in January, when we were awarded the ROCS for the Rosebank field, that we hoped that this marked the beginning of an exciting collaboration between Optime Subsea and Equinor. We look forward to proving the many benefits ROCS bring at the Irpa field development, and to cooperating with Equinor on another project,” says Trond Løkka, chief innovation officer at Optime Subsea.

ROCS details. When completing subsea wells, the tubing hanger is placed on top of the wellhead, as a seal towards the rest of the subsea well.

Normally, the tubing hanger is controlled through a dedicated hydraulic umbilical, which adds a large 20-30 ft control container. When running the umbilical, it is also clamped to the tubing for increased stability.

ROCS replaces these operations by remotely controlling a controls unit toward the wellhead. This allows for safer, simpler and more efficient operations.

ROCS is mobilized in a single basket, prepared and made up onshore, allowing it to be ready to run immediately when offshore, from a rig. Avoiding mobilization of 50+ tonnes of topside equipment

The ROCS is 100% universal and can be applied to any type of subsea well.

Lead image: The Aasta Hansteen platform in the Norwegian Sea, west of Bodø (Photo: Woldcam)

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