Offshore Technology Research Center


OTRC Project Summary

Project Title:

Alternatives for Transporting Associated Gas from Deepwater Gulf of Mexico Developments

Prinicipal Investigators:

E. G. Ward


Minerals Management Service

Completion Date:

December, 2006

Final Report ID#

A171(Click to view final report abstract)


Complete a technical assessment of alternatives for handling associated gas produced from deepwater oil developments.

Associated gas must be produced and transported to shore. Currently, the only viable technology for handling associated gas is to process and transport the gas is a separate pipeline. Some deepwater fields, particularly those with smaller reservoirs or those located far from existing infrastructure, are not economically viable under this requirement, thus reducing potential domestic oil production.

This study will assess alternatives to either the production and/or transportation of associated gas. The assessment would include alternatives that are presently available as well as promising technologies now under development, and provide comparison of alternatives presently available and those that are expected to be available 5 years and 10 years in the future.


Alternatives for handling associated gas production would be identified, characterized, and assessed. Alternatives considered will include export via pipeline (current base case), gas reinjection for later recovery; delayed gas production; processes such as LNG, GTL, CNG and export via shuttle tanker; conversion to products (e.g. methanol) for transport via ship; generation of electricity for transmission to shore; conversion to other forms of energy for use offshore or transport to shore. Other promising technologies now under development may also be included.

The assessment will address advantages/disadvantages, safety, efficiencies, economics, & technical maturity (present, +5 years, and + 10 years).

This study would be conducted through a series of workshops involving the oil and gas industry, government agencies, oil and gas processing companies, and other appropriate industry expertise. OTRC will organize and manage a project team that includes expertise in the following areas: petroleum engineering (TAMU PE department); process engineering (consultant); and workshop planning and facilitation (consultant). Government agencies will include the MMS and others with regulatory responsibilities and/or subject matter expertise. The Offshore Operators Committee will act as a focal point for organizing and coordinating industry input and expertise. Industry contributions to this study are expected to be “in-kind” contributions of staff time and information. OTRC will endeavor to reach a consensus between the regulatory agencies and the industry on the assessment of each gas-handling alternative.

The final results will be documented in a final report prepared for the MMS. The results will also be presented to the industry and other interested parties and stakeholders in a suitable public forum.


Scope of Work: A steering committee will be formed to develop a detailed plan for the study. The steering committee will include representation from the OTRC, TAMU PE department, process engineering consultant, workshop facilitator, MMS, OOC, and several members from the oil and gas industry. The detailed plan will include:
· Gas handling alternatives to be considered.
· Detailed basis and common measures or metrics to be used in assessing the advantages/disadvantages, safety, efficiencies, economics, risks, & technical maturity of the various alternatives. A common economic model will be developed and used in this assessment.
· Objectives, processes, and general plans for the various workshops and forums that will gather information and develop consensus assessments on the various alternatives review the overall results
· Presentation of final results to the all interested parties.

The detailed plan will also include a budget for the overall project. Industry funding (e.g. API) may be sought to supplement MMS funding.

The detailed plan will be presented to all interested parties in a suitable public forum to obtain further input, interest, and support for the study.

Hold workshops on the various alternatives.

Anticipated Results: Final report and presentation to the industry and other interested parties and stakeholders in a suitable public forum

Related Publications: Alternatives for Transporting Associated Gas from Deepwater Gulf of Mexico Developments (2005); E.G. Ward, A.J. Wolford, M.B. Mick, W. Hauser, A.J. Verret, and L. Tapia; OTC Paper 17389, 2005 Offshore Technology Conference, May

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