DW: Cost pressures drive subsea equipment evolution

The subsea sector is highly consolidated with just five players servicing the $12 billion annual requirements of the global E&P community, Douglas-Westwood, an energy intelligence group, has said in its DW Monday report. 

DW explained that the two largest, FMC and OneSubsea, account for approximately two-thirds of the market but despite this, have shown no signs of resting on their laurels, forging strategic partnerships to reshape and redefine the commercial landscape. According to DW, this has become increasingly critical as projects have grown in scale and complexity.

Recent years have seen a shift in focus from mechanical tree designs towards value added instrumentation, monitoring and processing technologies. DW said that the joint venture between Cameron and Schlumberger to form OneSubsea in 2013 is a deliberate attempt to unite the former’s subsea skill with the latter’s downhole and processing expertise. Likewise, the recent partnership between FMC and Technip to form Forsys Subsea, combines subsea production, processing and installation capabilities, minimising both supply chain and technological interfaces for the end user.

Ultimately, DW noted, E&P companies have been gradually moving from a ‘pick and choose’ approach, to procuring systems from a single vendor. DW data suggests that 15 years ago, nearly a fifth of subsea wells installed had different manufacturers for the trees and controls.

DW predicts that, in 2015, it is expected that over 95% of subsea trees installed will have wellheads and controls from the same manufacturer. The intelligence group consluded that this trend is set to develop further with an appetite for standardisation of subsea equipment that has been driven by cost pressures, lower oil prices and the subsequent need to deliver projects on-budget, on-time.

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