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Why Subsea Production & Processing? (B-FSM-173)

I’ll start this series with a brief discussion on why does the oil & gas industry use subsea production and processing. We will be driving towards the effects of sand on this infrastructure after coving some background information.

Reduce cost of field development

  • Do not need manned, surface-access, air-breathing facility
  • Tie in step-out or marginal or nearby field
  • Ideally, eliminate all water-based structures (fixed and floating) and bring hydrocarbons to shore for processing

Level 1: Production

  • Wellhead and flow line
  • Bring all fluid phases to central/onshore processing plant with natural flow

Level 2: Production w/ Energy Addition

  • Wellhead, flow line, and multiphase pump
  • Energy added to fluid phases to enable sufficient flow rate for economic development

Level 3: Production w/ Processing

  • Wellhead, flow line, multiphase pump, and production separator
  • Separation needed to remove bulk of free liquid phase
  • Free up volume in pipeline and reduce amount of energy required to move liquid phase (e.g., no need to pump water to surface)


  1. Rawlins, C.H. and Ditria, J.C., 2019. “The Subsea Sand Management Challenge – What to do with the Sand?”. Offshore Technology Conference, Houston, TX, 6-9 May, OTC-29278-MS. https://doi.org/10.4043/29278-MS
  2. Rawlins, C.H. 2019. “Enhanced Production Through Surface Facilities Sand Management.” SPE Distinguished Lecturer presentation. Link here
  3. eprocess-training.com

Next week I will discuss some specific unit operations in subsea processing.

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