John Richardson, Christophe Rojas, and Slim Trabelsi discuss the benefits of an integrated project model for the Anchois gas development
In June 2022, Chariot Transitional Energy announced that it had awarded Schlumberger and Subsea 7, as part of a consortium, a front-end engineering and design (FEED) contract for the Phase 1 Anchois gas development, in the Atlantic Ocean 40 km off the coast of Morocco.
We spoke with John Richardson, Integrated Field Development group (regional manager) for Subsea Integration Alliance, Slim Trabelsi, Anchois project manager for Subsea Integration Alliance, and Christophe Rojas, production facilities sales manager at Schlumberger, about the direction of the project.
Following the February 2021 signing of the collaboration agreement, how have Chariot, Schlumberger, and Subsea Integration Alliance worked together to progress the Anchois development?
: Over the last year, we’ve done a number of studies to firm up some of the technical decisions and budgets. We used Subsea Planner*
collaborative field development solution to investigate different subsea layout options and tieback routes and to look at the best way to configure the system. A conceptual review was subsequently performed using Facility Planner*
production facility design and costing solution to quickly develop a reservoir-informed process facility design driven by the product export specifications and to provide a high-level cost estimate. We explored the concept and the commercialisation routes together, maturing the development concept to the point where we’re confident that we have a robust project that we can now take into the FEED to further mature the design.
How will early engagement benefit the project?
: In a typical engineering, procurement, construction, and installation project, the contractor builds the facility based on the customer’s specifications, then hands over the keys and walks away. By being involved at an early stage, during the pre-FEED and FEED, we can help Chariot develop an agile and scalable design, managing all interfaces from the subsea manifolds to the central production facility, with the optimal process selection, from the reservoir through the offshore scope and to the facility output. From there, we will then be in a position to offer delivery of the full engineering, procurement, fabrication, construction, installation, commissioning, and startup. The collaboration model also envisages Schlumberger operating the facility for a certain number of years before smoothly transitioning it to Chariot, guaranteeing the export specifications of the hydrocarbons, training an operating team that will likely consist of Moroccan nationals, and delivering the required facility uptime. This enables us to fast-track the field development plan economics and derisks the project, including the schedule, capex investment, and opex that will be incurred when the facility is up and running. In addition, during the FEED, we will determine the full budget for the project and facility, which will enable Chariot to proceed with confidence to a final investment decision.
What can you tell us about the concept that was selected?
: For Phase 1, together with Chariot, we selected a lean subsea infrastructure with a low well count, the shortest subsea tieback option, and a lean gas processing facility, with the aim of minimising capital intensity. However, we’ve created a flexible system that can be expanded after the project starts to generate cash flow. There are a couple of different ways for Chariot to commercialise the gas, whether it’s sold to industrial users within Morocco or exported internationally through the Maghreb-Europe (GME) gas pipeline to Spain and into the European market. Those options are still being explored.
This will be Morocco’s first offshore oil and gas development. What are the benefits of the Anchois project to the country?
: One of Morocco’s main targets is to be energy self-sufficient. The country currently imports more than 90% of its primary energy, with 67% of that supplied by coal. As Chariot has noted
, the Moroccan government is trying to improve the security of its energy supply and provide cleaner energy at a lower cost. In late 2021, Algeria ended the export of gas supplies to the country; therefore, the Anchois gas development will be beneficial in providing a clean, transitional energy to support the Moroccan economy.
What are the primary drivers of this project, and how will Subsea Integration Alliance meet them?
Both the timeline—first gas is scheduled for late 2024 or early 2025—and the cost are very important to Chariot. The Anchois project is a straightforward development, and given the time constraint, we’re aiming to use field-proven, standard equipment from OneSubsea®
, the subsea technologies, production, and processing systems business of Schlumberger, and not reinvent the wheel. In one of the studies John mentioned, the alliance’s Integrated Field Development
group identified a couple of long lead items such as the umbilicals and the subsea tree. Given the current market conditions and uncertainties regarding raw material prices and availability, we will revisit that work during the FEED. Potentially there will be a need to be ready to place some orders before the end of this year. But, we want to be able to present Chariot with the actual situation, identify the risks, and provide them with mechanisms to mitigate those risks. We’re going to be with them, to orient them and give them the best options for this project.
What benefits do Subsea Integration Alliance and the integrated project model bring to the Anchois development?
The alliance has become a trusted, industry-renowned supplier of FEED studies, which allow companies to take projects through their investment decision-making process, and then we help them execute on an accelerated program, with reduced risk. By selecting Subsea Integration Alliance and the integrated model early, companies can reduce the time to return on their investment. Also, the way to reduce risk, as an operator, is you bring in experience, you bring in a tier-one contractor, and you run a turnkey solution. In Subsea Integration Alliance, Chariot has somebody they can rely on, and they can assure the Moroccan government that they have someone who can deliver.
Mark of Schlumberger