Subsea is a general term frequently used to refer to equipment, technology, and methods employed to explore, drill, and develop oil and gas fields that exist below the ocean floors. This may be in "shallow" or "deepwater".

Deepwater is a term often used to refer to subsea projects located in water depths greater than 1,000 feet, and may incude floating drill vessels, semi-sub rigs or Semi-submersible Platforms.

"Shallow" or shelf" is used for shallower depths and can include standing Jackup Rigs or similar.


Subsea production systems can range in complexity from a single satellite well with a flowline linked to a fixed platform, FPSO or an onshore installation, to several wells on a template or clustered around a manifold, and transferring to a fixed or floating facility, or directly to an onshore installation. [ API Recommended Practice 17A]

Subsea production systems can be used to develop reservoirs, or parts of reservoirs, which require drilling of the wells from more than one location. Deep water conditions, or even ultradeep water conditions, can also inherently dictate development of a field by means of a subsea production system, since traditional surface facilities such as on a steel-piled jacket, might be either technically unfeasible or uneconomical due to the water depth. [ API Recommended Practice 17A]

Subsea hydrocarbon (oil and gas) extraction has an exceptionally safe record and has been going on for approximately 100 years. The first subsea well was actually in a Lake - one of the Great Lakes in the USA and was in only a few feet of water.

Oil and gas fields reside in deep water and shallow water around the world. When they are under water and tapped into for the hydrocarbon production, these are generically called subsea wells, fields, projects, development, or other similar terms.

The development of subsea oil and gas fields requires specialized equipment. The equipment must be reliable enough to safe guard the environment, and make the exploitation of the subsea hydrocarbons economically feasible. The deployment of such equipment requires specialized and expensive vessels, which need to be equipped with diving equipment for relatively shallow equipment work (i.e. a few hundred feet water depth maximum), and robotic equipment for deeper water depths. Any requirement to repair or intervene with installed subsea equipment is thus normally very expensive. This type of expense can result in economic failure of the subsea development.

Remotely Operated Vehicles

Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV's) are robotic pieces of equipment operated from afar to perform tasks on the sea floor. ROV's are available in a wide variety of function capabilities and complexities from simple "eyeball" camera devices, to multi-appendage machines that require multiple operators to operate or "fly" the equipment.


A number of professional societies and organizations are involved with the subsea industry around the world. Such groups include Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE), American Petroleum Institute (API), American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), National Association of Corrosion Engineers (Nace).

Government agencies administer regulations in their territorial waters around the world. Examples of such government agencies are the Minerals Management Service (MMS, US), Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD, Norway), and Health & Safety Executive (HSE, UK). The MMS administers the mineral resources in the US (using Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)) and provides management of the country's hydrocarbon resources.


ee also

*Christmas or Xmas tree
*Oil well

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Subsea 7 — Rechtsform Inc. Sitz George Town, Kaimaninseln …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Subsea 7 — Infobox Company company name = Subsea 7 Inc company company type = Public foundation = 2002 location = George Town, Cayman Islands key people = Kristian Siem (Chairman of the board), Mel Fitzgerald (CEO) area served = industry = Offshore… …   Wikipedia

  • subsea — /sub see , sub see /, adj. occurring, working, etc., under the sea or ocean: a subsea specialist in oil rigs. [SUB + SEA] * * * …   Universalium

  • subsea — adjective Beneath the sea; submarine …   Wiktionary

  • subsea — sub·sea …   English syllables

  • subsea — ˈsəbˌsē adjective Etymology: sub + sea : submarine, undersea …   Useful english dictionary

  • Subsea Marker — Subsea markers are passive identification markers used under water to identify equipment. As sub sea equipment may be covered in underwater growth like seaweed, kelp and algae, special non fouling materials are necessary for equipment marking to… …   Wikipedia

  • subsea pipeline — трубопровод, проложенный по дну моря или под дном моря …   Pipeline dictionary

  • DOF Subsea — ASA Type Public Industry Subsea Headquarters Bergen, Norway Area served Global Key people Stephen Brown (CEO) Helge Møgster (Chairman) …   Wikipedia

  • SUPER SUBSEA —   An EUREKA project on standardized modular subsea production systems …   Glossary of the European Union and European Communities