Traditionally, deep-water exploration and production projects are not known for being small scale, fast or budget-friendly. The price crash of 2014 forced big oil to become cost conscious and make changes that are detailed in Wood Mackenzie’s report,The Deepwater Cost Curve: revisited in November 2018. Notable reforms include adopting an industrial approach to field development, in which standardization and modularization replaced customization, and automation introduced additional speed in the deepwater sector.
Design changes, including greater use of subsea tiebacks, and reformed work practices have reinvented this sector by sharply reducing costs, increasing productivity and field development speed. In the process the closer collaboration between operators and field service contractors has generated environmentally-friendly technology solutions. These major reforms have revived interest in deepwater projects and enabled new projects in high cost oil-producing regions including the North Sea, the Gulf of Mexico and China Seas.