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Conceptual Engineering

After feasibility has been confirmed and a base field development plan outlined, the conceptual engineering phase can start. The purpose of the conceptual engineering phase is to establish an optimum solution to take forward to the Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) phase. Conceptual engineering is divided into concept development and concept selection. Concept development involves developing ideas, options and alternatives - with the objective of ensuring that all options/opportunities have been identified and developed. Concept selection involves studying, screening and re-analyzing options until it can be justified and demonstrated which of the concepts should be selected.

Conceptual Engineering

The challenge during the conceptual engineering phase is the large number of conflicting issues which impact on the attractiveness of an option. Thus, there is a great need for vigorous optimization during conceptual engineering.

Integrated Optimization Framework

EPCONSULT is expert in Conceptual Engineering Studies and we have developed an in-house tool for the conceptual engineering phase named Integrated Optimization Framework (IOF). IOF was developed with the objective of making the conceptual engineering phase simpler and more focused. At the end of a concepts study, the IOF provides an audit trail that demonstrates and justifies the concepts that were screened out and the concept that was selected.

The IOF involves the following study features:


  • Different engineering disciplines
  • Technology
  • Operations
  • Maintenance
  • Integrity
  • Schedule
  • Resources


  • Technical
  • Economical
  • Commercial
  • Organizational
  • Political


  • Cost Engineering (CAPEX and OPEX)
  • Life Cycle Costing (LCC)/NPV, UTC
  • Benchmarking
  • Inflation, discount rate, hurdle rates, insurance, uncertainties, etc.

During the IOF process our highly skilled teams of engineers and consultants will make use of workshops, work-sessions and desktop analysis.

Our Approach

A conceptual engineering study that makes use of our IOF approach takes the following form in an iterative approach:

  1. Initiation: Data gathering and discussions. Setting objectives and boundaries with client. Establishing critical success factors (CSF).
  2. Conceptual Development: Making use of client data and information and our internal experience this task will develop the best technological options and alternatives for project development, taking into account optional drainage scenarios, production facilities, business risks, etc.
  3. Facilities Definitions: The objective of this step is to establish initial sizing of main equipment for the different concepts and to spot key issues with different concepts.
  4. Value Engineering: Value engineering workshops are commenced at an early stage with the objective of stimulating creative thinking with a 'blue-sky' approach. The value engineering workshops address functional design, value creation, risk analysis, cost estimation and options screening.
  5. Desktop Analysis: Following each workshop, the many issues, ideas and concerns will be addressed at EPCONSULT's office. Different types of engineering analyses and risk and costing analyses will be performed to sum up workshop findings and draw main conclusions. The workshops, together with the follow-on analyses, will screen out most of the options, and only leave a few preferred alternatives open for the next steps.
  6. Risk Assessment: Having carried out the value engineering analysis and eliminated options and alternatives, a comprehensive risk assessment workshop is carried out for the options still under consideration (see Business Risk Assessment).
  7. Desktop Analysis: Treatment and analysis of the outcome from the risk workshop: The value engineering findings and the risk assessment findings will start to present a clearer picture as to the conceptual options still in the 'running'.
  8. Economics: The previous phases of value engineering and risk assessment focused on cost engineering, CAPEX estimation and financial risks. This phase will use that information together with operational expenditures for the different options still in the running and will use other financial indicators and techniques to calculate the NPV or UTC on the basis of a life cycle costing (LCC) analysis (see Cost and Economics Optimization)
  9. Recommendation: At this stage of the conceptual engineering phase there will have been enough assessment and analysis carried out to recommend a conceptual solution to take forward to Conceptual Design. The Conceptual Design will be completed with the objective of creating a solid base for FEED.

A good example of a conceptual engineering study is the integration of an offshore satellite field into an existing hub.

We would consider a large variety of features of the new satellite field, including anticipated reserves in place and fluid properties. Subsequently different conceptual solutions could be analyzed, e.g. standalone platform with processing only, processing and quarters, processing and quarters and drilling, unmanned, etc, with infield pipelines to the hub or to an adjacent export pipeline. Alternatively, an all-subsea development concept could be considered, with subsea tie-back to an existing export pipeline or the existing hub, considering a number of solutions such as injection/controls umbilical, pipe-in-pipe, bundles etc., and defining required additional processing facilities/capacity on the existing platform.

Please contact us for a discussion of how we may be able to help you with any aspect of your conceptual engineering activities.

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