Technology provider ABB said Nov. 20 it has proved the world’s first subsea power technology system, following the completion of a 3,000-hour shallow water test at a sheltered harbor in Vaasa, Finland.
The feat could be a game-changer for oil and gas players with subsea developments seeking to improve power capabilities and free up space on rigs housing diesel and natural gas generators to power operations.
“Energy companies will be able to access a reliable supply of up to 100 megawatts of power, over distances up to 600 kilometers and down to 3,000 meters water depth, at pressures that could shatter a brick,” the company said in a news release. “This is all achievable with a single cable with little or no maintenance for up to 30 years, making oil and gas production feasible in far out and deep ocean environments.”
ABB said its subsea power distribution and conversion technology powers pumps and compressors on the seabed. The technology can also connect to any power source.
It could also save money, while reducing risks by having fewer people offshore, according to ABB.
“Based on a specific field development case, the new technology could offer capex savings of more than $500 million, if eight consumers, such as pumps or compressors, are linked through a single cable over a distance of 200 km from other infrastructure,” the company said in the release.
The accomplishment is the result of a $100 million research, design and development Joint Industry Project between ABB, Equinor, Total and Chevron that began in 2013.
“It is the result of intensive collaboration by over 200 scientists and engineers from ABB, Equinor, Total and Chevron in a multi-year, joint effort,” Peter Terwiesch, president of ABB’s Industrial Automation business, said in the release.
“Moving the entire oil and gas production facility to the seabed is no longer a dream. Remotely operated, increasingly autonomous, subsea facilities powered by lower carbon energy are more likely to become a reality as we transition towards a new energy future,” Terwiesch added.
The complete subsea power distribution and conversion system includes a step-down transformer, medium voltage variable speed drives and switchgear, control and low voltage power distribution, and power electronics and control systems, ABB said.
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While Aker initially aimed to tie in discoveries in a wider area to its planned Pecan production systems, it had failed to obtain changes in regulation that would facilitate such an approach, the company said.