Subsea variable speed drive passes shallow-water test

The first full-scale prototype of a subsea variable speed drive has been successfully tested in a sheltered harbor in Vaasa, Finland. Statoil has awarded new subsea maintenance framework agreements to Aker Solutions, TechnipFMC, and OneSubsea with a combined value of more than $969 million. Ashtead Technology has completed a subsea laser scanning project for Subsea 7 on Chevron’s Captain field in the UK central North Sea using Newton Labs’ M210UW and M3200UW systems.

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The shallow-water test in proved that the electronic and power components can meet the thermal performance demanded. (Image courtesy ABB)

The first full-scale prototype of a subsea variable speed drive (VSD) has been successfully tested in a sheltered harbor in Vaasa, Finland. The test is the latest in a five-year joint industry project (JIP), which started in 2013, between Statoil, Total, Chevron, and ABB. The JIP aims to develop transmission, distribution, and power conversion systems for subsea pumps and gas compressors operating in water depths up to 3,000 m (9,842 ft), transmission distances up to 600 km (373 mi), and power levels up to 100 MW.

Over three weeks last November, the subsea VSD, designed for subsea gas compression, was operated in a back-to-back configuration directly with the grid, without motor loads. This so-called “power-in-the loop” test, means that only a few hundred kilowatts of losses need to be supplied from the grid.

“The water test was carried out successfully and achieved all the set targets,” said Bazmi Husain, ABB’s chief technology officer. “We have demonstrated the successful and reliable operation in a number of high stress conditions. This achievement underlines our ability to push technology to its limits.”

The subsea VSD features a pressure compensated design, whereby all its power components are cooled by being submerged in oil. The water test proved that the electronic and power components can meet the thermal performance demanded. Prior to the water test, the main drive sub-assemblies and components were pressure tested at 300 bar (4,351 psi) in Statoil’s R&D facility in Trondheim, Norway.

Taking power distribution from onshore to the seabed frees up the limited space on topsides installations. Costs are reduced by having one cable that is distributed to many subsea loads. Operational costs are reduced, energy and CO2 emissions are lowered, while marine pollution is cut and decommissioning simplified, according to ABB.

The JIP is now preparing for a 3,000-hour shallow-water test of a subsea power system with two variable speed drives in a parallel, combined with subsea switchgear and controls. This test is targeted to start later this year. The first installation of the new subsea power systems in offshore production sites are expected to begin in 2020.

Statoil extends subsea equipment/service arrangements

Statoil has awarded new subsea maintenance framework agreements to Aker Solutions, TechnipFMC, and OneSubsea with a combined value of more than NOK8 billion ($969 million). These extend current arrangements until 2023, with further extension options totaling 20 years. If these are exercised and all aspects of the assumed work scope are performed, the total value could reach NOK40 billion ($4.84 billion).

The agreements concern the supply of equipment to Statoil-operated subsea wells on the Norwegian continental shelf, and maintenance of equipment on more than 500 wells and onshore. This includes wells planned in developments of the Johan Castberg and Snorre Expansion projects in the Barents Sea and North Sea.

Most of the onshore maintenance work will be at the Ågotnes Base outside Bergen, and at the Polar Base in Hammerfest.

Aker Solutions’ services agreements, related to both bases, cover subsea lifecycle services, including offshore installation and retrieval of equipment, maintenance, engineering, and operations support.

Newton Labs, Ashtead collaborate on subsea laser scanning project

Ashtead Technology has completed a subsea laser scanning project for Subsea 7 on Chevron’s Captain field in the UK central North Sea. It used Newton Labs’ M210UW and M3200UW subsea laser scanning systems. Ashtead designed and engineered deployment tools that allowed the scanning systems to capture accurate images at water depths of 110 m (361 ft) using divers.

The program included an internal casing inspection and a horizontal mapping survey to capture more than 100 short- and long-range scans. This allowed Ashtead to generate a 3D model of the structure with what the company claims was sub-millimeter accuracy.

This was Newton Labs’ first subsea project using its recently launched M3200UW laser scanner, designed to operate with either a scanning or a fixed laser line to measure underwater objects to 0.02 mm accuracy.

It is ROV or diver-operable, and fitted with a high-resolution camera, allowing data to be streamed live, in real time. The scanner is also said to provide detailed underwater inspection and measurements by means of optical triangulation. The projected laser line sweeps the target surface and the high-resolution camera captures and records the visual data to create a point cloud 3D model.

MacGregor to provide moorings for Bangladesh FSRU

Summit LNG Terminal Co. has contracted MacGregor, part of Cargotec, for the fabrication, engineering, and project management of a complete subsea mooring and riser system. The MacGregor system, which includes Flintstone mooring connectors, will serve Summit’s floating storage and regasification unit (FSRU) in Bangladesh. Delivery is expected in 4Q 2018.

This order is part of a project to support Summit LNG Terminal’s development of Bangladesh’s power-supply infrastructure. The FSRU is expected to be ready for operation on the site during 1Q 2019.

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