Subsea processing pushes the limits of production technology

Challenging operating environments are pushing the technology limits of subsea processing. Pierre Laboube of French company GE Oil & Gas talked about his company's strides in subsea processing at the Offshore West Africa Conference & Exhibition in Abuja, Nigeria, on March 22.

Offshore staff

ABUJA, Nigeria -- Challenging operating environments are pushing the technology limits of subsea processing. Pierre Laboube of French company GE Oil & Gas talked about his company's strides in subsea processing at the Offshore West Africa Conference & Exhibition in Abuja, Nigeria, on March 22.

Laboube shared some milestones in subsea processing technology, beginning with the design of the first compressor in 1987 through the 2004-2006 debut of the integrated motor compresor design.

Laboube also discussed GE's work on the design of the subsea compression unit that will be used to produce the Ormen Lange development offshore Norway. "Combining subsea experience and new technologies, GE Oil & Gas supports the new challenging projects," Laboube said.

The components of a standard subsea system, Laboube said, include an onshore or offshore facility, power umbilicals, high-voltage connectors, subsea transformers, frequency converters, subsea valves and flowlines, and a compression station.

Design is critical because once the system is deployed, it needs to be able to work without significant maintenance for an extended time. "A subsea processing system needs to be able to work continuously," Laboube said.

Laboube summarized the progress GE has made in developing subsea systems and discussed some of the environmental limitations the company is working to overcome with its subsea equipment as the industry moves into the Arctic and other harsh operating environments.

3/22/2007

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