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This article, written by JPT Technology Editor Judy Feder, contains highlights of paper OTC 29550, “ABB Subsea Power JIP—Going the Distance,” by Stian Ingebrigtsen, Svein Vatland, John Pretlove, and Henning Nesheim, ABB, prepared for the 2019 Offshore Technology Conference, Houston, 6–9 May. The paper has not been peer reviewed. Copyright 2019 Offshore Technology Conference. Reproduced by permission. A joint industry project (JIP) comprising ABB, Equinor, Total, and Chevron, is developing technologies for subsea power transmission, distribution, and conversion. The output will form a critical part of future advanced subsea-field developments. Begun in 2013, the project reached a major milestone in late 2017 when the first full-scale prototype of the variable-speed drive (VSD) passed a shallow-water test (Fig.•1). Final preparations are now underway for a 3,000-hour test of the complete subsea power system with two VSDs in a parallel configuration combined with subsea switchgears and controls.•The complete paper highlights elements of the technical development and an overview of the primary building blocks of the system, and presents in detail some of the challenges in developing, designing, and testing the•control system. Introduction A subsea power transmission and distribution system will enable an entire oil or gas production system to be placed directly on the seabed, allowing expansion of development to deeper and more-remote locations while yielding cost and safety benefits from reducing significantly, or even eliminating, the need for topside installation. The JIP is developing three products for the system: Subsea VSD Subsea medium-voltage (MV) switchgear Subsea control and low-voltage (LV) distribution Providing a technical solution that is realistic, possible to engineer, tolerant of extreme environments, and reliable in its performance presents a significant challenge. The equipment—the MV switch-gear, control and LV distribution, and the VSDs—must be able to run without intervention for many years. The equipment is qualified for water depths to 3000 m and will have capacity of up to 100•MW with a transmission distance of up to 600 km. The primary focus thus far has been to qualify the basic building blocks to serve the typical voltage and power ratings for subsea processing. All project-qualification activities follow the recommendations and technology readiness level (TRL) stages defined in DNV Recommended Practice (RP)-A203, applicable for components, equipment, and assemblies in hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation offshore. This RP provides a systematic approach to ensure that the technology will function reliably within specified limits, and it provides a common understanding and terminology of technology status and risk management. Other important aspects of the RP include the ability to identify required design changes at an early stage and to improve confidence in the new technology by close interactions and traceable•documentation. To ensure compact and reliable solutions, oil-filled pressure-compensated tanks are used for enclosure of the VSD and switchgear. All components are tested extensively under the full pressure they will experience at the target water depth. A high-level objective of the project is to design the equipment to minimize production downtime and the number of retrievals.
ABB is running a joint project with Equinor, Total and Chevron to develop technologies for subsea power transmission, distribution and conversion. The output will form a critical part of future advanced subsea field developments. Started in 2013, the project reached a major milestone in late 2017 when the first full-scale prototype of the variable speed drive (VSD) passed a shallow water test. Final preparations are now underway for a 3000-hour test of the complete subsea power system with two VSDs in a parallel configuration combined with subsea switchgear and controls. The new solution will ultimately mean operators can free up topside space, or use no topside installation whatsoever, yielding significant cost and safety benefits. It is an extremely challenging endeavour, not only due to the harsh conditions to which the equipment will be subjected, but also because of the considerable reliability required. The equipment, the medium voltage (MV) switchgear, control and low voltage (LV) distribution equipment and the VSDs, must be able to run without intervention for many years. The VSD's successful shallow-water test is the subject of a separate OTC paper; here, we present the highlights in the context of the wider project and particularly the steps taken to build confidence along the way that the proposed solution will be fit for purpose when fully launched. Readers will gain insights into the key steps of this cutting-edge project. These include modifying prototypes of the equipment based on rounds of simulations, laboratory assessments (eg accelerated aging, vibration and shock testing) and water testing. As such an undertaking has never been achieved before, it is a journey with considerable learnings to be shared not only upon completion but also en-route. As we approach the goal which is anticipated by the end of 2019, it is appropriate to begin to share what we have learnt as we have been going the distance.
Abstract ABB is running a joint project with Equinor, Total and Chevron to develop technologies for subsea power transmission, distribution and conversion. The output will form a critical part of future advanced subsea field developments. As such an undertaking has never been achieved before, it is a journey with considerable learnings to be shared not only upon completion (anticipated by the end of 2019) but also en route. The paper will describe steps taken to build confidence along the way that the proposed solution will be fit for purpose when fully launched. Readers will gain insights into the key steps of this cutting-edge project. These include modifying prototypes of the equipment based on rounds of simulations, laboratory assessments (eg accelerated aging, vibration and shock testing) and water testing. Insight will be provided on tedious testing and qualification effort required to achieve the technology readiness level (TRL) required. Readers will learn from the challenges experienced in this ground-breaking project and how they were overcome. Insight will be given into the overall challenge of both research/development and qualification of the novel technology developed in the JIP. Findings from testing, including extensive lab testing against industry standards, and the impact on subsequent development will be presented. The paper will eventually share results from extensive joint research work between the partners and ABB. The results are ground breaking and will by the end of the day introduce completely new opportunities for development of subsea fields. As a first-of-kind-project, the results gained, and the subsequent technology developed will be of considerable interest to the industry. By the end of the day, the results from this project will be a key enabler for the subsea factory vision envisioned by the industry.
The journey towards the realization of the subsea factory is well on its way, promising the benefits of subsea processing and production. This "Grand Challenge" places extreme demands on the reliability, uptime and safety of the technology for distributing, delivery and control of the power system. ABB Oil & Gas is running a Joint Industry project together with Statoil, Total and Chevron to develop technologies for subsea power transmission, distribution and conversion at greater distances, in deeper waters, and in harsher environments. The project started up in 2013 and is targeting a 3000-hour shallow-water system test in 2018, including the qualification of pressure tolerant medium voltage switchgear, medium voltage drives, as well as supporting controls and auxiliary supplies. The project budget is in excess of 100 MUSD, funded by ABB, Statoil, Total, Chevron as well as The Research Council of Norway. The target environment is water depths up to 3000 meters, transmission distances up to 600 km, and power levels up to 100 MW. The project follows the TRL development stages for technology qualification applied to components, sub-assemblies and equipment. This is a systematic approach ensuring that the technology will function reliably within specified limits, and it provides a common understanding and terminology of technology status and risk management. Qualification includes extensive testing of components subjected to test conditions derived from a common understanding of realistic component/equipment specific stresses throughout an agreed life-cycle mission profile, with particular emphasis on learning the behavior and limits of different designs. Comprehensive confirmation of the desired function as well as reliability testing is primarily conducted at the level of the component where a functional failure can be defined and accelerated conditions applied. Further, we perform sub-assembly testing mainly geared toward confirming the overall function, design margins, and the thermal and high-current performance. Formal qualification of key components and sub-assemblies is planned for 2017. Based on qualified components, final prototypes will be assembled in 2018 for a 3000 hour shallow-water endurance test and system demonstration. The project passed a decision gate milestone in April 2015, having verified technology concepts as well as TRL2 for key components. Prototypes under development include full-scale subsea drives and switchgear with supporting controls and LV auxiliaries and functional verifications in key ABB factories. During 2016 key prototype designs have been tested and functionally demonstrated over a limited operating range. This paper provides a summary of the current status of the project highlighting the most critical areas for success, such as designing for modularity and the demanding reliability and availability targets, and utilizing the best experts and experience across ABB as well as the participating oil companies.
The use of subsea processing equipment, which maintains, increases and speeds up oil and gas production, is now more and more widespread on offshore subsea oil and gas field developments. Further, there is a strong drive for electrification of offshore fields, both subsea and topside installations, to lower emissions. To meet the technical challenges of these developments, subsea transmission, distribution and conversion electrical equipment are developed through the ABB Subsea Power JIP where ABB, Equinor, Chevron and Total are partners. In 2013, ABB and its Joint Industrial Partners, Equinor, Total and Chevron, began an expansive project to design and test a complete subsea electrification solution for the oil and gas industry. To enable operations at remote locations in ultra-deep waters ABB developed modular equipment - components and assemblies - that integrate to form a subsea electrification system. The system consists of variable speed drives (VSDs), switchgear and a protection and control system for the transmission, distribution and conversion of power to subsea pumps and gas compressors at a peak capacity of 100 MW to water depths up to 3,000 meters; and with transmission distances up to 600km with lifetime requirements for up to 30 years. Topside area is freed, power supply demands and greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.