Statoil and ABB have entered an agreement to develop solutions for subsea electrical power transmission, distribution and power conversion systems for water depths down to 3,000 metres and over long distances.
The agreement is in the form of a cost-shared joint industrial programme (JIP) led by Statoil on behalf of other participating oil companies, with ABB as the technology developer. The agreement follows a large subsea electrification study executed jointly by Statoil and ABB during 2012.
“The JIP will develop technologies needed to provide electrical power to subsea pumps, electrical submersible pumps and subsea gas compressors for projects on the Norwegian continental shelf, in the Gulf of Mexico and other places around the world,” says Statoil senior vice president for research, development and innovation Karl Johnny Hersvik.
Subsea pumping and gas compression contribute to improved utilisation of the oil and gas resources through higher recovery rates, reduced production costs, as well as enabling deep water production. “A cost-efficient and reliable power supply system is a key element for Statoil’s ‘subsea factory’,” says Hersvik.
Subsea electrical power distribution enables supply of all electrical loads using one single power cable. This greatly reduces the investment cost of the electrical system compared to existing solutions, which require one dedicated cable for each consumer (pump or compressor).
Cables constitute a major cost driver for subsea processing systems, and cable cost can be significantly reduced by subsea power distribution. The cost reduction depends on distance and required electrical power. For example, in a case with eight consumers and a distance of 200 kilometres from infrastructure, the electrical power distribution solution would reduce capital expenditures by more than USD 500 million.
The technology will also enable the transmission of electrical power over long distances. This is important for the development of remote fields located far from infrastructure, including Arctic areas. The total cost for the programme, which has a duration of five years, is USD 100 million, including ABB funding.