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Subsea variable speed drive completes successful 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, taking the vision of an all-electric subsea processing facility one step closer to reality. A variable speed drive is needed to boost the productivity of oil and gas processes and improve energy efficiency, while providing the highest reliability.

The test is the latest in a five-year Joint Industry Project (JIP), 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 at depths of 3,000 meters and over vast distances. By providing the large power needs closer to the reservoir, production improves due to the increased flow and pressure of the stream. 

The subsea variable speed drive, designed for subsea gas compression, was operated, over three weeks in November 2017, 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," says ABB's CTO Bazmi Husain. "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 of 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 test, the main drive sub-assemblies and components were pressure tested at 300 bars in Statoil's R&D facility in Trondheim, this test performed to demonstrate that the drive can tolerate a pressurized environment. 

"This is a major milestone in solving such a grand challenge. It takes technology from the laboratory to the field in a structured qualification and pragmatic process, via prototypes and multiple demonstrations," says Bazmi Husain. 

Taking power distribution from onshore to the sea bed, with up to 100 MW capacity being transmitted some 600 km, frees up the limited space on topside installations. Costs are reduced by having one cable that is distributed to many subsea loads. Furthermore, operational costs are greatly reduced, energy and CO2 emissions are lowered, while marine pollution is cut and decommissioning simplified. 

A highly complex system in such an extreme environment must be reliable and designed for long life with minimum, if any, intervention for maintenance or repair. "We have to prove to our customers that the entire installation is going to be ultra-reliable because pulling up equipment from 3,000 meters costs a lot of money," explains Per Erik Holsten, managing director of ABB's Oil, Gas and Chemicals business.

This team is pushing the boundaries of traditional product development, specifically to attain the highest possible reliability. In addition, to ensure a cost competitive subsea processing facility, the installation needs to be low weight and small to enable simplified logistics. 

Following the success of the test, 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, targeted to start late 2018. The first installation of the new subsea power systems in offshore production sites are expected to begin in 2020.

"While these technology developments and the project progress relies heavily on experience, know-how and an ability to deliver, the critical element is the collaboration between all joint industry project members. It is enhanced by regular and deep partner involvement which operates at multiple levels," explains Per Erik.

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Price fluctuations, shale gas success shift market dynamics: Frost & Sullivan

The global oil and gas market is currently witnessing a dynamic shift in the trade flow of many refinery products. While the dip in crude oil prices is forcing major suppliers to look toward diversifying their oil and gas portfolios to include refinery products and petrochemicals, the success of shale gas and oil in the US has created self-sufficiency and is pushing the market toward increased exports. Demand, driven by Asian countries, and implementation of regulations related to sulphur and other pollutants, especially in the developed economies, are further factors affecting supply and demand and the long-term product trade flows across the globe. 

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GM Canada announces funding to promote STEM opportunities for girls

GM Canada is teaming up with educational institutions near its Markham campus to encourage girls to consider STEM careers.

At the official opening of GM Canada's new Canadian Technical Centre (CTC) in Markham, the company announced the GM Canada STEM Fund, a C$1.8 million commitment for educational programs to encourage students in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) and inspire the next generation of Canadian technology innovators.

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Drilling & Production
Asset Management

ExxonMobil, Magnabond agree on development targeted at cementing, decommissioning and more

ExxonMobil, Magnabond agree on development targeted at cementing, decommissioning and more

ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company announced that it has signed a three-year joint development agreement with MagnaBond, LLC to develop new technologies that could enhance cost-effective evaluation of well cementing, casing and tubing. The agreement was facilitated by the Industry Technology Facilitator as part of its initiative to address challenges associated with well decommissioning activities such as plugging and abandonment.

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Pipelines

Service starts at Base Line Terminal, Kinder Morgan Canada reports

Service starts at Base Line Terminal, Kinder Morgan Canada reports

Kinder Morgan Canada Limited has started service service for the first four of twelve crude oil storage tanks at Base Line Terminal, a 50-50 crude oil merchant terminal joint venture with Keyera in Sherwood Park, Alberta (near Edmonton). The remaining eight tanks at the facility, all twelve of which are fully-contracted with long-term, firm take-or-pay agreements with creditworthy customers, are expected to be phased into service throughout 2018.

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Software & IT

White paper discusses best practices for ICS cyber security

White paper discusses best practices for ICS cyber security

Bedrock Automation, the maker of the world's first Open Secure Automation (OSA) platform, has released an informative white paper on the cyber security vulnerabilities and defense of industrial control systems. The 20-page document, Securing Industrial Control Systems - Best Practices, covers the threat landscape and presents a holistic approach to defending it, including assessing risk, physical security, network security, workstation and server security, as well as the fundamentals of OSA.

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2019 Silverado boasts 450-pound weight reduction, improved bed strength and increased cargo volume

The all-new 2019 Silverado Work Truck features a “CHEVROLET” graphic across the grille and tailgate, blacked-out trim and 17-inch steel wheels for maximum durability. The interior features durable vinyl or cloth seats and 7-inch colour touchscreen.

Chevrolet introduced the next-generation Silverado on January 13, exactly 100 years after the brand delivered its first trucks to customers in January 1918. According to the company, the all-new Silverado sets the course for the next century of Chevy Trucks with the most functional bed of any full-size truck, weighs up to 450 pounds less for increased performance, and offers a broad range of trims and engine/transmission combinations to help each customer find their ideal truck. 

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Instrumentation, Systems & Automation
Software & IT

Emerson SolaHD power supply upgraded for more connectivity and wider application range

Emerson has announced a major upgrade to its SolaHD SDN 40-24-100C 40A DIN rail power supply that doubles the number of terminals available for improved connectivity to power multiple devices, while also stepping up its heat rating to expand the number of types of hazardous environments where the power supply can be deployed.

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Ford launches first-ever F-150 Power Stroke diesel

Full-size diesel truck fans have reason to celebrate this year as Ford delivers the first-ever F-150 Power Stroke diesel with a targeted EPA-estimated 30 mpg highway rating, a best-in-class 11,400 pounds of towing capacity and 2,020 pounds of payload capacity, plus best-in-class diesel 250 horsepower and 440 lb.-ft. of torque.

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Software & IT

Ultra-rugged enterprise handheld

The new NAUTIZ X9 from Handheld Group is an ultra-rugged enterprise handheld built for fieldwork in the most challenging outdoor or industrial environments.

The Nautiz X9 Android handheld is targeted for industrial and field applications where reliability is critical and ruggedness is key. Offering a complete and unique set of features, the fully rugged Nautiz X9 can be used as a mobile computer, data collector or field controller. It offers:
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  • GPS/GLONASS capabilities standard.
  • Optional high-quality, high-speed 2D imager.
  • Dual cameras including 13-megapixel rear-facing with autofocus and flash, and 2-megapixel front-facing.
  • 4G/LTE Android phone functionality.
  • Google GMS for Google Maps navigation and Play Store app access.
  • A sunlight-readable 5-inch capacitive display with multi-touch sensitivity.
  • IP67 ruggedness rating for waterproof, dust-tight performance.

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Instrumentation, Systems & Automation

Well-logging gas analyzer combines two instruments into one

Baseline, the industrial analyzer group within MOCON, Inc. and a leader in instruments used to test, measure and analyze gases, has introduced the latest addition to its PetroAlert Series gas analyzers. The new Series 9200 PetroAlert gas analyzer combines the selective detection of a gas chromatograph (GC) with the continuous monitoring abilities of a total hydrocarbon analyzer (THA) in a single, compact, sensitive and stable instrument.

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Drilling & Production
Industry News

Encana reports strong finish to 2017, anticipates continued growth in 2018

Encana reports strong finish to 2017, anticipates continued growth in 2018

Encana delivered strong performance through the fourth quarter of 2017 to close another year successfully executing its strategy, delivering significant oil and condensate growth and driving additional efficiency gains, the company reported in a summary of the year. Supported by the strong finish to 2017, the company states it is firmly on track to meet or exceed the targets in the five-year plan shared at its Investor Day in October 2017.

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