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OTC Technology Review: Siemens

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Oilfield Technology,

The Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), held each year in Houston, Texas, US, is one of the world's leading upstream oil and gas events. Before OTC 2020 was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Oilfield Technology contacted a range of key players in the upstream industry and asked for their insight on the latest technologies that were due to be showcased at this year's OTC.

In this submission, Petter Johan Dramstad, Siemens, Norway, looks into a wet mate connector system designed to enable subsea power distribution.

The SpecTRON 45 connector is a 26/45(52) kV wet mate connector system that is designed to enable subsea power distribution to multiple consumers such as power grids, pumps, and compressors. It is qualified to the Subsea Electrical Power Standardization (SEPS) SP-1001 Penetrators and Connectors standard, which aims to reduce the costs of subsea field developments by bringing greater uniformity to the planning and execution stages and minimising the duplication of engineering efforts.

Figure 1. Misalignment mate/de-mate testing of SpecTRON 45 connectors.

The connectors are ready for deepwater deployment and are rated for water depths of up to 3000 m. It is a key enabler of numerous subsea applications, including long step-out subsea compression, and deepwater direct electrical heating (DEH). The high voltage and current rating of the connector provides the opportunity for commonality between the primary and secondary elements of a subsea transformer. This reduces the cost of mating tools, protective caps and test equipment, thus improving the economics of using wet mate connectors, which can often be cost-prohibitive.

Key features and benefits include:

  • A common module interface that reduces lead times for module penetrations and allows for simple verification testing.
  • A quick connect that enables reliable onsite termination; no gel or oil fills are required while terminating.
  • First power distribution connector in the world to be qualified to SEPS SP-1001.
  • A low mating force.
  • A metallic compensation system that increases long-term robustness.
  • Subsea protective caps that minimise the cost of additional connectors and associated intervention.
  • A modular design that provides the ability to scale subsea systems and quickly meet new customer requirements.

The future of oil and gas recovery involves accessing many reserves that are in deep- and ultra-deep waters. Subsea power distribution has the potential to fundamentally transform the way offshore operators develop these fields by lowering both CAPEX and OPEX – especially for long tiebacks and for marginal and dispersed fields. It also improves the economics of tying into onshore power grids. Qualification of the first HV wet mate connector further advances these concepts and supports operators as well as growing ambitions to develop subsea production and processing facilities.

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