Statoil is the latest addition to a Joint Industry Project (JIP) attempting to revolutionize subsea boosting pumps.
Ask an equipment manufacturer for cheap, light, and strong, and most will tell you it can't be done. Fuglesangs Subsea, project manager for the JIP, will tell you otherwise.
«We think we've cracked the code,» says CEO Alexander Fuglesang. «This project has the potential to deliver improvements in all 3 areas: cost, weight, and reliability.»
Statoil joins Aker BP, Lundin, and National Oilwell Varco in the DEMO2000 JIP. The project aims to bring the Fuglesangs Subsea Omnirise single-phase booster to market by early 2019.
«Once we eliminated the single biggest problem with subsea pumps, all the other pieces fell into place,» Fuglesang says. That problem was the mechanical shaft seal, the source of 70% of subsea pump failures.
Dynamic shaft seals not only fail all too frequently, they also require a constant flow of so-called barrier fluid, supplied by topside hydraulic equipment and delivered through umbilical lines that can stretch over many kilometers. Traditional variable speed drives also add considerable weight and volume topside, with projected subsea versions looking equally as bulky.
The Omnirise system gets rid of all these elements by employing a patented Hydromag Drive Unit, essentially a combination of a fixed low-speed subsea electric motor, a variable-speed torque converter, and high-performance magnetic coupling. The improvements deliver benefits throughout the system,» says Fuglesang, «from eliminating the weakest link and reducing topside and subsea equipment, to enabling cost-effective, standardized and highly modular boosting units.»
In CAPEX alone, Rystad Energy has estimated that Omnirise can provide savings of NOK 150 million on a single-well boosting installation, compared to conventional boosting systems.
With the risk of barrier fluid leakage eliminated, Omnirise promises environmental improvements as well. OPEX is also reduced, with less topside equipment to maintain. And when combined with Seabox, a proven water filtration system, Omnirise can be installed as a fully subsea solution.
«Omnirise is already less expensive, more flexible, more reliable and more environmentally friendly than traditional solutions,» concludes Alexander Fuglesang.«With Statoil's decades of experience in subsea boosting, the JIP now has the expertise and the muscle to make a good system even better, and roll it out to a global market.»