ABB wins $24 million marine order to power deep sea exploration vessels

Efficient propulsion and electrical systems for ships that locate hydrocarbon deposits beneath the sea floor

Zurich, Switzerland, June 22, 2011 – ABB, the leading power and automation technology group, recently won a $24 million order to supply electrical power and propulsion systems for two next generation ‘Ramform’ vessels, capable of three-dimensional (3D) seismic data acquisition for sea bottom resource exploration.

The ships will be constructed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, and delivered to Norway’s Petroleum Geo-Services ASA (PGS), a leading company in marine seismic and reservoir data acquisition, processing and analysis/interpretation services. Oil and gas companies then use this data to explore for hydrocarbon accumulations, to develop new oil and gas fields, and to manage their producing fields.

The ‘Ramform W-class’ vessels are the newest generation in the Ramform series, featuring advanced 3D seismic data acquisition/analysis capability. At 104 meters long, the ships will feature an exceptionally wide breadth of 70 meters. For quiet operation, they will feature diesel electric main propulsion.

ABB will supply an advanced complete power and diesel electric system package, consisting of medium voltage switchboards including power management systems, generators, transformers, frequency converters and motors. The systems will provide reliable and fuel efficient propulsion for the ships.

“ABB has been one of the key suppliers for power and diesel electric systems for this unique vessel series since they were first developed,” said Veli-Matti Reinikkala, head of ABB’s Process Automation division. “This latest order reinforces our successful working history of helping to efficiently power these highly specialized ships to keep them on the cutting edge of the marine industry.”

With delivery due in 2013, the Ramform W-class vessels will employ multiple streamer cables, each several kilometers in length, towed from the vessel's stern. The cables will contain a vibration sensor (‘hydrophone’) to detect echoes of sound waves emitted from sound sources and bounced back from the sea bottom and stratum boundaries. The echoes are used for 3D seismic analysis, to determine geological composition and natural resource location.

ABB ( is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 124,000 people.

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