ABB power-from-shore technology delivers clean power to offshore platform through innovative cable connection

2015-11-30

Traditionally, offshore platforms generate their own electricity by burning fossil fuels to run onboard gas turbines and/or diesel-powered generating units. An alternative is to supply offshore installations with electricity from the mainland using a power cable transmission system.

By replacing onboard power generation from natural gas or diesel fuel, a power-from-shore solution can eliminate carbon dioxide emissions. It also offers space, weight and environmental benefits.

ABB delivered the world’s first power-from-shore solution in 2003 for the Abu Safah oilfield, 50 kilometers (km) off the Saudi Arabian coast, and in 2005 the company delivered the world’s first power-from-shore solution using a high-voltage direct current (HVDC) power transmission system – a 70 (megawatt) MW link to Statoil’s Troll A oil and gas platform, about 70 km off the west coast of Norway in the North Sea.

In 2010, ABB delivered the world’s first power-from-shore dynamic alternating current (AC) cable connection, providing Statoil’s Gjøa floating oil-and-gas platform with 40 MW of electricity over a 101-km long cable system that is fed power from the Norwegian mainland grid. And now, ABB has successfully completed and commissioned another cable system as part of the Norwegian grid - this time connecting Goliat, a floating, production, storage and offloading unit (FPSO) at an oil field in the southern Barents Sea, with the mainland, 80 km away.

The high-voltage power-from-shore cable system offers a number of advantages. It can reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the platform by an estimated 50 percent.

The 75 MW high-voltage AC three-core cable system includes a 104-km long static cable section on the sea floor lowered in 350 meters of water, and a 1.5-km long dynamic cable section that enables the customer, Eni Norge, to use renewable hydropower generated on the mainland. The high power rating enables an increased energy supply if needed, so Eni Norge can provide power for additional fields in the future using the same cable system.

Goliat’s dynamic cable section hangs in the water between the platform and the seabed. It must withstand substantial mechanical stress from currents, waves and the vertical movement of the platform. An important feature is the innovative corrugated metal sheath that can sustain fatigue over time and is designed to operate for Goliat’s full production life under high-stress conditions.

The cable underwent extensive testing, with simulated loading, laying and usage under extreme conditions, including fatigue tests involving several million bending repetitions in the mechanical laboratory. After that, it was tested in the high voltage laboratory according to industry standards.

ABB’s high-voltage cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) submarine cables feature low electrical losses and have an excellent tensile strength, making them ideal for use in harsh marine environments. The Goliat cable system is another example in ABB’s long history of bridging technology gaps to meet pioneering market demands.

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