The Oil & Gas subsea market requires innovative technologies to enable economically viable developments, in particular by maximizing the utilization of available assets, through new field tie backs to existing host facilities, and by enhancing the production of already producing fields. This poses a series of challenges, namely:
Reducing the required topside space.
Handling very long step-outs.
Increasing the oil recovery factor.
Ensuring flow assurance in critical conditions.
This can be obtained with the aid of subsea processing technologies.
Saipem has focused, over the last few years, on the development of subsea separators and, in partnership with Total and Veolia, of a subsea water treatment and injection process, composed of several modules and requiring a certain amount of new subsea technology (subsea barrier fluidless water injection pumps, filters, special water analyzers, etc.).
One of these technologies is the all-electric subsea control system. The all-electric solution was selected as opposed to the electro-hydraulic for its inherent capability to:
enable long step-out distances
run logics such as sequences and fast closed control loops involving subsea proportional valves
manage high frequency of simultaneous valve actuations
implement safety functions even SIL certified, when required.
Within the ongoing industrialization programme of the new technologies, Saipem has signed a Joint Development Agreement with Siemens for the qualification of the open framework platform for the control of subsea processes.
The Saipem and Siemens JDA activity has already concluded the Q1 qualification tests of components according to API 17F. Q2 tests of assemblies are currently ongoing.
The qualification will be completed by first half of 2019.
The subsea control system to be installed on subsea processing plants shall be of improved performances with respect to the standard subsea production control system and an "All Electric" solution was deemed the best technology to achieve enhanced performances.
After a deep market screening about all electric subsea control system solutions, the necessity of a new development arose due to specific subsea processing requirements.