Fiber connectors have been used in the Subsea Oil & Gas industry for some years. As the hunger for data grows, long step outs become more common and fiber communications in other industries becomes standard, the use of fiber in subsea Oil & Gas fields is set to increase. Whilst the optical loss along the fiber itself is low and the data-collection possibilities are high, these applications, and others besides, will only be fully realised if wet-mate fiber connectors can consistently achieve high optical performance.

A fiber connection is a physical face-to-face alignment of two fiber cores which are typically 9microns (9 thousandths of a millimetre) in diameter. A tiny misalignment, stand-off or particle of contamination at the 9micron connection point could cause an unwanted optical loss. Therefore in order to achieve the required optical specifications, the optical alignment must be extremely precise and the connection must be very clean.

Achieving both of these essential criteria within a wet-mateable fiber connector is particularly challenging. The necessary pressure compensation adds to the size and complexity of the design. Not only do industry specifications require excellent optical performance but the subsea structures housing wet-mate connectors are limited for space, and product cost effectiveness in a competitive market is increasingly important.

Siemens Subsea will demonstrate how the combination of proven subsea connector knowledge, together with a compact & innovative design, modular approach and an emphasis on cleanliness in assembly has been providing consistent and excellent results. The conclusion will provide results and evidence from a thorough Qualification programme which exceeds current industry requirements.

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