Subsea electrical power distribution differs from a topside system by being a point to point system with limited routing alternatives. Some deep water oil and gas reservoirs would not have been fully exploited without the help of subsea systems. Subsea electrical power distribution enables supply of all electrical loads using one single power cable. Subsea electrical power distribution system consist of subsea transformer, subsea frequency convertor and installation equipment. To ensure reliability, the equipment is enclosed in a liquid filled tank. Existing electrical power distribution solutions require one dedicated cable for each consumer (pump or compressor). Cables constitute a major cost driver for subsea processing systems and cost can be reduced by subsea power distribution.
The cost reduction depends on the distance and required electrical power. The subsea electrical power distribution technology will also enable the transmission of electrical power over long distances. The subsea electrical power distribution system is important for the development of remote fields located far from the offshore infrastructure. Subsea electrical power distribution system enables to transmit, distribute and control electrical power in the megawatt range. Subsea electrical power distribution system enables electrical power to be transmitted at high voltage and the distribution system to be close to the end consumer. Subsea electrical power distribution system reduces power losses, number of subsea cables and space requirements at the topside facility. Problems caused by harmonics and resonance are reduced as system contain less number of on-load start-up motors.
The share of oil and gas to be supplied from deeper water depths is expected to grow in the coming year due to increase investment in subsea production and processing system. The subsea electrical power distribution system will mark the end for many large offshore platforms and floats. The demand for electrical power for subsea consumer will increase with subsea electrical power distribution system solution. The driving factor in the subsea electric power distribution market is exploration of new oil reservoir in deep water and ultra deep water across the world. Subsea systems minimize environmental risks associated with the production from Arctic region and in deepwater offshore areas. Other driving factors in the subsea electrical power distribution market are; development in deeper water, longer distances, marginal fields and unexplored Arctic fields. Brazil’s interest in deep water and ultra deep water exploration and production activities across the world has increased significantly.
The additional benefit of deepwater and ultra deepwater oil and gas is that new finds tend to be significantly larger than recent onshore discoveries. Exploration in deepwater and ultra deepwater offers an alternative to meet rising global energy demand. Some of the technological benefits in the subsea electrical power distribution market are; access to deeper reserve, accelerated production rate, shorter time to first oil among others. Collaborative role and joint-investment-programmers will continue to play a valuable role in technology development. In order to leverage against declining production, operators are venturing into remote and harsher locations. Australia is emerging as a major player in the global natural gas market due to the development of offshore natural gas and onshore coal bed methane projects.
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Operators in Brazil, Norwegian continental shelf and China are driving subsea frontier by going in depth. Some of the global players in setting up projects in subsea electrical power distribution market are ABB Ltd., Total S.A. and Schneider Electric Corporation among others.