Statoil Joins Subsea JIP

Statoil is the latest addition to a Joint Industry Project (JIP) set to revolutionise subsea boosting pumps.


Ask an equipment manufacturer for cheap, light, and strong, and most will tell you it cannot be done. Fuglesangs Subsea, project manager for the JIP, will tell you otherwise.


“We think we’ve cracked the code,” said CEO Alexander Fuglesang. “This project has the potential to deliver improvements in all three areas: cost, weight, and reliability.”


Statoil joins Aker BP, Lundin, and National Oilwell Varco in the DEMO2000 JIP. The project aims to bring the Fuglesangs Subsea Omnirise single-phase booster to market by early 2019.


“Once we eliminated the single biggest problem with subsea pumps, all the other pieces fell into place,” Mr Fuglesang said. That problem was the mechanical shaft seal, the source of 70% of subsea pump failures.


Dynamic shaft seals not only fail all too frequently, they also require a constant flow of so-called barrier fluid, supplied by topside hydraulic equipment and delivered through umbilical lines which can stretch over many kilometres. Traditional variable speed drives also add considerable weight and volume topside, with projected subsea versions looking equally as bulky.


The Omnirise system gets rid of all these elements by employing a patented Hydromag Drive Unit, essentially a combination of a fixed low-speed subsea electric motor, a variable-speed torque converter, and high-performance magnetic coupling. “The improvements deliver benefits throughout the system,” said Mr Fuglesang, “from eliminating the weakest link and reducing topside and subsea equipment, to enabling cost-effective, standardised and highly modular boosting units.”


In capex alone, Rystad Energy has estimated that Omnirise can provide savings of NOK 150 million on a single-well boosting installation, compared to conventional boosting systems.


With the risk of barrier fluid leakage eliminated, Omnirise promises environmental improvements as well. Opex is also reduced, with less topside equipment to maintain. And when combined with Seabox, a proven water filtration system, Omnirise can be installed as a fully subsea solution.


“Omnirise is already less expensive, more flexible, more reliable and more environmentally friendly than traditional solutions,” concluded Alexander Fuglesang. “With Statoil’s decades of experience in subsea boosting, the JIP now has the expertise and the muscle to make a good system even better, and roll it out to a global market.”