World’s longest umbilical

Work has begun at operator Statoil on qualifying technology for the record-long umbilical which will link its Snøhvit development in the Barents Sea with the land facilities in northern Norway. “We expect to sign a contract this summer for the subsea system and umbilical,” reports staff engineer Inge Polden in the Snøhvit project. “This job will be awarded to one of three suppliers we have frame agreements with.” Statoil and the subsea system suppliers are now testing existing technology for the 160km bundle of control lines and cables. This verification will continue until the end of 2002. All the wells planned for Snøhvit – 21 for gas and condensate and one for carbon dioxide injection – will be remotely controlled from land through the umbilical. The distance involved requires a voltage of 3000 volts – three times the conventional level for a subs-ea facility. With a diameter of roughly 11 centimetres, the umbilical will contain high-voltage power lines, fibre-optic cables and hydraulic piping. The fibre-optic cables will be used to transmit control signals to sub-sea valves and to return information from sensors mounted in the wells. Snøhvit will involve the world’s longest distance between the control station on land and the first subsea installation on the field.

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