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Pioneering Subsea Gas Compression Offshore Norway

Image courtesy of Aker Solutions.
In June of last year, Aker Solutions delivered the nearly 4-million‑lbm frame for Statoil’s subsea gas compression system in Norway. The frame is now installed on the seafloor approximately 124 miles offshore Norway.

The world’s first full-scale subsea gas compression system is in the final stages of construction and is on schedule to be installed in the Åsgard gas field offshore Norway by year’s end. Norway’s state-owned oil and gas company, Statoil, says that the project is the largest and most complex subsea development ever undertaken in both size and scope and represents a leap forward for an industry that has sought to produce hydrocarbons ever farther from shore for more than a century. With the ability to process and compress gas far beneath the harsh surface conditions of the Norwegian Sea, Statoil envisions a future where surface installations are not required to develop subsea fields. The concept is referred to as the subsea factory, and the company aims to install one capable of producing both oil and gas by 2020. If successful, the Åsgard subsea gas compression project will become the latest milestone in proving that the company’s ambitious objective is possible.

Statoil selected Aker Solutions to design and build the system after determining that a subsea compressor station was economically favorable and had a greater technological potential compared with constructing a semisubmersible platform. By installing a compressor train on the seafloor, “you are closer to the reservoir, which means you can do more with less,” said Svenn Ivar Fure, Aker Solution’s senior vice president of strategy and business development. “You don’t have to take the gas up to a platform and then pump it down again. That provides a lot of advantages,” he said.

Fure also noted that, besides requiring less energy to achieve the same end, a subsea system requires far fewer personnel to maintain and oversee its operation. While subsea facilities do require constant monitoring, it can be done remotely and with far fewer people than necessary for a conventional platform. This provides the operator with considerable saving in regard to salaries, logistical services, helicopter transportation, catering services, and power generation. And, because no personnel work directly on the system day in and day out, the risk for injury and loss of human life is greatly reduced. Additionally, Statoil and Aker Solutions claim subsea compressors involve a simpler build and installation process compared with that of a semisubmersible platform.

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Pioneering Subsea Gas Compression Offshore Norway

Trent Jacobs, JPT Senior Technology Writer

01 February 2014

Volume: 66 | Issue: 2

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