LONDON – GE Oil & Gas has completed the qualification of its upgraded 36kV high-voltage wet mate connector.
The company said that MECON WM 36/500 is designed to offer more reliability and predictability in subsea power system connections, and can be used with equipment such as transformers, switchgears, variable speed drives, and motor loads. It also noted that by improving the reliability of subsea power transmission and distribution, MECON WM 36/500 supports the ambitions of oil and gas operators to develop cost-efficient subsea production and processing facilities.
Alisdair McDonald, subsea power and processing leader, GE Oil & Gas said: “Unlike conventional stab-type connectors, we deploy a unique connection process that ensures that we are in full control of the electrical environment inside the connector before completing the electrical connection.”
GE uses the same patented technology for all of its MECON wet mate connectors. A unique in situ flushing process enables the verification of a benign electrical environment. The flushing process is performed after the connector halves are brought together and before the electrical connections are completed.
Firstly, the connector is flushed with seawater to remove any contaminants, then by fresh water, then alcohol, and finally dielectric fluid. The dielectric fluid is analyzed to verify a benign electrical environment before the electrical and mechanical connection is completed. The process is enabled by a closed-loop flushing tool mounted on a conventional ROV and takes less than 20 minutes in total to complete and no fluids are released to the environment.
In addition, GE said MECON WM 36/500 can act as an isolation switch at rated system voltage and can be used to verify system health prior to commissioning or to find faults after failure.
MECON 36/500 has undergone more than a year of testing to comply with industry standards, the company added.
The connector has been certified for operation up to 36 kV and 500 amperes in water depths down to 10,000 ft (3,000 m).