Shell tests Ormen Lange subsea gas compression system

Offshore staff

SANDVIKA, Norway Norske Shell has successfully completed system testing of the world’s first subsea gas compression system with a full subsea power supply, transmission, and distribution system.

The Ormen Lange Pilot was a first of its kind and was designed to test a full scale integrated subsea compression system in submerged conditions with real hydrocarbons. Since 2011, A/S Norske Shell and its license partners Petoro, Statoil, DONG, and ExxonMobil have conducted the program at Shell’s test facility at Nyhamna in Norway where the gas from the Ormen Lange field reaches shore.

GE has collaborated with Shell in the development of the compression system and supplied technologies, including GE Oil & Gas’ Blue-C compressor – a centrifugal compressor specifically designed for subsea – and the world’s first subsea power supply, transmission, and distribution system. The system enables operators to conduct gas compression on the seabed, reducing the need to introduce additional power generation on nearby offshore facilities.

GE’s Power conversion business supplied the electrical package including a high-speed motor and high power drive.

Neil Saunders, president and CEO, Subsea Systems & Drilling, GE Oil & Gas, said: “We are very proud of what we have achieved in partnership with Shell. We leveraged the GE Store, using our domain expertise and heritage across the GE portfolio, including rotating machinery, power electronics, high voltage designs, and subsea production systems. Today, we are designing the next generation of compact and modular subsea compression systems to unlock new possibilities for power and processing worldwide.”

The GE technologies that were tested as part of the Ormen Lange Pilot include: 

  • Blue-C subsea compressor –  a 12.5MW, fully marinized, vertically orientated centrifugal compressor
  • Subsea power supply, transmission, and distribution system
  • Subsea switchgear – supplies power and protection to multiple loads from a single cable to shore
  • Subsea variable speed drives – takes output from the subsea switchgear, and provides the optimal frequency for the individual supply lines feeding the compressor and pump
  • Subsea uninterruptible power supply – supplies power and protection to all the subsea compression station auxiliary loads, ensuring continuous supply of power during system disruptions to protect the subsea compressor and ensure a safe shut-down process.
  • MECON dry-mate connector 145/700 – enables power transmission at 145kV for a 120 km (74.6 mi) tieback distance
  • IFOKUS electric actuators – anti-surge actuators developed for 80kN fail open operation
  • NAXYS acoustic leak detection system – used during the submerged pit testing to monitor for potential gas leakages as well as operation of rotating machinery and power modules.


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