GE (NYSE: GE) today formally announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire the Subsea Electric Actuator product line of Oceaneering, a global provider of engineering services and products to the oil and gas industry.
The product line goes to market under the Oceaneering Subsea All Electric and Ifokus brand, which specializes in the design and manufacturing of specialty subsea products, with a focus on electric valve actuators. The closing of the deal—subject to the standard regulatory approvals—is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2015.
“We are extremely pleased to sign our agreement with GE, which has the global resources, subsea controls technology and systems integration expertise required to bring Ifokus technology to full-scale commercial production to meet the growing demands for subsea electrification,” said Mark Peterson, Oceaneering’s vice president of corporate development.
Oceaneering’s 16-strong Stavanger-based engineering team dedicated to the Electric Actuator product line will join GE Oil & Gas, transitioning into the Subsea Systems business that also has operations based in Stavanger, Norway.
Rod Christie, CEO of GE Oil & Gas’ Subsea Systems business, explained: “With Ifokus as part of our solutions portfolio, GE has the opportunity to pave the way for electrification in the oil and gas subsea space, giving us a new technology that is faster to operate for processing applications, has excellent enhanced diagnostic capabilities and can be seamlessly integrated into a customer’s existing controls, communications and power network.”
Ifokus is at the forefront of the offshore industry’s efforts to enhance conventional, hydraulic fluid-based subsea controls equipment with faster electric actuation systems that offer increased diagnostic capabilities.
Electric actuators are fitted to the subsea systems that control the flow, usually oil or gas, out of the well or the injection of fluids into the well to enhance recovery. Electric actuators appeal to operators because they offer potentially lower overall system costs and are more environmentally compatible by reducing the risk of hydraulic fluid leaks.
The technology is ideally suited for complex subsea processing applications and more difficult extraction environments such as deepwater fields, or fields with longer offsets from the shoreline. With the end of easy oil recovery, this is expected to be a key growth segment for the industry.