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Smart Subsea Power Grids
Smart subsea power grids are power grids constructed on the sea bed to supply power to the subsea and bottom-hole tools and equipment. The smart subsea power grids play a major role in offshore oil and gas industry. There are several components which are used to construct a complete smart subsea power grid unit.The smart subsea power grid is one of the efficient and crucial elements of subsea systems. It is an integrated system which provides overall power distribution for various electric driven components used in the subsea industry.
The smart subsea power grids are still in the early days of its evolution, and consequently its ecosystem is often poorly understood. In essence, the use of smart power grid technology will provide the platform for energy producers to manage demand by interacting with the equipment on the grid as well as customer-side energy management systems. To be effective, a smart subsea power grid will need to integrate intelligent electronic end-equipment and communications networks with the energy generation and distribution infrastructure.
The need to satisfy rising energy demand will enhance the growth prospects of the smart subsea power grid market. Since 2000, there have been several important deep and ultra-deep discoveries. About 16% oil and gas fields from 2008 to 2017 are likely to recline in such environments including Pre-salt Brazil, the U.S. GOM (Gulf of Mexico), West Africa, and Malaysia. The lucrative and high investment areas of subsea regions such as the Gulf of Mexico, North Sea, and new discoveries in West Africa drive the exponential growth of the smart subsea power grid market.
Continuous advancements in subsea technologies and their application in the offshore industry and other subsea related areas of the upstream industry create strong prospects for the future of subsea power grids and power supply equipment. Hence, the future of the smart subsea power grid market looks extremely promising. The subsea market will remain one of the most pioneering sectors within the offshore industry. A smart subsea power grid which is an integral part of the subsea technologies signifies a way forward for a majority of the world’s future offshore oil and gas expansions, and it may become by necessity, a progressively more dominant part of the subsea spending plans for the world’s oil and gas companies.
There is a vision to run wells remotely from lands, dropping the need for billion dollar offshore production platforms by offshore operators. In order to channelize it, there will be a requirement of a lot of electric power, and most of the offshore and subsea companies don’t have the technology to generate electricity underwater; they are developing new alternatives to get it there from the shore or from generators on the ocean’s surface. Companies are moving forward with underwater grids as more power available on the seafloor can expand the existence and productivity of wells, by allowing the utilization of more powerful pumps and other equipment.
The technology commercialization faces technological challenges such as long distance power umbilical lying and high installation risks, however the giant industry players are investing heavily in the technology. These risks are associated with deep and ultra deep waterswhich may occur due to a lack of operational perfection, human errors and also due to natural calamities. It takes loads of efforts to install power grids and subsea control systems, which is accompanied by high risks of accidents and technological failure. A small error in the system can lead to heavy financial, environmental and human loss. These risks can be mitigated by minimizing the human error which will lead the enjoyment of the benefits offered by the technology.
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