SEACON Feature in Scandinavian Oil & Gas Magazine – Subsea Electrical and Fibre-Optic Distribution System Integrator
While SEACON is well-known for its highly successful connector solutions and cabled assemblies, in recent years the company has been expanding its capabilities to support the ever growing subsea power and communications distribution market. With primary focus around its qualified underwater-mateable optical and electrical connectors and Pressure Balanced Oil Filled (PBOF) hose conduit, SEA CON has developed a suite of products to provide customers with complete optical and electrical distribution system solutions. In addition to its own product baseline, SEACON also integrates third-party sensors and connectors into the distribution system assemblies.
A key technology within a distribution system is the PBOF hose conduit with industry-standard MKII hose fittings. This elastomeric (such as rubber) conduit not only provides protection for the electrical/fibre-optic lines within a compensating fluid, but also allows external pressure to freely communicate with the interior oil volume, equalising the pressure in the assembly. The stresses and strains encountered during ROV operations are controlled via longitudinal strength members that provide the strength and also limit elongation of the hose.
Jumper Assemblies – hose conduit with optical or electrical connectors at either end
Key elements in both optical and electrical distribution systems are:
• Jumper Assemblies – Hose conduit with optical or electrical connectors at either end.
• Distribution Harness – Can have multiple “legs” with either connectors or sensors terminated to the end of each leg.
• Umbilical Termination Assemblies – Provide the interface between the optical or electrical element of the umbilical and SEACON wetmate connector(s).
• Cable Hang-Offs – Specially designed cable strength member terminations that provide support for the individual cable elements at the top side of some umbilical cables.
• Abandonment Caps or Connectors – When the top side of an umbilical needs to be abandoned subsea for a period, these provide watertight protection of the umbilical cable.
Although many design features make these products successful, highlights for Jumper Assemblies/Distribution Harnesses include:
• Integral fibre management system within the hose to mitigate excessive movement or forces applied directly to the internal fibres or small wire terminations.
• Allow for multiple optic and electrical conductor configurations over shorter lengths, negating the requirement to purchase expensive custom cables.
• Easily repairable in the field.
For Umbilical Termination Assemblies, features of note include:
• Multiple configurations enable interfacing with incoming individual or multiple-cable elements and single or multiple PBOF hose exits.
• Proven and testable penetrators between 1 atmosphere and pressure – compensated chambers.
SEACON 2013 Jumper Assembly Activities
Providing reliable and qualified products is only one prerequisite for being a successful vendor in this market. Another major element is servicing those products. SEACON has succeeded by providing products and services to its global customers primarily from three strategically located regional bases: SEACON Advanced Products LLC (SAPL) Bellville, Texas, USA; SEACON Europe (SCE), Great Yarmouth, United Kingdom; and SEACON Precision Subsea, Notodden, Norway. These locations provide equal capabilities for integration of optical or electrical distribution systems.
While SEACON’s experience in optic integration is well known, the narrative below highlights some recent changes in SEACON’s support for electrical distribution systems.
The Electrical Distribution Group (EDGe) has been formed to fill a need in the subsea electrical distribution market. With an increasing need for a fast turnaround on Electrical Flying Leads (EFLs), umbilical terminations, sensor harnesses and similar equipment, SAPL has added engineering, sales, and technician personnel, as well as inventory to increase capacity for meeting customers’ expanding delivery needs.
SAPL understands the need to support legacy projects in the Gulf of Mexico and around the world. The company has the ability, knowledge and expertise to integrate third-party connectors, sensors and equipment to be used in the subsea theatre.
SAPL recently purchased its fifth pressure vessel for the Bellville, Texas, manufacturing and test facility to increase throughput of Factory Acceptance Test requirements for subsea distribution equipment. The pressure vessel is housed in a new, 285-foot-long building, purpose-built for jumper production. The building allows SAPL to expand its jumper capacity, which can now dedicate more resources for assembly of electrical and optical systems as well as EFLs, Optical Flying Leads (OFLs), harnesses and miscellaneous other assemblies.
SAPL constantly strives to improve and expand its product lines. Its goal is to provide not only standard products but also customised solutions for customers with everchanging requirements. SAPL is ISO-certified and is committed to providing quality products that meet and/or exceed customer expectations. SAPL is also dedicated to providing a safe and healthy working environment for its employees around the world, and encourages the same health and safety conscious actions in their everyday lives.
Quick-fit hose terminations
SCE has been manufacturing hybrid jumper assemblies for over 15 years, supplying a number of OEMs throughout the offshore industry, and currently ships 800 to 900 assemblies per year. Used extensively in the oil and gas market, these assemblies are employed in a variety of applications including subsea trees and electronic modules, and blowout preventers. In addition, optical jumpers are used on ROVs for both military and civilian applications including cameras and high-speed data transfer.
All assemblies are manufactured under SCE’s stringent quality control system. Jumpers are divided between optic and electric hose workshops for termination where experienced technicians begin the assembly process. Upon passing an initial inspection, the jumpers undergo final assembly and helium leak testing before oil filling and final inspection.
Driven by customer demand, SCE has consistently developed and improved the assembly and manufacture of these items by incorporating a number of innovations.
These improvements include:
• Optic termination methods to cope with increased depth requirements.
• Reverse pressure rating for the connector inserts.
• “Distributor type” boot sealing on the electrical terminations to provide complete integrity in the event of damage to the jumper hose.
• Development of a quick-fit hose termination system.
SCE’s expertise, consistent quality, and excellent delivery track record (for example, currently 95% on time with a leading subsea control system OEM) have led to orders from a number of new clients, including requests for termination of third-party components. To meet this demand, SCE recently opened a new dedicated jumper workshop at their facility in Great Yarmouth.
Recent manufacturing developments include the purchase of a hydraulic hose crimp swager and delivery of a new hydrostatic test chamber, which will facilitate testing of complete jumper assemblies and electronic distribution junction boxes down to 8,500 psi. Jumpers can be supplied in either connector-to-connector or connector-to-penetrator configuration. Splitter boxes are also available for multiple hose breakouts.
Dedicated jumper production facilities
SEACON Precision uses qualified components, processes, and test methods in compliance with standards such as ISO13628-6 as well as customer specifications. These represent some of the most challenging requirements in the industry. SEACON Precision’s Notodden, Norway, facility produces jumpers and harness systems for sensor systems, subsea battery units, electronics and instrumentation. In addition, it manufactures subsea umbilical terminations.
Although electrical jumpers have been well-understood in the industry for at least 30 years, SEACON Precision has added innovations by integrating glass-to-metal hermetic seals, with additional
protection barriers, terminated with Ethernet wiring to achieve a robust, highly reliable, copper based broadband link on the seabed.
Applications for electrical jumpers are typically:
• Power and Ethernet communications distribution network through an umbilical between Subsea Router Modules (SRMs) and electro-hydraulically operated Subsea Control Modules (SCMs) for Christmas trees and manifolds. These solutions are now being provided on several “Fast Track” projects on the Norwegian shelf. The company also supplies the fibre-optic jumpers and umbilical terminations to the same projects – resulting in the entire power and communication system for these subsea installations, from the surface to the seabed, including both electrical (power) and fibre-optic (communications) components.
• Cables and connectors for pressure and temperature transmitters, and multi-phase, turbine, and Venturi flowmeters. These are present on miscellaneous permanently installed subsea oil and gas production equipment such as Christmas trees, manifolds, and pig receivers.
SEACON Precision’s hyperbaric test chamber has an inside diameter of 1 meter and depth of 3 meters. It features electric and fibre-optic feed-through penetrators in the lid and cooling coils for low-temperature tests. It tests electrical jumpers that will be used to ocean depths to 3,000 metres, equivalent to 300 bar pressure and tested to 150% of that pressure.
SEACON worldwide is committed to actively supporting its customer base in the subsea power and communications market through optical and electrical jumper assemblies and umbilical terminations designed to operate at full ocean depth. This is achieved through both the expertise described in this article, and the capability and products available through SEACON’s other divisions located in El Cajon, California, USA; Tijuana, Mexico; and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.