Equinor Advances Unmanned North Sea Platform Project

Equinor Advances Unmanned North Sea Platform Project
Equinor will use ABB know-how to develop next-generation autonomous oil and gas platforms.

Equinor (NYSE: EQNR) will use ABB (NYSE: ABB) know-how to develop next-generation autonomous oil and gas platforms, ABB reported Wednesday.

As Rigzone reported last June, Equinor and Aker BP (FRA: ARC) have agreed to coordinate their development of three licenses on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS): Krafla, Fulla, and North of Alvheim (NOA). The Equinor-operated Krafla license will incorporate an unmanned processing platform (UPP).

ABB stated Wednesday that the Krafla field will host the North Sea’s first UPP, which will be wholly remotely controlled by operators at an onshore control center via its “Ability System 800xA” distributed control system. Besides the UPP, the system will monitor and control multiple units including two unmanned wellhead platforms and a subsea production system, the company added.

With no localized power source, the Krafla facility will draw power from the onshore electrical power grid. ABB pointed out that it will apply its “Adaptive Execution” methodology to create a digital twin of the UPP. It noted the digital twin will simulate, test, and verify advanced functions needed for unmanned operations on the control system before the onsite installation stage.

“Adaptive Execution enables greater visibility across all layers of a project,” explained Johan de Villiers, oil and gas lead for ABB Energy Industries. “With digitalization and visualization at its core we can unlock significant project value for Equinor in this project, not least by designing and testing everything in a virtual environment, eliminating design failures early on.”

Using the methodology can reduce delivery schedules by up to 30%, lower automation-related setup costs by up to 40%, and cut the number of engineering hours spent on project testing, installation, and commissioning by up to 85%, de Villiers added.

“The platform has been designed with the intention of having no people on board, with no helipad, and the only possible access via ship,” remarked ABB Energy Industries President Brandon Spencer. “Instead, a new generation of remotely based operators will sit onshore, with the ability to start operations at the touch of a button. It is critical, therefore, that collectively we get the design right the first time around. Everything needs to be tested and verified before being installed offshore.”

To contact the author, email mveazey@rigzone.com.


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