Statoil & Siemens to Collaborate on New Gas Compression Technology

Statoil has awarded Siemens a contract for the qualification, development, and fabrication of a compact compressor for wet and non-clean gas applications. This new technology, based on a recently introduced seal-less compressor unit, may in a few years allow the exploration of hitherto untapped natural gas resources. Studies show that about one third of global natural gas resources are sour and acid gas.

The agreement covers a stringent testing program of the completed compressor unit at the Statoil K-Lab facility in Norway during the fall of 2008 under non-clean gas conditions, simulating real subsea environments. The ECO-II compressor concept is unique in that its seal-less and canned setup with an integrated electrical motor drive is designed specifically for non-clean applications such as sour, acid or toxic gas. The contract between Siemens and Statoil also represents a major step in the direction of subsea compression.

As global demand for oil and gas rises and the availability of easy resources diminishes, major investments in new technology are needed to secure a reliable future energy supply. Compression solutions for the future oil and gas markets will have to cope with non-clean gas resources and with harsh environments, such as the Arctic or subsea. This implies a need for robust solutions with maximum availability and reliability and minimum maintenance requirements. Additionally they need to be zero emission units with no leakage of hazardous gas, installed in remotely operated, unmanned facilities.

With these requirements in mind, Siemens decided in 1999 to focus on seal-less technology. A first prototype of the ECO-II compressor, a joint development by Siemens and Shell Global Solutions, is currently operational on the onshore NAM Vries-4 gas field in the Netherlands.

The ECO-II concept is the only canned centrifugal compressor concept available. It can potentially be installed in upstream, midstream and downstream applications and fits perfectly for non-clean gas applications. On top of this, ECO-II proved to be the ideal platform for subsea compression. Siemens’ innovative technology is opening the doors to the new, emerging subsea markets and already resulted in a strategic partnership with oil and gas company FMC Kongsberg Subsea in November 2005.

"The development program with Statoil is a significant step forward in the development of the seal-less compression technology, with its huge potential for non-clean gas and subsea applications," said Frank Stieler, Head of the Oil & Gas Business within Siemens. "We have had the good fortune to work with Shell on the prototype. Now we will carry on our first class development work in close partnership with Statoil to ensure that the Siemens compressor technology is ready for commercial operation soon, meeting all market and safety requirements."

Siemens (Berlin and Munich) is a global powerhouse in electrical engineering and electronics. The company has around 475,000 employees (incl. discontinued operations) working to develop and manufacture products, design and install complex systems and projects, and tailor a wide range of services for individual requirements. Siemens provides innovative technologies and comprehensive know-how to benefit customers in over 190 countries. Founded more than 160 years ago, the company focuses on the areas of Information and Communications, Automation and Control, Power, Transportation, Medical, and Lighting. In fiscal 2006 (ended September 30), Siemens had sales of €87.3 billion and net income of €3.033 billion, according to U.S. GAAP.