VetcoGray to Expand Deepwater Capabilities with Test Center at Nailsea

VetcoGray, a GE Oil & Gas business, announced plans to build a new, multi-million dollar hyperbaric test center at the company's Nailsea site.

Located next to the existing assembly and test facilities, the new world-class test center will utilize hyperbaric (high-pressure oxygen) technology to simulate operational conditions at the seabed. VetcoGray's subsea control modules will be rigorously tested to identify any dormant fault conditions that otherwise would be detected only after the pod was installed on the sea floor.

Dave Tucker, Chief Operating Officer of VetcoGray, noted: "Over the next five years, most of our projects will involve testing of equipment at depths of 3,000 meters. But the trend in the industry is toward applications in deeper water. Our new facility will have a test capability of 4,000 meters, enabling us to address the future needs of our customers".

A full-time project manager has been appointed to oversee the planning permission phase leading up to the first production test at the new center, which is scheduled for April 2009.

The new center will incorporate a hyperbaric test chamber including a control system, a test hydraulic power unit, an electronic test unit and data loggers. The facility also will provide space for enhanced system integration test (SIT) activities.

Plans for the new facility were unveiled during a two-day celebration in Nailsea attended by customers from around the world. The event marked the 25th anniversary of the first subsea control system delivered from the then-GEC Marconi group in Nailsea producing first oil on the BP Magnus project. Since then, the VetcoGray Controls business has undergone a series of name and ownership changes, and in February of 2007, the business became part of GE Oil & Gas.