The GE Measurement and Control Subsea Condition Monitoring system (also known as the ‘Cage’) measures sound and electrical signals emitted from subsea equipment, often an early warning sign of developing leaks and other issues.
Sounds from the Deep - A Norwegian technology success keeping an ear to the ocean
Oil and Gas subsea operators across the world are adopting a GE Industrial Internet technology developed in Norway
The presence of the Condition Monitoring Device provides the customer with strong gains. The real time acoustic feedback provides operational reassurance and the data from the system provides another viewpoint when equipment incidents may take place. The quantity of data also provides potential to look at equipment performance trends.
The listening ‘ear’, an array of sensors in a 500-pound ‘birdcage’ dome that sits on the sea floor or on subsea equipment, was developed at our Measurement and Control site in Bergen, Norway. A 210 metre (MSL)™ deep water facility at the Bergen site also provides deep water testing for the technology.
The device sends this sound information to a seaborne control room where the data is analysed to help plan maintenance and component replacement programmes. “An acoustic signature from a piece of equipment is like a fingerprint from a human” said Fabian Dawson, sales manager from GE. The system can be 10,000 times more accurate than traditional mass balance systems that measure differences in the amount of oil and gas flowing through the pipes to detect leaks. The Condition Monitoring system is already working at some 130 sites in the North Sea operated by Statoil, ENI, and Shell, and off the coast of Africa.
How We Did It
Engineers designed the eardrum of the system from special crystals that respond to sound wave vibrations and convert them into electricity (Engineers call this effect ‘piezoelectricity’). A single device can listen to sounds within a 1,600 foot radius.
Our teams are now developing a huge data library of sounds from existing subsea installations to add to the predictive capabilities of the system.
Our Condition Monitoring system was located at the base of a large test pit operated by Shell where a number of subsea equipment items including a 12.5 MW subsea compression train, a condensate pump, a 132kV transformer, a circuit-breaker and advanced VSDs (Variable Speed Drive) and separator were all being qualified for deep water deployment. The ‘birdcage’ system was monitoring all components residing in the pit and the interactions between them.
GE Tools We Used
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