Increasingly, the oil industry needs to carry out operations at depths greater than 500 meters, where it is impractical to erect fixed structures. The obvious problem with floating platforms, however, is that they move up and down with the waves, whereas drilling can only take place on a stable platform. A solution to this problem was devised in the 1960s: the semi-submersible floating production unit, which is fitted with underwater ballast tanks to hold it steady. Since then, the concept has been applied to many types of service and support vessel, and semi-submersibles have become the workhorses of the offshore oil and gas industry.
ABB supplies a range of services for these units, including our usual power generation, distribution and automation hardware and software which promote the optimal operation of the drives. We also supply electric propulsion systems, such as the one we installed on China’s largest heavy lifting vessel back in 2008, and advanced digital systems such as our Octopus Advisory Suite, which offers a comprehensive motion-monitoring, forecasting and decision-support toolkit to allow sea-going vessels to work safely in when stability has to be maintained.
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