ABB delivers power and control to one of North Sea’s toughest fields

The challenges of heavy oil and low pressure were met by ABB’s 800xA control system and expertise in offshore electrical networks

Grane has about 700 million barrels of recoverable oil, making it the largest heavy oil field to be discovered on Norway’s continental shelf, about 185 km west of Stavanger. Statoil is the operator, and largest shareholder in Grane, and was responsible for setting up the team that achieved first oil in September 2003 – three weeks ahead of schedule and $34 million below the budget.

That result was particularly noteworthy because, at the time, Grane was regarded as one of the most challenging field on the shelf, owing to the viscous nature of the crude and the low pressure in its reservoir. The engineering design alone took 10 years to research and develop.

ABB was part of the team that finally delivered the $2.3 billion project. It was working for Norsk Hydro, which acted as Statoil’s engineering, procurement and construction contractor. Its job was to install the automation system that would act as the nerve centre for the field, and the electrical system that would power it.

The electrical package included switchgear, transformers, AC generators, the drive system for the drills and the crude oil pumps, as well as the motors for compressors used to inject natural gas into the reservoir. Control was achieved using 800xA, ABB’s industrial control platform. This handled safety and automation, asset optimization, instrumentation and information management, and integrated all the third-party systems on the platform.   

After the work was complete, ABB received a testimonial from Per Melsom, a vice president at Hydro Norsk, who said: “ABB delivered very highly qualified personnel to the project, who were very service-minded and had a positive attitude. They had a strong focus on helping the specialists and engineers to do what they were supposed to do.”

Main data

Customer:  Norsk Hydro
Site:  Grane
Customer need:  Automation and electrification systems

The electrification element required a range of generation and distribution equipment, transformers, high and low-voltage switchgear, drives and motors.  Automation was handled by ABB’s proprietorial 800xA control system.

Application:  Offshore crude oil production
Customer benefits:
  • The successful installation of a wide range of complex, project critical system within time and below budget.
  • Electrification and control systems that were able to exceed production targets by 30,000 barrels a day in 2006.  
Commissioning year: 2003
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