Reaching out

What is a shallow water test?

ABB's subsea power equipment needs to perform in waters as deep as 3,000 m and at distances from the shore up to 600 km. With the high demands for operational uptime, and for long lifetime with no maintenance over a 30-year period, the equipment needs to be thoroughly and rigorously tested prior to deployment. By performing shallow water testing, we can demonstrate the system and prototype functionality, performance and endurance in a realistic environment.

What are you testing?

The shallow water endurance test and demonstration comprises prototypes of a subsea variable speed drive, medium voltage switchgear and subsea control and protection system. In addition, there is a topside control system based on the ABB AbilityTM System 800xA control system. Even though the prototypes have undergone extensive individual testing, the system commissioning and shallow water test is the prototypes are truly connected to each other and interact together as one system and in a realistic test environment.

Was there an outstanding moment you realized the team had achieved the impossible?

We had friends arrive for dinner. Yet, such was my excitement with our first shallow water test in 2017 that I was sitting at home on my laptop with my headset on and simply could not bring myself to disconnect. I was online with remote access to the test facilities with several members of the subsea VSD team. Hearing their proud cheer when they started the VSD for the first time, submerged in the waters at the shallow water test site, made me especially proud.


NameOddvar Skadal

Technical Product Manager, Subsea VSD


BASc. Electrical Power Engineering



What drives you, personally?

Achievements, reaching milestones and continuously improving what we do and how we do it. This can be anything from solving a complex technical challenge to expediting project and business-oriented results related to schedule, commercial, HSE and quality. Challenging targets, with a steep learning curve, reward by giving a high sense of achievement.


Most importantly, I am motivated by working with people. Every day I meet and work with experienced and competent people with various backgrounds and cultures who genuinely care for each other and the tasks to be solved. By supporting and motivating each other in teams, we can push the comfort zone, push the technical barriers and achieve anything. This includes solving the tasks that seemed impossible or unreachable at first glance.


Oddvar’s story:


“I joined the JIP Subsea Power project in 2016, with responsibility for planning, installing, commissioning and executing shallow water tests. It is a performance and endurance test and is part of the qualification that verifies the subsea prototypes in a full system configuration.”


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