How does pressure at depth affect the technology you are developing?
We know that there is potential to develop the fields in ultra-deep waters, at 3,000 meters. Clearly, we need to push the boundaries of engineering to ensure that our switchgear can withstand extreme pressures at these depths. However, we were also aware of the need to standardize our solution as much as possible. A major challenge we faced was the mechanical structure of materials could collapse with such pressure. We achieved our goal by using oil pressure compensation – all while controlling cost, dimensions and weight.
What setbacks have you managed to overcome?
The subsea environment presents challenges as tests that are usually performed topside become impractical when subsea.
Some standards require us to test parts that are not accessible after the unit is assembled. So, in collaboration with our project partners, we developed detailed test procedures which takes into consideration each manufacturing stage. This is a good example of how the collaboration with project partners allowed us to develop groundbreaking product solutions.
When did your dream for the extreme become a reality?
A significant milestone for the subsea switchgear was when we successfully completed two test campaigns: one with the main components and the other with the complete assembly. We knew it was possible and with hard work and commitment, we completed the internal tests and had the unit ready for the 3,000-meter shallow water test.