Proserv has that globally recognised backwards compatibility to be able to integrate our technology within existing infrastructure and systems – and this fits centrally with how OKEA looks to enhance and refurbish legacy equipment to reduce costs but increase productivity.

Ole Tom Furu, Senior Sales Manager and Petter Eriksen, Senior Project Manager, both based at our Trondheim site, give the lowdown on our recent contract awards from OKEA concerning its important and long-standing Draugen field, and how our augmented controls technology (ACT) will be integral to our work.

What will Proserv Controls be doing for OKEA?

We have received two significant and valuable wins from OKEA in the past year.

In March 2021, we were selected as the service provider for the overhaul and refurbishment of a part of the existing original equipment manufacturer’s (OEM) subsea production control system on the Draugen field.

This project is now on-going but since then, building further on the growing positive and constructive relationship between Proserv and OKEA, early in 2022, we secured a further upgrade contract relating to the current infrastructure on Draugen.

OKEA has long-term plans for the life extension of this asset, intending to maintain production for another twenty years, so our contracts represent a key component of that.

Having a subsea controls expert like us, as part of its support team, will prove advantageous as, by 2040, the asset would have been in production for nearly 50 years. OKEA, as the operator, has set a clear goal of optimising production and reducing downtime.

Service will be delivered from Proserv Controls’ locations in Trondheim and Stavanger, with close connection to the OKEA teams sited in Stavanger, Trondheim and Kristiansund.

The Draugen field has 11 production wells (generating more than 17,000 barrels per day of oil equivalent) so OKEA will overhaul its subsea control modules (SCMs) on the legacy system over time.

Our arrangement will be to provide condition-based maintenance and OKEA will make a call when its team will need our services and support.

So, these awards seem like a great opportunity to roll out our unique subsea electronics solutions. What are we supplying?

That’s correct. Right now, following our win in 2021 and engaging our augmented controls technology, or ACT, we are refurbishing two of the existing, legacy SCMs, integrating our own Artemis 2G (A2G) subsea electronics module (SEM) within these and installing one of the SCMs on a well, also adding a new ROV connector for hydrocarbon leakage detection.

With the coexistence capability that we are renowned for, this will mean that the restored SCM, enhanced by our SEM, will be able to communicate seamlessly with the other existing SCMs and connected instrumentation. The upgraded SCM will have options to include extra functionality through the newly available open interfaces. Our technology will use spare capacity in the umbilical to increase the communications capability.

For the operator, our solution will enable the possibility of using the present infrastructure for future additional wells, which was previously not possible, and will remove any potential obsolescence issues. That really fits with OKEA’s ethos of prioritising efficiencies on its assets.

As a core element, Proserv is also delivering a truly innovative and flexible integrated topside solution enabling highly effective communications with the newly renovated SCM. Much of the control logic will now be handled by the Distribution Control System (DCS), with the Master Control Station serving only as a gateway.

The topside interfacing has been developed alongside the DCS supplier ABB and we have used proven Proserv concepts delivered across several other projects in Norwegian waters. This solution will allow for a smooth and seamless switch over to our Proserv subsea electronics whenever required by OKEA. This represents a very cost effective and scalable approach that will help OKEA both to expand and maintain the system moving forwards.

The second SCM to be refurbished will currently be retained by OKEA as a spare unit, ready for installation once a legacy SCM has failed.

Our subsequent contract from OKEA earlier this year will see us upgrade the instrumentation, cabling and harnesses on a refurbished subsea tree, as well as renovate yet another SCM, again leveraging our communications expertise to broaden its available functionality, so transforming its future performance and capability.

What would you say has secured Proserv these contracts and not the actual OEM of the subsea equipment?

I would say there are two key parts to this. Our growing relationship with OKEA, who are based close to us here in Trondheim, and which has also developed further since we first carried out a study on the Draugen field.

But just as crucial has been our shared philosophy about how to optimise performance and extend the productive life of assets.

OKEA, as a leading mid-to-late life specialist operator, recognises the potential of ACT and how this can be applied to maximum value on long-standing, smaller brownfield assets where you need to be smart and creative to exploit more marginal gains.

Older fields will invariably have issues around reliability of subsea controls and obsolete, unsupported OEM equipment – OKEA has seen that Proserv is not only a market leader in solving these problems, but we can also boost future performance via our unique solutions.

Proserv has that globally recognised backwards compatibility to be able to integrate our technology within existing infrastructure and systems – and this fits centrally with how OKEA looks to enhance and refurbish legacy equipment to reduce costs but increase productivity.

Optimising asset performance and extending life also have environmental benefits too?

This is very important. Our core approach, with any customer, is always to see how we can innovate a solution that maximises existing infrastructure. Traditionally, this has had direct, obvious benefits around saving time by avoiding intensive intervention, and similarly about reducing expenditure by committing less OPEX to undertake major upgrades or replacements. These are already clear, strong advantages.

But when we look to harness our ACT coexistence capabilities, we can refurbish rather than replace equipment – effectively regenerating SCMs and giving them a new lease of life instead of intrusive, full system upgrades. This eliminates the carbon footprint of the manufacturing of the new components, the transportation to site and then the emissions of the vessels to support the replacement operation.

Similarly, when SCMs are performing reliably (and this is exactly what our A2G SEMs offer) that eradicates the necessity of vessels having to make further journeys to the asset to replace faulty modules.

Smart operators like OKEA can see the multi-dimensional benefits of this proposition. It stands to reason that if you alleviate unreliability issues and improve performance then you have an asset that is functioning at a high level and so it is more efficient in every sense, using less power, fluids and generating fewer emissions.

Also, if we look at the SCMs we will be upgrading for OKEA following our contract awards, because Proserv is able to offer wider bandwidth via its ACT solution, we can deliver additional functionality to existing, legacy SCMs. By incorporating the potential for hydrocarbon leak detection monitoring, the environmental benefits can be extended.

So, as we move forwards, we naturally hope this shared ethos will allow us to become more involved on the Draugen field, which is core to OKEA’s output and strategy, and to offer our support as it potentially contemplates further extensions both there and elsewhere in its portfolio.