Softing to embed PROFIBUS into subsea oil well equipment | Automation.com

Softing to embed PROFIBUS into subsea oil well equipment

Softing to embed PROFIBUS into subsea oil well equipment
July 30th 2008 – Aker Solutions, Scotland has chosen Softing to embed PROFIBUS into a subsea production component. One of Softing’s field-proven PROFIBUS boards has been customized by Softing to fit into a subsea component and has passed the stringent quality requirements mandated for use in subsea production systems. The board is integrated into an active electronic module that is part of a so called “Christmas Tree,” an assembly of valves, spools and fittings for an oil well.

However, what is a subsea production system? “Subsea” is a general term frequently used to refer to equipment, technology, and methods employed to explore, drill, and develop oil and gas fields that exist below the ocean floors. “Subsea production systems” can range in complexity from a single satellite well with a flow-line linked to a fixed platform, FPSO (Floating Production, Storage and Offloading) vessel, or an onshore installation, to several wells on a template or clustered around a manifold.

Subsea production systems can be used to develop reservoirs, or parts of reservoirs, which require drilling of the wells from more than one location. The development of subsea oil and gas fields requires specialized equipment. The equipment must be reliable enough to safe guard the environment, and make the exploitation of the subsea hydrocarbons economically feasible.

Aker Solutions’ engineering team was faced with designing a control module that is able to interface with PROFIBUS.

The following is a list of the basic characteristics of the control module:
  • Designed for deep water environments (down to 3000m/10,000ft)
  • Local data communications bus (PROFIBUS) enabling distributed control architectures
  • Modular & scalable distributed architecture

    Aker Solutions rigorously evaluated numerous vendors that offer PROFIBUS components and quickly decided to partner with Softing for the following reasons:
  • Softing’s extensive experiences and knowledge in Industrial Communication Systems (SW, HW, multi-protocol)
  • Softing’s unmatched PROFIBUS-knowledge and exceptional application experience
  • Softing’s strict adherence to the highest quality standards in the industry
  • Availability of an existing PROFIBUS board that already satisfied the majority of the products functional and quality requirements
  • Softing’s ability and readiness to perform the required customization in an extremely short time frame (12 weeks from order to the start of series production)

    For this particular application, Softing’s PROFIBUS board was customized to provide PROFIBUS connectivity for an active electronic device that is part of a larger control module. This control module is integrated into a “Christmas Tree”. Multiple “Christmas Trees” are connected to a manifold and finally, several “manifolds” supply a FPSO vessel or platform (filling station at sea level).

    The electronic module is designed for use in deep water environments (down to 3000m/10,000 ft). The module is part of a subsea oil & gas production system and operates as a versatile and scalable data acquisition and control system. Design goals that were given the highest priority for this electronics package are:
  • Reliability
  • Versatility
  • Small physical size
  • Interfacing with remote intelligent instrumentation (topside)
  • Low electrical power requirements

    The new unit was subject to a rigorous qualification process with respect to mechanical shock, vibration, thermal shock, storage and operational temperatures.

    Subsea hydrocarbon (oil and gas) extraction has an exceptional safety record. We are very proud of the fact that our PROFIBUS components meet and exceed the expectations of this safety and quality conscious industry.

    Last but not least a little bit of trivia. According to Wikipedia.org, the first subsea well was actually in one of the Great Lakes in the USA and was only a few feet under water. In the 37 years since the first systems were installed, approximately 1,100 subsea wells have been completed. Two-thirds of those wells are still in service.

    About Softing
    In industrial automation, Softing is a specialist for fieldbus technology and has established itself as a world-leading partner for networking automation systems and control solutions. In fieldbus technology, Softing is an expert for FOUNDATION fieldbus, PROFIBUS, and CAN/CANopen/DeviceNet. The company’s wide range of expertise also includes solutions for OPC, FDT, and Real-Time-Ethernet solutions such as PROFINET IO and Modbus/TCP. Softing provides customers with solutions to connect devices, controls and systems with the leading communication technologies. In addition, Softing has established itself as a provider of sophisticated diagnostic tools for fieldbus systems.
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