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drop of the main umbilical. However, the
cost of a control buoy system would be
substantial, and interfacing this with the
existing control system would require signifcant modifcations to existing hardware/
software interfaces. Further, there was the
question of reliable communications, either
over a satellite link or an additional, dedicated communication umbilical to shore.
The introduction of a high voltage –
greater than 1kV AC – three-phase system
represented a signifcant technical change
to the existing philosophy and was deemed
too great a risk in terms of integration with
existing assets and technical complexity.
Therefore, a single-phase solution remains
the best case for power transmission.
A new shore-based umbilical would be
costly due to the long offset required, and
would also require a new shore-based control system. In addition, it potentially “splits”
the control of an area across two master control stations involving extra interfacing, and
would not resolve the power limitation of the
A new umbilical from the Simian controls
platform would allow the full expansion of
Phase IX by providing the fexibility to bal-
ance existing system loading and to use the
EPU channels originally dedicated to Sau-
rus, which remain unused following a power
cable failure on Sapphire. Maintaining the
original supply voltages also would allow the
provision of inter-feld umbilicals to better
distribute power between the felds, with a
large cross-section to provide capacity for
With all options, the costs are signifcant.
However, the introduction of a new main
umbilical from the controls platform is the
route taken for Phase IX due to the easier
integration with existing systems and more
straightforward future expansion.
The current Phase IXa, which came on-
stream in summer 2014 and which is still un-
der construction, involves adding nine wells,
six HIPPS, and one manifold to the Simian
and Scarab, and Sapphire areas. The cam-
paign includes installation of a J-tube and as-
sociated topsides equipment, upgrading the
power transformers, and installing a new
umbilical to the Scarab area. From there,
infeld umbilicals will distribute additional
power to the Sapphire and Simian hubs to
support the new wells, HIPPS, and mani-
folds, along with the existing equipment.
The system is designed to be suitable for
the IXb campaign and beyond, with potential
for further expansion of the WDDM subsea
The onshore plant can process 2 MMcf/d
of gas, and there will always be a driver to
maintain this limit. Therefore, studies are
underway to connect the Libra and Taurus
felds, part of the BP West Nile Delta concession, to the current pipeline network. This
will enable the onshore plant to maintain plateau production and also allow these felds
to be brought onstream without having to
build additional onshore capacity.
From a control system perspective, these
felds will require a complete new control
system, which, after conceptual study, will
be from the platform. Modifcations to the
platform will increase not only the control
system capacity, but also the chemical injection capability as an additional J‐tube being
installed to allow a dedicated umbilical to
support the Libra‐Taurus development, and
possibly more. •
Based on a paper presented at the Deep Offshore
Technology International Conference & Exhibition held
in Aberdeen, Scotland, October 14-16, 2014.