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Can subsea wireless communications technology remove the requirement for EHC umbilicals?

Project Summary

The project scope was to investigate the current subsea wireless communications technology to remove the requirement for an umbilical from subsea tiebacks. Xodus developed an independent test plan for wireless subsea communications to de-risk the technology and accelerate its acceptance into the oil and gas industry. The project was one of the winning entries of the OGTC’s smart communications subsea (smartCs) Open ‘Call for Ideas’.

Industry value:
Eliminating the need for the umbilical could result in savings of £2.5 million CAPEX for a single-use.

Lessons learned:
The project identified that both subsea acoustic communications and through-air communications, via surface buoy local to the drill site, could replace the need for communications via a subsea umbilical. Range, data rate and security have been identified as the key parameters to be the subject of testing for acoustic communications. For a surface buoy solution, the stability of the buoy in North Sea environments in terms of both survivability and signal stability along with security, are the main aspects that would require further testing.

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