Demonstrating its continued commitment to subsea equipment safety, reliability and performance, GE Oil & Gas officially opened both its new Hyperbaric Testing Hall and a newly refurbished Electrical & Electronics Assembly Plant in Nailsea, U.K.
Dean Arnison, Site Leader and Director for Subsea Control Systems, GE Oil & Gas said: “With growth in deepwater spending by oil and gas exploration and production companies expected to reach double-digits annually in the next five years, it is vital that industry growth is underpinned by safe and reliable technologies. The new GE Oil & Gas hyperbaric facility provides the rigorous conditions to test up to 300 mission-critical subsea control modules each year by simulating the extreme challenges of ultra deepwater depths and pressures.”
Arnison added, “The reliability and performance of subsea controls equipment fundamentally determines production output over the life of oil and gas fields. Our goal is to help operators maximize production and reduce risk from the complex process, by providing ultra-reliable equipment and systems.”
The new hyperbaric test chamber facility simulates extreme deepwater pressure conditions up to 6,382 pounds force per square inch (psi, or 440 bar pressure) equivalent to 14,436 feet (4,400 meters) water depth, enabling the precise testing of subsea control modules and other components that are mission critical to safe and reliable subsea oil and gas production, including in the fast-growing deepwater segment.
Performing the official ribbon-cutting ceremony, the Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP, Member of Parliament for North Somerset and Secretary of State for Defence, said: “It is a pleasure to be officially opening this impressive new GE subsea test facility in Nailsea which aims to help the oil and gas industry address the challenges of safe and reliable performance in deepwater production projects around the world. It is great news to have a state-of-the-art testing facility and Electronic Assembly plant based here in North Somerset and I am grateful to GE Oil & Gas for inviting me to see firsthand how they are consolidating their expanding role in the U.K.”
Hyperbaric testing is the only way to effectively simulate subsea conditions and to verify the reliability of crucial hydraulic and electrical components in deepwater environments. As such, it is the final opportunity for product assurance under hyperbaric conditions before site integration testing and delivery of the finished product for offshore installation. GE’s rigorous test program is designed to identify any potentially critical issues and thereby enable them to be corrected before installation – resulting in significant reliability gains for subsea production projects.
With the new hyperbaric test center housed immediately adjacent to its main subsea equipment controls manufacturing facility in Nailsea, GE Oil & Gas is now able to take greater advantage of support from its comprehensive on-site engineering resources. An on-site facility provides greater flexibility to modify test regimes, including retesting where necessary, and increases overall productivity.
The opening represents the latest in a string of investments in the Nailsea site worth approx. US $9m over the past 2 years. In October 2009 GE opened its Subsea Monitoring and Remote Technology Center’ (or SmartCenter) at the Nailsea site to support remote monitoring and diagnostics of subsea field control and instrumentation facilities around the world.
GE Oil & Gas employs over 2,000 people in the UK at manufacturing, test and service facilities in Aberdeen and Montrose in Scotland and Cramlington, Nailsea and Farnborough in England.
About GE Oil & Gas
GE Oil & Gas is a world leader in advanced technology equipment and services for all segments of the oil and gas industry, from drilling and production, LNG, pipelines and storage to industrial power generation, refining and petrochemicals. GE Oil & Gas also provides pipeline integrity solutions, including inspection and data management, and design and manufacture wire-line and drilling measurement solutions for the oilfield services segment. As part of its ‘Innovation Now’ customer focus and commitment, GE Oil & Gas exploits technological innovation from other GE businesses, such as aviation and healthcare, to continuously improve oil and gas industry performance and productivity. GE Oil & Gas employs more than 12,000 people worldwide and operates in over 100 countries.
Source: GE Oil & Gas, February 12, 2011;