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Subsea Electrical Line Testing

Subsea Electrical Line Testing from Surface:

Subsea electrical lines mainly include umbilicals’ electrical lines and standalone Electrical Flying Leads (EFL). Umbilicals’ electrical lines are traditionally tested by using conventional Conductor Resistance (CR) and Insulation Resistance (IR) test units from surface. We have a long experience of umbilical’s conventional CR and IR testing, as well as advanced Time Domain Reflectometry (TDR) which allows us to detect and localize an electrical line anomaly from up to 200 km distance from a platform.

Subsea Electrical Line Testing from Subsea: SICOMTM ROV Tool

Conventional CR, IR and TDR tests are efficient and well-proven techniques. However, as they require one end of the umbilical to be accessible from surface, their scope of applications remains limited to the main following cases:

  • Testing of umbilicals during installation: Testing is performed from one end of the umbilical on the vessel deck while the other end is being deployed subsea ;
  • Testing of dynamic umbilicals (umbilicals with one end connected to the platform, unlike static umbilicals whose both ends are laid on the seabed): Testing is performed from the accessible end of the umbilical on the platform.

This means that the testing of electrical lines of static umbilicals are difficult or impossible as none of their extremities is available from surface. Likewise, the subsea testing of EFL is impossible.

With the rationalization and focus of CAPEX on brownfield developments, it has become increasingly important for oil companies to test mature fields’ static umbilicals and EFL and ensure that their electrical lines can be used for future infill wells. For that purpose, we have heavily invested in R&D and developed the SICOMTM tool: a ROV-deployed Subsea line Insulation and COntinuity Measurement unit. SICOMTM is a very compact electrical test connector compatible with all electrical plugs and receptacles currently available on the market. SICOMTM allows the direct measurement and subsea display of line continuity and insulation resistance. Beyond continuity testing, it has the unique ability to perform high voltage insulation resistance tests, making data comparable with IR results performed with conventional IR units during FAT or installation.

SICOMTM unlocks the technological barriers that have prevented until now oil companies from testing subsea electrical lines of static umbilicals and EFL, while providing results truly comparable with conventional CR/IR tests performed at fabrication stage or during installation.