The SKF Group has announced a major contract in the oil and gas sector. Indeed, 200 km off the coast of Norway is a gas field located 300 m deep. Unable to rely on natural pressure to bring this gas back up, the major players in the project (including Statoil, Exxon, Total, Aker Solution, Man, SKF) came together to develop a solution to "help" the gas to rise. A superstructure will be submerged at the bottom of the North Sea and will bring gas to the surface.
This includes the state-of-the-art magnetic bearing technology of SKF. These bearings could be high-speed bearings, relying on the levitation of the stator and rotor. Indeed, in this system, the tree that drives the rotating machine is levitated and held in position by electromagnetic forces generated in the radial and axial directions. These forces are generated by copper wire electromagnets controlled by sophisticated electronic components. The result: no friction and very high energy efficiency (97%).
The goal is to have continuous operation for 5 years. For this, remote monitoring is mandatory. The manufacturer offers its data collection tools adapted to the required measurements thanks to a software solution.
If this experiment on the Asgard gas field is successful, there is no doubt that it will be repeated in other places to extend the life of the gas fields and preserve natural resources.