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GE Oil & Gas Launches New Subsea Connector to Enhance Reliability of High-Voltage Operations on the Seabed

GE Oil & Gas has completed the qualification of its upgraded 36kV high voltage wet mate connector. MECONTM WM 36/500 offers far more reliability and predictability in subsea power system connections, and can be used with equipment such as transformers, switchgears, variable speed drives and motor loads. By improving the reliability of subsea power transmission and distribution, MECON™ WM 36/500 supports the ambitions of oil and gas operators to develop cost-efficient subsea production and processing facilities. 

“Our MECONTM Wet Mate 36/500 connector is designed to provide highly reliable connections of subsea high voltage equipment. Unlike conventional stab-type connectors, we deploy a unique connection process that ensures that we are in full control of the electrical environment inside the connector before completing the electrical connection” said Alisdair McDonald, Subsea Power & Processing Leader at GE Oil & Gas.

GE uses the same patented technology for all its MECON Wet Mate connectors. A unique in-situ flushing process enables the verification of a benign electrical environment. The flushing process is performed after the connector halves are brought together and before the electrical connections are completed. Firstly, the connector is flushed with seawater to remove any contaminants, then by fresh water, alcohol, and finally dielectric fluid. The dielectric fluid is analysed to verify a benign electrical environment before the electrical and mechanical connection is completed. The process is enabled by a closed-loop flushing tool mounted on a conventional ROV and takes less than 20 minutes in total to complete and no fluids are released to the environment.

In addition to offering greater control and predictability compared to conventional stab-type connectors, MECONTM WM 36/500 can act as an isolation switch at rated system voltage and can be used to verify system health prior to commissioning or to find faults after failure.

MECONTM 36/500 has undergone more than a year of extensive testing to comply with the latest industry-wide standards. The connector has been certified for operation up to 36 kV and 500 amperes in water depths down to 10,000ft or 3,000m.

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