Safe power distribution on oil platform

"Rittal offers the most stable and flexible system”, says Thomas Schellhorn, Managing Director of Promontan GmbH.

Offshore oil extraction places high demands on the equipment used. Typical requirements include the highest possible degree of safety in plant operation and GL (Germanischer Lloyd) certification. Oil production platforms which are operated unmanned, for example in the case of Dragon Oil, are particularly demanding. To ensure safe main power distribution, the oil company has consistently put its faith in the form 4b construction. The switchgear manufacturer, Promontan, has met this requirement with the Ri4Power system from Rittal and software-based assembly aids.

The internationally-active oil and gas producer, Dragon Oil plc, Dubai, extracts crude oil and natural gas, predominantly in the Caspian Sea off the coast of Turkmenistan. The company sought a switchgear manufacturer for the main power distribution system for a new oil production platform. Dragon Oil found what it was looking for in Promontan GmbH from Werder, near Potsdam in Germany. The energy supply, created by diesel generators on the oil platform, is designed redundantly with two 600 amp feeds. The consumption systems are supplied with electrical power through a total of twelve outgoing feeder panels. In addition, starter motors for drives, such as those for seawater, fresh water and diesel pumps have been installed. Further energy consumption elements are heating systems and compressors for cooling plants.

"The requirement to construct the switchgear in form 4b was new for us", explains Thomas Schellhorn, Managing Director of Promontan GmbH. In form 4b switchgear the functional areas of the various outlets are insulated against each other. This design has the advantage that it provides a considerably higher level of operational and personal safety, in particular in the event of breakdowns. "It quickly became clear to us that we could achieve this using the system from Rittal", says Schellhorn.

An additional challenge was provided by the extreme space constraints on the oil platform. The switchgear had to be constructed to take up around 50 per cent less space than comparable equipment. The project was implemented using the Ri4Power system from Rittal, which is based on the TS 8 enclosure system. Support was also provided by the "Power Engineering" software from Rittal in all planning stages, right up to assembly, enabling standard-compliant documentation of the switchgear equipment.