Magnetic bearings tough enough for the depths of the sea

3Today’s oil and gas industry is facing many challenges, including lower oil prices and environmental issues that are forcing companies to look into alternative methods of extraction. Many companies are recognising the need to innovate and are investing in long-term solutions. Energy company Statoil is one of these innovative companies. Traditionally, gas compression takes place on platforms or onshore, quite a distance from the source. Locating a compressor as close to the well as possible offers a cheaper and more energy efficient alternative. The subsea gas compression system is located on the seabed in the Åsgard gas field 300 metres deep in the North Sea. This new solution brings to impressive environmental benefits. The subsea compressor requires some 40 per cent less power to operate than a traditional topside solution for the same service and it significantly reduces the CO2 emissions. SKF’s magnetic bearing technology was a key enabler in turning this dream into a reality. There are many more applications for SKF’s magnetic bearings in the oil, gas and power generation industries. The bearings can be found onshore, offshore, and now subsea. Magnetic bearings are in industrial cooling chillers, blowers, pumps, everywhere there is a system rotating at high speed or where there is a need to cut down on CO2 emissions.

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