Project overview of Tapis-R
Tapis-R is an integral part of the Tapis Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) project being executed by a joint venture between Exxon Mobil and Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd. The objective of this project is to extensively explore new oil and gas resources with the objective of ensuring uninterrupted and sustainable power supplies to Malaysia.
The project, being executed at an estimated cost of $3.1 billion, is a highly prestigious one and is being viewed as integral and critical for catalysing the future industrial development of Malaysia. Upon completion, this project is expected to greatly enhance the production and recovery from the Tapis field, from where production has been in progress since 1978.
Tapis-R is an offshore central processing platform being set up by this joint venture and is one of the major initiatives under the overall TAPIS project. Tapis-R is located 200 km away from peninsular Malaysia at a water depth of 64 metres and is an integrated platform with a capacity of approximately 18000 metric tonnes. It contains space for installation of equipment for processing the production of oil, facility for compression of gas and water injection, installation of utility systems and also the residential facilities for 145 personnel working in the oil field.
The Project Requirements
There was a need to procure several high end electrical components for building the Tapis-R platform. Since this was an offshore project and the substation was being built at a distance of 200 km from the nearest shore, there was a need to ensure that it was resistant to the harsh weather conditions like salty winds, storms, etc. It also needed to be highly insulated to prevent accidents and largely maintenance free. The following were the specific requirements of the customer:
- Four low voltage 5000A, 4BOV (3P 3W). 60Hz busducts insulated with cast resin, along with all necessary accessories
- Two low voltage 2500A, 480V (3P 3W), 60Hz, busducts insulated with cast resin, along with all accessories.
- The complete set of all materials and accessories that were necessary to assemble the busducts. These included mounting supports, flexible connections, moulding brackets, resin powder.
- Apart from these, the required mixing materials for field joint, wall penetrations, brackets etc. were also needed.
- All busbar accessories required for establishing the connection to transformer, switchgear and EOG.
- Eta-com had to provide their experienced personnel to oversee the setting-up of the busbars.
- The company was responsible for on-site supervision and actual on-site installation and testing of joints & connectors
- They also had to conduct the overall verification, usability, and safety tests.
- Specifications provided by the customer:
- The design of the busducts had to be type-tested by an independent recognised testing body like UL, KEMA, ASTA, etc.
- The LV busducts that were needed for the project had to be rated at minimum 1 kV class with continuous current at maximum ambient temperature, 3 phases, 3 wires, 60Hz.
- They should be able to withstand 100ka symmetrical short circuit current for 1 sec.
- The busducts had to be of the low impedance variety using adequately sized high-conductivity copper conductors.
- The voltage drops for each busduct had to be less than 1% of the rated voltage under full load conditions at the maximum ambient temperatures.
- Fully encapsulated, cast-resin insulated non-segregated phase type (including at the joints).
- The busbars needed to be resistant to fire (as per IEC 60331). Also, these had to be covered with self-extinguishing insulation materials and should be tested to comply with IEC 60332.
- Outdoor portions of busducts should be weatherproof and should meet JP 68 requirements.
- All bus joints should be made of the same material as the bus bars.
- To prevent loosening of the joints, only high tensile strength bolts should be used
- The joints in the busducts should be covered and maintenance free.
- The flexible connectors that were needed to connect both sides of the busduct to the transformer, EDG and switchgear had to be provided.
- The bus conductors should be made of 100% conductivity bar-type copper with silver plated joints.
- They should be capable of carrying the rated current continuously without exceeding a temperature rise of 55 degrees C above ambient at any point of the busduct (based on a maximum 40 degrees C ambient).
- Project challenges:
- Harsh weather conditions: The biggest challenge for Eta-com was to ensure that the materials it supplied were capable of withstanding major changes in the weather and the rugged environment that typically causes problems in offshore installations. The corrosive salty winds that blow on the sea tend to cause rust and a high degree of wear and tear. Eta-com needed to insulate its products with the right materials to minimise this risk. The busduct assemblies to be supplied needed to be suitable for this interconnection between the outdoor and indoor components.
- Complicated installation: The installations had to be made both outside and inside the platform. The inside area, i.e. the switchgear room, was air conditioned and was much cooler than the outside area where the transformer and the EDG were located. The bus duct system needed to be routed from the outside to inside by boring holes through A60 fire rated wall, and the difference in the temperature also needed to be handled, which was a big challenge.
With its extensive experience of nearly four decades, Eta-com was in a unique position to fulfil all the requirements of the customers, and it was also capable of meeting the project challenges. Therefore, Eta-com was chosen by the joint venture company to supply several specialised and high end electrical equipment that was necessary for constructing the Tapis-R offshore platform.
Mandate to Eta-com
The customer asked Eta-com to provide the following materials:
- The busbars and busducts that were required.
- The materials like wall frame assembly, fire rated fillers/ insulating material, fixing hardware, etc. That was necessary for penetrating through the switchgear room fire rated walls for fixing the busducts, without compromising the integrity of the fire rated walls.
- The design of the busduct sections should allow the components to be hung from the overhead areas both indoors and outdoors. All mounting materials and support profiles needed on the busduct to hang the components also needed to be provided by Eta-com.
The solution provided by Eta-com
The mandate to Eta-com from the customer was very clear. They had to create best-in-class customised busbars using the latest technologies and had to ensure that they were weather proof, corrosion free and essentially required no maintenance.
Since offshore installations require an extra level of precision, the components provided by Eta-com were customised to meet all the requirements of the customer
The following items were supplied:
- 4 lines of elements type LB12DC, 3-phased, 5000A, 60Hz, corresponding to a total length of 170m of busduct
- 2 lines of elements type LB12EC, 3-phased, 2500A, 60Hz, corresponding to a total length of 38m of busduct.
These betobar-r busducts are made of copper conductors that are insulated and encapsulated with a high grade epoxy resin compound. This makes them very safe and secure. These low voltage busducts are fully compliant with the IEC 60439-2 standards.
Since the customer wanted an end-to-end solution starting from the supply of components to installation, the work of Eta-com did not end with the supply of these busducts. Skilled engineers from the installation supervision department supervised the installation work to ensure that the installation has been done with 100% precision.
To make the installation easy, Eta-com has provided a set of Cu-laminar braided flexibles at the transformers and generator. A highly flexible connection (flange + bellow) with the existing terminal box transformer (IP55) and an adaptation of the terminal box and top plate to fit with the betobar-r busduct have also been provided.
A set of Cu-laminar rigid shunts has been provided at the MCC, along with flexible top connection ( plate + seal) with the existing top plate of the panel. A possible adaptation of the terminal box and top plate has also been provided to fit with the betobar-r busduct.
One of the main requirements of the customer was to ensure that the entire installation is fire resistant. To comply with this, Eta-com has created a fire barrier for the busduct. This complies with norm A60 for on deck offshore platform wall/floor crossings. It has also provided resistant materials to fill up the gap between busduct and wall/floor.
Since the customer wanted the entire set of connectors to be installed overhead, and not on the floor, Eta-com provided standard hangers in stainless steel SS316: U-profile + 2 threaded rods length max. 2m as support structures to hang the components.
Why betobar-r busducts were the best solution
The betobar-r busducts are well known for their technical superiority, safety and maintenance-free nature. These are type tested and are currently powering many electrical installations and power grids around the world.
There were several unique advantages of this construction. Some of these are:
- The installation is completely maintenance free.
- The busducts are 100% resistant to water, dust, atmospheric pollution and many chemicals.
- The busducts are encapsulated with epoxy resin, which provides protection from mechanical shocks and electrical surges. They can also withstand short circuits and prevent accidents resulting from electrical failures.
- The terminal elements have been specifically customized for this installation by Eta-com. These terminals have been appropriately marked so that they can be easily connected to the right panels and transformers, these are also short circuit proof, and very secure.
Usability Tests Conducted:
To ensure that the installation has been of the highest quality, and to eliminate any chances of malfunctioning and accidents, Eta-com has conducted extensive final work tests and witness tests for the Tapis-R low voltage installations. These included tests for insulation resistance at 5kv DC and a voltage test at 5kv / 50Hz during 1 minute.
The final installation has been highly successful, and the Tapis-R offshore central processing platform is now operational. The excellent components supplied by Eta-com and the high precision installation conducted will ensure that the platform will run for a long time without requiring any major maintenance or replacements. Eta-com is proud to be part of such a vast project and of the fact that the customer trusted the company and its products for this mission critical project.
Eta-com is a globally renowned manufacturer of electrical equipment having its headquarters in Boom, Belgium. It specialises in the manufacture of prefabricated electrical busbar systems that are used in power generating stations in different countries around the world.
Available in both low voltage and medium voltage versions, the busbars manufactured by Eta-com consist of copper or aluminum conductors. The busbars made of copper have more than 98% ICS electrical conductivity, while those made of aluminum have 61% ICS electrical conductivity. The busbars are insulated with high quality cast resin, making them extra secure and accident proof. The shape and size of the bars can be customised as per the requirements of the customers.
Apart from the fact that its products are conform to the European standards of quality and reliability, they are long lasting and are excellent for building maintenance-free power supply systems. The sophisticated technologies that Eta-com uses for manufacturing its products make them the preferred choice for electrical and technology companies involved in building power transmission and distribution systems in many countries across the world.
Established way back in 1979, Eta-com is currently owned by the leading power equipment maker C&S Electric Ltd. Apart from Belgium, Eta-com has branches in the Netherlands and the UK. Its reach is extended by an extensive network of distributors and sales agents spread across countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Americas, the Middle East and Far East.