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Subsea Cabling And Connections For Energy And Defense

The oceans of the earth connect the regions of this planet more than any other aspect of nature. Even with advances in air travel and wireless communications, trans-oceanic shipping and other subsea applications still serve important roles for many aspects of the global economy. At AMETEK ECP, we craft many of the components that serve as the connective tissue allowing so many of these industries and tasks to properly function.

Today, we're going to explore two major sectors that depends upon AMETEK parts for subsea connectivity and cabling - energy and naval defense. We'll also provide a thorough rundown of how our design and fabrication of these components continues to position us as the gold standard for these arenas even in the face of a constantly evolving world.

Deep beneath the waves for offshore oil extraction

The oil and gas markets have seen their share of ups and downs during the past decade - especially during the last several years. Through that time, issues ranging from global geopolitics and the oil price drop of 2014 to questions regarding the environmental impact of hydraulic fracturing have played a variety of roles in the sector's progression.

However, a study conducted by IHS Global Inc., at the behest of the U.S. Energy Information Administration, broadly examined onshore and offshore oil extraction costs and found the latter has only increased about 3 percent each year from 2016 after a considerable 15 percent drop observed in 2015. Additionally, it's well-established that offshore drilling is less affected by short-term fluctuations in oil and commodity prices due to the longer time frame necessary for deep water operation. As such, the cultivation of oil from offshore subsea wells is not going to disappear from the sector any time soon - and AMETEK components will remain vital to these applications.

Every well is different, of course. But for the purpose of operational effectiveness and eventual bottom-line profitability, offshore oil operations require the capability to drill as deep as is feasibly and safely possible. The only way to guarantee that capability is for every single element of all electronic equipment involved to operate at the greatest possible capacity, no matter how challenging the environmental circumstances. Vital tasks including pressure and depth monitoring, well exploration and performance upkeep are able to maintain mission-critical functionality thanks to numerous AMETEK components, including the following:
  • Glass-to-metal seals: To ensure the flow of electricity despite the massive pressures that exist under the sea, AMETEK engineers utilize glass-to-metal sealants for electrical bulkheads and penetrators to keep cables, circuits and all other connective points protected - even at depths of greater than 3,500 meters or pressures of 450 bar (6,500 psi). Given the prolonged times that can be common in offshore drilling, many of these subsea parts are guaranteed to operate successfully for more than 25 years.
  • Dry- and wet-mate connectors: In the complicated reality of offshore oil operations, there's no guarantee that certain connections can be made in a fully dry environment before they're submerged in the depths of a deep water oil-drilling trench. AMETEK offers connectors for dry- and wet-mate scenarios with the strength to operate at maximum capacity and efficacy for decades, with features including redundant chambers for ultra-high reliability.
  • Fiber-optic connectivity:Until AMETEK ECP invented it, high quality feed-through for fiber-optic cabling that could operate in deep water oil wells were very difficult to find. High water pressure and the extreme heat produced by drilling would prevent proper function. The design specialists in AMETEK's Subsea division developed a hermetic glass seal that protected sensitive fiber optics, allowing for much faster transfer of valuable performance data from undersea drilling equipment to the surface.
offshore oil applications

Supporting the foundations of sound naval defense

Battleships and aircraft carriers are perhaps the most visible elements of national navies in the oceans and other waterways of the world, serving as the clearest signs of military might. But underneath the waves, submarines conduct a great deal more of the reconnaissance and exploratory operations, and some even carry the nuclear arsenals that will ideally never need to be used. Yet, at depths far greater than those plumbed by offshore drills, such vessels have absolutely no margin for error in terms of structural integrity. This means that the many miles of electronic cabling and connections powering so many functions within submarines cannot ever be compromised and must run without incident.

AMETEK ECP facilitates this level of seamless operation by providing protective housings, connectors, penetrators and other components capable of withstanding undersea pressures reaching into the tens of thousands of pounds per square inch. These allow the safe and efficient flow of power through such vessels regardless of the salinity, impurity, temperature or other adverse factors of the water that surrounds them.

Circuits, semiconductors, connectors and cables necessary for collecting valuable data can flawlessly gather this information and pass it to naval personnel due to the coverage that AMETEK subsea hull penetrators offer. Available for single- and multi-port applications, these parts rely on the strength of stainless steel, nickel-aluminum and other custom engineered alloys to prevent the intrusion of water and anything within it. They are certified according to the specifications of the world's greatest navies, including the U.S. and U.K., and are also fully ISO 9001 compliant.

What brings all of this together is the power of cabling. Whether pressure-balanced oil filled, coaxial or fiber optic connections as needed, AMETEK ECP engineers rely on decades of experience and company tradition to design the cables and connectors that make maritime defense and research operations possible. Across any ocean or sea, for any mission, AMETEK components are ready to serve.


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