This paper focuses on the benefits of removing existing control boundaries between subsea system components/parts and the automation setup located topsides on the platform (or onshore). The paper describes the communication architecture of existing subsea control systems used today and proposes a new architecture with boundaries removed. This new setup would utilize the same physical (i.e. fiber-optic) communication channels as present systems.

For illustrative purposes, a use case for the proposed system will be presented on an anti-surge setup for a subsea pump/compressor. Existing subsea control systems today are intended for and used to control hydraulic valves in subsea production setups. The design and behavior of these systems make them not optimal for anti-surge control (among other applications). Interfaces and communication protocols used in the proposed use case are based on open industry standards, resulting in a vendor-agnostic system with no proprietary or company-specific solutions, and no boundary between the subsea and topside/onshore located parts.

Potential benefits of the proposed system would include reduced latency, along with the combining of several measured values for increased accuracy over a larger scale, illustrated with an anti-surge example. This could enable operators to realize cost savings through optimization and increased production over the life of the installation. As the paper will describe, the system also has the potential to reduce both CAPEX and OPEX.

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