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GE Buying, Developing Subsea Drilling Controls Technology

Dec. 18, 2014
Oceaneering’s subsea electric actuator products support efforts development of electro-hydraulic controls Regulating flow in complex extraction GE to promote commercial production Will absorb engineering team
GE explained electric actuators offer well operators potentially lower overall system costs and reduce the risk of hydraulic fluid leaks.

General Electric’s GE Oil & Gas business unit agreed to acquire the subsea electric actuator product line of Oceaneering, a Norwegian supplier of engineering services and products for oil-and-gas exploration and production. The products are marketed as the Oceaneering Subsea All Electric and Ifokus brand, which designs and manufactures specialty subsea products, in particular electric valve actuators.

The value of the acquisition was not announced. The deal remains subject to standard regulatory approvals, though GE expected to complete during Q1 2015. The purchase follows GE’s recent strategy to expand its industrial assets and downsize its financing operations.

Electric actuators are used in subsea systems to control the flow of oil or gas from the well, or the flow of fluids injected into the well as part of the extraction process. As described by GE, electric actuators offer well operators potentially lower overall system costs and reduce the risk of hydraulic fluid leaks, thus addressing a standard environmental concern in the exploration process.

The Oceaneering technology is suited for complex subsea processing applications and more difficult extraction environments, such as deepwater fields, or fields at great distance from shore. This is expected to become more necessary as “easy oil recovery” becomes less common.

Oceaneering has an engineering team based in Stavanger, Norway, where the electric actuator business is centered. Those individuals will join the GE Oil & Gas Subsea Systems, also in Stavanger.

“We are extremely pleased to sign our agreement with GE, which has the global resources, subsea controls technology and systems integration expertise required to bring Ifokus technology to full-scale commercial production to meet the growing demands for subsea electrification,” stated Mark Peterson, Oceaneering’s vice president of corporate development.

The Ifokus business supplies a line of hydraulic fluid-based subsea controls equipment enhanced with electric actuation systems that increase diagnostic capabilities.

“With Ifokus as part of our solutions portfolio, GE has the opportunity to pave the way for electrification in the oil and gas subsea space,” explained Rod Christie, CEO of GE Oil & Gas’ Subsea Systems business, “giving us a new technology that is faster to operate for processing applications, has excellent enhanced diagnostic capabilities, and can be seamlessly integrated into a customer’s existing controls, communications and power network.”

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