Exploring hidden depths under the seabed.

Norwegian company Petro-Marker, developed a device that is able to collect data up to 5,000 meters underneath the seabed. The technology scans the bottom of the ocean in great detail providing information as to the location and size of oil reservoirs.

1,000 metres below the sea the environment is harsh, ice cold and very dark with no natural light. An ROV has strong floodlights that identify tri-pod objects anchored to the bottom of the seabed. These are receiver stations for electromagnetic waves transmitted into the seafloor, giving feedback on the seabed itself and finding resource deposits.

When oil companies want to find out whether drilling at depth is worth the cost, they often rely on Controlled Source Electro Magnetic (CSEM) technology. This technology utilises the differences in the electrical resistance of different bottom layers to provide signs of the location and size of oil fields. The CSEM technology uses a very strong power source to generate an electro-magnetic field, as well as several receivers to record the fields. These tripod receivers are placed on the sandy bottom and pick up electromagnetic signals that have been changed by the layers through which they passed.

In 2016 Petro-Marker placed 25 new tripods in the North Sea. What sets this technology apart is a new measuring method that uses a vertical transmitter and receiver to find resources. This enables a much more detailed resolution and data measurement up to 5,000 meters beneath the seafloor.

The tripods are about 4 meters high and made from a combination of glass fibre and special foams. Due to the sensitive electronics, metal parts cannot be used. This far below the surface, the pressure is extreme, and the salt water is hostile. At the center of the tripods (receivers), the antennas are aligned as vertically as possible on the seabed.

The system uses a maxon controller (EPOS) and a compensator. The units are encased in plastic to protect them from salt-water corrosion. Several modifications were required to meet the requirements of this application: An EC-i 40 motor, GP 42 planetary gearhead and compensator that were all customised. A dual seal, that imitates typical submarine technology, ensures the system is able to resist the enormous water pressure. The control electronics of the underwater drive are housed in a pressure-neutral glass ball that is able to resist the pressures of up to 600 bar – one of the challenges of this extreme application.

For more information or to speak to one of our Sales Engineers call tel. +61 2 9457 7477.

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About maxon Group Australia

maxon is a manufacturer of world-class precision drive systems. At maxon, we develop and build high precision electric drive systems that are among the best in the world. We combine brushed and brushless DC motors, gearheads, sensors, and controllers into complete mechatronic drive systems. Since 1961, businesses from a wide range of industries including medical technology, robotics, industrial automation, mobility, and aerospace place their trust in reliable drive systems by maxon. Our drives are perfectly suited for wherever extreme precision and the highest quality standards are necessary and where compromises cannot be tolerated – on Earth, and on Mars. We are driven by progress. We are certain that we can continuously improve – even what seems to be perfect – over and over again. We believe that outstanding engineers and technicians can make a positive impact on the world. This is why we support them in their efforts to go off the beaten path and provide the right drives for their ideas. We do this because we share in their uncompromising drive to excel in technology.

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