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0 Overview
Fibre optics are based on the principle of
internal reflection, where light reflects or
refracts depending on the angle at which strikes
the surface [1]. Data is transferred through light
waves within a glass or plastic material,
specifying the angle at which the waves are
reflected determines how successfully the data
reaches its destination. Within the fibre optic
cable light waves are channelled to the
Figure 1(Light Reflection, Core and Cladding [1]) receiver by creating internal reflection within
the core as shown in figure 1; a fibre optic cable consists of two types of glass, core and cladding.
The glass used for the cladding has a higher refractive index than that of the core, this helps contain
light waves within the core as light to ensure the data is transferred, as illustrated by figure 1.

3.0 Fibre Optics Advantages and Benefits: Subsea
Production Control Systems
Within a subsea production control system, data both needs to be sent and received. More
specifically, signals are sent to subsea electronics module to complete operations. Data is also
received to operate and monitor the system. Given the complexity of subsea control systems and the
vast amount of data needed from monitoring and control functions, high bandwidth data transfer is
critical. The need for high bandwidth is increasing as with subsea sensors, this results in a larger
amount of data being transferred more quickly to operators so that they may be analysed. The use of
fibre optic cables have various distinct advantages which include, electromagnetic interference
immunity, lightweight and compact, and high bandwidth over long distances can be achieved [2].
Such advantages are easily transferrable to subsea control systems.

3.1 High Bandwidth
Control systems need significantly more than 1,200 or 9,600- baud communication available [3].
Through the use of fibre optics over 200M baud is offered over long distances which will not
compromise the design of the umbilical, the increased baud rate also decreases the Bit Error Rate
(BER). Error correction algorithms can be run given the increased bit rate, this results in multiples
of the same message being sent from which can be compared to the received signals. Comparing the
sent messages and received signals will allow the operator to confirm no error was occurred in
transfer, in turn reducing the error rate and increasing reliability of communication [3].
Accompanied with the bandwidth and BER improvements communication accuracy increases
through real-time monitoring allowing greater error checking capabilities, reducing the risk of
failure through communication. Higher bandwidth allows increased amounts of data to reach
operators quicker and over greater distances, meaning important monitoring information can be
received quicker to ensure action is taken, as can be done with control functions.

3.2 Longer Distances
Fibre optics produce little attenuation, signals being transmitted over long distance can then be
achieved [4]. In relation to subsea control systems, fibre optics can be implemented for distances
over 200 km without the need for signal boosters or repeaters, suitable for where long tie-backs to
topside or shore are needed. As subsea operations increasingly move into more remote harsh
environments with longer tie-backs the use of fibre optics boast a huge advantage in the ability to
transfer data over long distances.

whereas fibre optic cables can stretch over 100 kilometres before a repeater is needed [7]. Reduction in overall cable size and weight of fibre optics result in greater lengths of cable to be stored on winching equipment. of which is generated from variable frequency drive to injection pump.1 Signal Transmission over Distance Low attenuation found in fibre optic cables produce greater distances of signal transmission than those of copper wire systems. the use of electronics at such temperatures rapidly reduce the reliability of system. resulting in signals being carried through locations with high EMI. fibre optics eliminate the .5 Harsh Environment Performance Downhole applications can prove to be very harsh environments for materials to operate within. 3. The improved BER values increase the reliability of the fibre compared to copper. Significant reductions in diameters can resultantly have cost advantages for umbilical manufacturing and implementation where overall cross section of an umbilical can be reduced. 4.4 Material Fibre optics are very lightweight and compact when compared to traditional electrical systems. Changes in electromagnetic fields will induce current within a copper conductor.3 Electromagnetic Interference Immunity Electromagnetic interference (EMI) is created by high power. EMI can interfere with communications particularly when located within the umbilical alongside the power lines [5]. reducing the risk of communication failure. Fibre optics signals are transmitted through light opposed to current.3. as it allows real time monitoring. However fibre optics can withstand temperatures reaching 300° C. copper systems offer BER of 1:106 where fibre optics offer BER of 1:109 [5]. This proves a great advantage for use in close proximity to high power machinery on the seafloor which can create a lot of noise. this is instrumental to subsea applications. but an indication of the difference of bandwidth possibility of each material. Temperature in downhole environments can exceed 120° C. opposed to current. reducing communication failure in turn improving reliability of the subsea control system [6].3 Electromagnetic Interference Communication systems which use copper are susceptible to the effects of EMI [9]. The values stated are not what is achieved with every application of fibre optics and copper respectively. accompanied with higher bandwidth the amount of data received will also be increased. The immunity to EMI eliminates the risk of data corruption through EMI. Fibre optic applications are not effect by EMI as signals are transmitted through light. Increased lengths of cable will eliminate the need for larger winching equipment when using such applications as seismic cables. With increased bandwidth the BER also differ between the two materials. whereas copper cabling is much less with bandwidth values being up to 1 GHz [8].2 Bandwidth Typical bandwidth in fibre optic cabling can reach up to 10 GHz. 4. Fibre optics can achieve a much higher bandwidth than that of copper. EMI interference can also be caused by high machinery noise. Reductions in weight and size boast the benefits specifically to transportation.0 Copper Wire System Comparison 4. umbilical and tether cables. storage and implementation of the cables. larger amounts of data to be transferred and such data to be transferred quicker than that of copper applications. The distance in which copper systems require a repeater to regain signal integrity is much lower than that of fibre optic cables. as produced on the sea floor. 4. Increasing the reliability reduces the chance of data corruption. 3. Copper wire systems will realistically require a repeater in intervals of every few kilometres. increasing the reliability of the system in relation to downhole environments [6].

BP has also installed 80% of their high rate wells with real time monitoring systems. Although the material individually is less. 1300 km cable was laid. the smaller stature of fibre optic cables have a much lesser weight than compared to copper wire systems.0 System Design for Fibre Optic Based Control System 5. Fibre optic connects provide the control room operator with data information from sensors within wells and other subsea equipment. How the connectors will be aligned and connected should also be carefully considered. BP has implemented fibre optic communications connecting all of its platforms Thunder Horse. there are several considerations that need to be taken when using wet-mate fibre optic connectors. the use of copper wire system is cheaper than that of fibre optic. if both copper and fibre optic cables were of the same performance there would be a large difference in size [9]. seabed temperatures are generally stable and low. Reduction in weight and size improve storage and manufacturing of umbilicals. fibre optic is the most economic viable option. accompanied with a further 2000 km of fibre and 2 million data tags [11]. winch equipment once limited to certain lengths using copper systems will now be able to accommodate greater lengths of fibre optics in comparison.mate connectors are vital in subsea control systems.0 Example of Subsea System Fibre Optic Communications In the Gulf of Mexico (GoM). In relation to cost. thus reducing the size and weight of the umbilical also.000 barrels that are produced from 7 wells daily. A vital component in subsea control systems. BP estimate that through improved communications on the Thunder .1 Key Components and Consideration Wet. The reduced size and weight of fibre optics result in a reduction in umbilical cross sections. 6. The information provided will allow the integrity of components to be assessed as well as reservoir production. however storage of the components could be in direct sunlight in hot climates such as the Gulf of Mexico or cold climates of the Norwegian continental shelf [10]. which have to be connected above water and then submerged. such connectors are expected to perform in depths up to 3000 m with these depths likely to increase in the future. the connectors provide communications between the control room and subsea equipment [10]. The extensive length of cable used is providing BP 2. 4. increasingly reliability where the use of copper would decrease the reliability of the system. Fibre optic communications implemented to a complex high producing platform such as Thunder Horse would allow the masses of data to be transferred from subsea to platform quickly. Implementing a copper wire system with similar performance to fibre would inflate costs vastly. Given the understanding of size difference. it is instrumental that the optical faces of the connectors are not contaminated or damaged to ensure optimal performance. enabling connections to be made whilst submerged opposed to dry-mate connectors. It is expected that the fibre optic cable would be significantly smaller than that of copper given enhanced performances and greater retention of power. With regard to temperature. In current technological advancements. However.possibility of data corruption.500 times greater bandwidth than that of a satellite connection [11]. For a copper wire system to replicate the performances of fibre it would have to be much larger in size to accommodate losses in signal strength or attenuation. where applications in down well may be needed. 5.4 Size. Mad Dog and Na Kika. Wet-mate connectors are regularly implemented into harsh environments. considerations to pressure and temperatures. for applications where large amounts of data need to be transferred long distances quickly. Weight and Cost In comparison. data from the 350. The connectors are also expected to withstand temperatures up to 300 C.

On several levels the FON project is proving a strategic investment.Horse Platform with the use of real time monitoring an approximate extra 80. data transfer in communications. The interfaces used in the FON project allow the platforms to directly connect to local area networks and on-board routers. removing interdependencies. Improved bandwidth can sustain real life monitoring to accommodate the data transmission to platforms or even ashore. 7. Each branching units on the trunk cable provides independent bandwidth through the branch. the system also needs little intervention. The BP Fibre Optic Network (FON) project includes 1. The trunk cable is used to provide each primary platform with a path to stations ashore.000 barrels are day are being produced.100 km optical fibre trunk cable outside the continental shelf with branching units to target specific platforms [12]. The increased reliability of using fibre optics in subsea applications allow improved data transfer of parameters which influence safety and decision making.0 Conclusion . because of improvements in production. The project has a 25 year design life but possesses expansion capability. BP achieve this through the use of optical filters and transceivers on each platform accompanied with the transceivers of each station.

Available at: <https://www.pdf .pdf [12] http://www. [online] Available at:< id=NKRQiEb4nXAC&pg=PA232&lpg=PA232&dq=increased+bandwidth+subsea&source=bl&ots =7CH--rKtW&sig=s5YIiTGZYRElwtZb0BGmUZiB3IY&hl=en&sa=X&ei=uG5rVOiBJceKsQTlwoLwBg& ved=0CC8Q6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=increased%20bandwidth%20subsea&f=false [4]BP id=QYsvdMp2UP4C&pg=PA347&dq=bandwidth+fibre+optic+vs+copper&hl=en&sa=X&ei=UqRs VITLG4u_sQSW_oDgDQ&ved=0CDMQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=bandwidth%20fibre%20optic %20vs%20copper&f=false [10] http://designsmarterfaster. between Copper and Fiber-Optic =0CFAQ6AEwBQ#v=onepage&q=Fibre%20optics%20data%20transfer&f=false [8]> [Accessed 12 November 2014] [5]Awwad. [pdf] Offshore Technology Conference. Fiber-Optic Connectors: An Enabling Technology for High-Noise Subsea References [1] D. Fiber-Optic Technology. 2012.pdf> [Accessed 17 November 2014] [9] http://books. Available at: < 2014.ic.pdf> [Accessed 11 November 2014] [2]Fiber Optic Interconnections.uib. Advantages of Fiber Optics.pdf [11] 2000.html> [Accessed 12 November 2014] [3] [online] Available at:<http://www. Bandwidth and Application %2FOTC-12150-MS> [Accessed 13 November 2014] [6]Pye. 2002. [pdf] I-COM.onepetro. 2000. Available at:< The Application of Fibre Optics to Subsea Systems. Fibre Optics> [Accessed 13 November 2014] [7] http://books. Available at: <https://www. [pdf] Offshore Technology Conference. [pdf] The International Engineering Consortium. 2014.subtelforum. http://www.pdf .uk/url? sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=9&ved=0CE0QFjAI&url=http%3A%2F df %3Dsrchrtrv%26DocNm%3D1773457-1_offshoremarine%26DocType%3DDS%26DocLang %3DEN&ei=65VsVJDZKcfksASP1YGADg&usg=AFQjCNF3MHJ4LIrrxlByzO7ycS9B6yFF-g http://ieeexplore.jsp?tp=&arnumber=5664452