ELFO Subsea completes delivery of Snøhvit’s FODM

We are proud to share ELFO has completed delivery of subsea Fiber Optic Distribution Module (FODM). The integration of the FODM adds 12 new connection points allowing for added flexibility and capacity utilization of the optical cable network in the Barents Sea. Developed in collaboration with our partner, Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), FODM represents a significant advancement in subsea communication infrastructure in the Barent Sea. This article delves into the journey of bringing the FODM to life, highlighting key milestones, technical specifications, and the collaborative efforts that made it all possible.

Starting Snøhvit’s FODM Project

Our journey with the FODM project began in March 2023, driven by the specific requirements of ASN. Tasked with designing and delivering a solution for efficient fiber optic distribution in subsea environments, our goal was clear: to develop a robust module capable of anchoring optical fibers from the DC/FO cable to 12 optical wet-mate Flange Mounted connectors while ensuring overtrawlable protection. This infrastructure will be seamlessly integrated into the existing DC/FO infrastructure on the Equinor operated Snøhvit field in the Barents Sea, bolstering its capabilities and ensuring uninterrupted communication in this vital offshore environment.

Technical Excellence in Design

The design of the FODM was produced to meet the technical, functional, and environmental requirements set forth by ASN. Integrating an Optical Cable Termination (OCT) sub-assembly within the FODM, we were able to bridge the gap between two environments, ensuring seamless transmission of optical signals in challenging subsea conditions. Additionally, the inclusion of a GRP cover provided overtrawlable protection, further enhancing the reliability and durability of subsea installed assets.

Technical Specifications and Design Integrity

With a design life of 30 years, design depth of 500m, and operational parameters ranging from -5°C to +40°C, the FODM is engineered to withstand the environmental conditions of the Barent Sea.

Elements Included in the Delivery to ASN

Alongside its technical specifications, the FODM delivery to ASN comprises a comprehensive set of components and equipment essential for its deployment and operation. Below is the list of elements included in the delivery to ASN:

  • 1 off subsea installable steel structure with “1 in & 12 out optical cable termination”  integrated and terminated to ASN’s provided DC/FO cable tail with loop caps on all 12 optical connectors. 
  • 1 off GRP cover providing the overtrawlable protection. Delivered with GRP cover are 8 off 4T rock bags for anchoring the GRP cover subsea.
  • 6 off 35m long optical flying leads.
  • 4 off surface test connectors/jumpers.

These elements are designed and crafted to ensure seamless integration and optimal performance of the FODM in subsea environments, further enhancing its reliability and functionality.

Project Management and Execution

Guiding us through every phase of the project was our colleague Aron, a seasoned project manager with a wealth of experience in handling complex engineering endeavors. Aron’s reflections on his role shed light on the multifaceted nature of project management. “On the Snøhvit project, I wore many hats,” Aron recalls, “from planning to hands-on work such as building and testing products.” His main responsibility, however, remained ensuring smooth operations from start to finish.

The challenges encountered during the project were not overlooked by Aron. He recounts, “Working on the project was challenging and rewarding.” The design and testing of the “1in & 12out” cable termination, in particular, posed significant hurdles. Aron acknowledges the dedication of the ELFO team in rising to the challenge, stating, “The most rewarding was to work with the competent ELFO team which stood up to the task of delivering ELFO’s largest project to this day according to contract.”

Collaboration with our esteemed client, Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), was paramount to the success of the project. Aron emphasizes the importance of open communication, stating, “Collaboration with our competent client, and end-customer, was also very good.” This collaborative approach ensured that obstacles were addressed promptly and effectively, enabling the project to proceed smoothly.

Technical Expertise and Innovation

In expressing his gratitude towards those involved, Aron highlights the invaluable contribution of Sigve Mikkelsen, our Technical Lead. “Especially I owe thanks to Sigve Mikkelsen who was ELFO’s technical lead on the project,” Aron states. 

Sigve’s profound understanding of subsea engineering principles and innovative problem-solving skills were instrumental in overcoming technical hurdles encountered during the development process. His contributions were pivotal in ensuring the integrity and functionality of the FODM.

Collaboration and Communication

The successful delivery of the Fiber Optical Distribution Module (FODM) stands as a testament to the power of collaboration and the dedication of our team and partners. From the outset, our collective goal was to design and deliver a cutting-edge solution for subsea communication infrastructure, and through collaborative efforts, we achieved remarkable milestones.

Since the inception of Snøhvit’s FODM project in March 2023, we have worked tirelessly alongside our partner, Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), to bring the solutions to life. Despite the inherent challenges of developing subsea technology, we remained committed to delivering within the agreed-upon timeframe. The realization of the FODM within approximately 13-14 months is a testament to our efficiency and dedication to meeting project deadlines.

In an industry where project timelines can often extend far beyond initial estimates, our ability to deliver the FODM within such a short timeframe is a remarkable achievement. While larger companies may grapple with lengthy lead times, we have demonstrated our agility and capability to deliver high-quality solutions on time and within budget.

In Summary: The Significance of FODM’s Delivery

In conclusion, the successful delivery of Snøhvit’s FODM represents a significant milestone for ELFO, and it is an important addition to communication infrastructure in the Barent Sea. Through our unwavering commitment to excellence, technical expertise, and collaborative spirit, we have demonstrated our ability to design, manufacture, and deliver subsea interconnect infrastructure essential for our client’s assets. As the demand for reliable subsea connectivity continues to grow, ELFO intends to keep on being the resourceful partner in resolving and executing these projects in the effective and easy manner we have demonstrated.