NorthConnect has investigated the inclusion of a repeaterless fibre-optic data cable in the project, and initial findings show it will be technically feasible and very cost-effective when combined with the power cable design, manufacture and subsea installation. The commercial aspects are being examined further, but NorthConnect has a unique geographic advantage where it meets the Norwegian and UK coastlines, crossing strong, existing fibre-optic links very close to the world class oil and gas centres of both Stavanger and Aberdeen. This will also provide a significant opportunity to Norway for the development of data-centres in the Rogaland region.
Long-distance fibre-optic cables normally include active subsea repeaters, but at present not technically qualified for installation along with power cables'
However, repeaterless systems are much cheaper, simpler, more reliable and have no interference from electro-magnetic fields. Although they can have limitations on performance with transmission distance, recent technology developments have extended the capability of repeaterleass systems up to 500km with very high transmission capacity.
For the NorthConnect project, the distance from Peterhead in the UK to Haugelandet on the Norwegian coast is 480km, making a repeaterless system feasible for inclusion in the project scope. Drive technology is also developing fast and this is installed in the electronics at each end of the link, so can be upgraded after the cable has been installed if required.
There are significant technical and cost efficiencies through surveying, designing and installing a fibre-optic cable at the same time as a power cable.
NorthConnect have estimated potential savings compared to a stand alone fibre-optic cable project. This represents an increase for the power cable projects of only a few present of the Capex when fibre-optic scope is included. NordBalt, Skagerak4, Valhalla and Johann Sverdrup have all undertaken or embarked upon bundled HVDC and Fibre cables due to these cost savings.
The commercial opportunity is still to be examined thoroughly, although NorthConnect has a unique geographical advantage where it meets the Norwegian and UK coastlines, crossing strong, existing fibre-optic networks very close to the world class oil and gas centres of both Stavanger and Aberdeen. This will also provide a significant opportunity to Norway for the development of data-centres in the Rogaland region.