TechnipFMC Umbilicals with University of Aberdeen

Umbilical load bearing cable termination


TechnipFMC is a global leader in subsea, onshore/offshore and surface projects.

Recognising the ever-increasing need for power subsea due to recent developments in subsea technology and that many previously ‘topside’ operations are moving to the seabed, TechnipFMC developed a high tensile medium voltage conductor for ultra-deep water and highly dynamic use within umbilicals.  This light-weight aluminium conductor offers superior mechanical capabilities, however, the main advtanges of the aluminium conductor can only be realised if the conductor can be made to bear axial load directly whilst under electrical load.

Identifying the need to develop a method of suspending the umbilical in the water column and transferring the weight, TechnipFMC approached OGIC and partnered with the University of Aberdeen to undertake concept design, detailed design, prototype manufacture and testing of their load bearing connector.  The University’s School of Engineering’s capabilities in mechanics of materials, experimental testing and thermal analysis simulation was directly relevant to the technical requirements of the project.


“Working in partnership with OGIC and Aberdeen University has been an extremely smooth process.  The facilitation provided by OGIC, a partner who understands the needs of industry and the competencies of academia, ensured the collaboration between TechnipFMC and Aberdeen University was successful.  The funding provided by OGIC and academic support in niche technical areas has enabled a complex and innovative technology to be fast tracked through concept validation into detailed engineering ready for application.  OGIC has proven to be a very effective partner who we would certainly work with in future.”

Dr Alan Dobson, Senior Manager R&D and Technology, TechnipFMC Umbilicals Ltd


“The aim of the project was to gain the engineering skills and capability for the design of a load bearing, electrically isolating termination for the conductor of a medium voltage cable to allow the use of the conductor as a load bearing.  The project is in the core research field of the School’s expertise in the experimental testing of a range of engineering materials, including elevated temperatures, as well as on analytical and numerical analysis.  This project has provided an excellent opportunity for the academics to apply their knowledge and skills in design, computational and experimental mechanics to solving practical industrial problems and product development.”

Mehmet Kartal, Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering, University of Aberdeen


This enabling technology will facilitate the introduction of robust, low cost power cable technologies in support of Subsea Production Systems such as pumping, subsea separation, and electrical heating technologies.  TechnipFMC will have a feasible solution for using the aluminium cables within their umbilicals in full load bearing capacity, therefore removing the need for additional armouring or strength members.  This will be highly beneficial in challenging environment, such as West of Shetland, where aluminium cable would be the preferred option for conductor materials due to its high fatigue performance.  In many cases, this will offer a large cost reduction by removing the need for additional strength members.


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