Shell comes aboard subsea 3D printing joint industry project

Shell has joined a joint industry project dedicated to developing and testing advanced 3D printing technologies as an in situ, metal-to-metal, repair method for subsea assets.

Shell joins project partners Kongsberg Ferrotech, Equinor, Gassco and SINTEF who have been working on this industrial project, named SAMLE, since 2021.

Project partners believe that new methods, in development, represent a game-changing way of conducting subsea repairs, as additive manufacturing for lifetime extension of subsea assets is expected to have great financial and environmental benefits for installed and future assets and 3D printing meets the main criteria for sustainability.

“We’re happy to be part of an exciting development. When we discovered this joint industry project, we realized that the repair methods have many applications within Shell’s global operations. The technology is of great interest to Shell and fits nicely into our portfolio of advanced technology for subsea robotics and 3D printing,” said Angeline Goh, 3D printing technology manager at Shell.

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SAMLE has identified applications such as the repair of cracks, dents, and replacement of lost materials and is currently in the process of qualifying the 3D printing technology for cracks and dents.

3D printing technology will be integrated into Kongsberg Ferrotech’s inspection, repair and maintenance (IMR) robots.

According to the project partners, the technology is suitable for subsea oil and gas, hydrogen transport grids, wind farms, transmission cables, among others.

“We’re excited to welcome Shell to the team and consider their decision as an important recognition of the potential represented by our technology. With another global partner onboard, we’re able to adapt our technology towards a large global market. Together with our partners we’re now preparing for the world’s first test of 3D printing repairs in demanding ocean spaces,” Torgeir Bræin, CTO at Kongsberg Ferrotech, stated.

The joint industry collaboration is supported by the Research Council of Norway through the PETROMAKS 2 program.