BP Plc in Norway has awarded ABB a contract worth $50 million to supply equipment for an underwater power link that will increase reliable and safe electricity supply and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

ABB will supply the converter stations at each end of the 292-km (181-mile) cable, which will bring direct current (DC) power from Lista in southern Norway to the Valhall oil field in the North Sea where it will be converted to alternating current (AC). The system uses high-voltage direct current (HVDC) light technology, an ABB innovation for delivering high-voltage power underground and underwater.

“Our technology will make more efficient use of energy and helps reduce production costs,” said Samir Brikho, head of ABB’s Power Systems division. “Last year we installed the world’s first system using the technology offshore, also in the North Sea, and we see further applications for it such as in offshore wind farms.”

The power link will replace offshore gas turbines and cut emissions of carbon dioxide by 300,000 tons per year, equivalent to the amount generated by about 30,000 households. It will also cut maintenance and reduce the weight of equipment on the platform.

The installation will deliver 78 MW of power when it starts operating in 2009, enough to run Valhall and other platforms in the field. Execution of the project is subject to approval of a redevelopment plan for the oil field that will be submitted to the Norwegian authorities in August.