Future ROV Technology - Subsea Wireless Control
Wireless subsea technology is becoming a fundamental part of the oil and gas industry worldwide. Back in 2010, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) scientists and engineers announced testing of an undersea optical communications system that, complemented by acoustics, enabled a virtual revolution in high-speed undersea data collection and transmission. Acoustic techniques were developed, which are now the predominant mode of underwater communications between ships and smaller, autonomous and remote control vehicles. However, acoustic systems, although capable of long-range communication, transmit data at limited speeds and delayed delivery rates due to the relatively slow speed of sound in water.
VENUS in the Salish Sea
The VENUS observatory in the Salish Sea is represented by a series of installations in Saanich Inlet and Strait of Georgia. The Victoria Experimental Network Under the Sea (VENUS) has been in continual operation since February, 2006 and is operated by Ocean Networks Canada at the University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. The cabled instrument arrays are deployed in the coastal waters of southern British Columbia, and the facility provides long-term oceanographic data on physical, chemical, biological, and sediment conditions in Saanich Inlet and in the Strait of Georgia near Vancouver, British Columbia. The data, including images and audio, are processed and made available to researchers and the public through the VENUS website.
Future ROV Technology
Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) perform a wide range of tasks in a variety of underwater scenarios ranging from research to offshore oil industry support, military operations and S&R. Technological developments, have greatly enhanced their scope of operation including harsh environment operations, such as deepwater and Arctic ops. As oil operations went to deeper waters, so did ROVs, which became a key asset in subsea operations such as pre-salt development and has also been increasingly substituting divers below 300 meters, although saturation diving is very much alive and will also continue to be an important asset. The ROVs of the future will have increased intelligent autonomous behavior and will use logic driven circuitry for routine tasks like turning valves…
Other U.S. Navy Work Class ROV’s
Other than the large CURV-21 ROV, the U.S. Navy owns two other smaller ROVs. The Deep Drone is a 4,100 pound ROV that is designed to meet the Navy's mid-water salvage requirements down to a maximum depth of 8,000 feet seawater. The system consists of the vehicle, umbilical cable, motion-compensated handling system, deck hydraulic power unit, generator, operations van and maintenance van. Navigation is accomplished with an ultra-short baseline acoustic tracking system. Two handling systems are available, Sea Horse I for shallow operations (6,000 feet) and Sea Horse II for deeper operations (8,000 feet). As in the CURV-21, the operator can control the Deep Drone and the Magnum in all six degrees of motion with auto-control functions for depth, altitude, and heading.
Pioneer Work Class ROVs (CURV-III & 21) – Part 2
Following the famous search and retrieval of the lost hydrogen bomb off Palomares, CURV-I continued its operations with the U.S. Navy, and continued being upgrades by later generations of vehicles designated CURV II, CURV II-B, CURV II-C and finally CURV III. In 1973, CURV-III performed the deepest underwater rescue in history when it rescued two men 1,575 feet (480 m) deep, off the southwest coast of Ireland, who were stranded 76 hours in the submersible Pisces III with just minutes of air remaining. On Wednesday, August 29th, the aft sphere of the submersible, a smaller watertight sphere where the machinery was, had flooded when the hatch was pulled off during recovery operations near the surface. Suddenly the sub was over a ton heavier and sank like a rock.
Pioneer Work Class ROVs (CURV-I) – Part 1
ROVs are one of the mainstays of deepwater E&P in the oil and gas industry and extensively used in deepwater scientific research, they are also key equipment in any form of deepwater search & rescue operation, but not many people know the history behind ROV development. In this series we’ll take a look at the historical timeline of ROV development up to the present day and also an outlook to the future. The Cable-controlled Undersea Recovery Vehicle (CURV) was the first operational Work Class ROV, developed in the early 1960's by the former Pasadena Annex of the Naval Ordnance Test Station, one of Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific’s (SSC Pacific) parent laboratories. At the time, the U.S.
A Short History of Underwater Labs
In 1957, Project Genesis, led by Dr. George F. Bond, and supported by the US Navy, paved the way for underwater habitat development by proving that humans could overcome the complications of deep diving and spend extended time at depth by saturation diving. Dr. Bond’s early experiments involved exposing rats to increased pressure with various gases, including oxygen, nitrogen and helium. By the early 1960s he was testing effects of saturation on humans. The results of this pioneer research were fundamental to propel the construction of the world’s first underwater human habitat, Conshelf I (Continental Shelf Station One), developed by a team working for Jacques Cousteau.
During the production phase of a reservoir, natural phenomenon, such as movement of fluids, changes in pressure and stress in and around reservoirs occur. In high-pressure reservoirs, pressure depletion during production is associated with compaction within the reservoir causing stretching or extensional stresses in the overburden and underlying formation. This causes variation in velocities and formation thickness, which can be observed as 4D time shifts between successive vintages. Tracking the movements of fluids due to production, for example, gives valuable information about the depletion of a field, and can indicate areas of bypassed oil or gas.
Future Trends – Automated Drilling
Some interesting trends are developing within the O & G industry, one of which is the trend towards increasingly automated drilling. Since the early stages of onshore and offshore drilling, the act of drilling itself has been undertaken as a hands-on job by specialized workers, along the last decade this has begun to change with the introduction of autonomous computer-controlled drilling operations, also known as drilling automation. Oil and Gas operators are developing technologies which they hope will allow drilling operations to be automated, consequently meeting their safety goal of zero people hurt on the job and also reducing drilling operation costs.
Polar Onyx PLSV
The Polar Onyx is arguably the most modern PLSV working offshore Brazil. It is a good example of how Petrobras is demanding high-powered PLSV’s and OSV’s in general to tackle the harsh environments found in Brazil’s deepwater plays. The high capacity new-built is designed for operations in harsh conditions and deep waters and is configured with an Ulstein X-bow. It is built to the highest standard in dynamic positioning, DP3 (Operations +). Final outfitting took place in Schiedam in the Netherlands, where Huisman has installed a 275t vertical lay system (VLS) and a deck-mounted carousel with capacity for 2,000t of flexible pipes. Two permanent work-class ROVs delivered by Ceona’s partner ROVOP, which can operate in 3,000m water depth, were also mobilized in Schiedam.
Autonomous Surface Vehicle’s C-Worker USV
The C-Worker is an unmanned surface vehicle (USV) designed for offshore services in the O&G industry. The multi-role offshore USV is designed to conduct subsea positioning, surveying and environmental monitoring without the need of a ship on station or seabed anchoring. Autonomous Surface Vehicles Ltd (ASV Ltd) is a UK company and part of Global Fusion, a privately owned international marine services group based in Lafayette, Louisiana, USA. The small robust design incorporates an aluminum self-righting hull that makes the vehicle suitable for harsh ocean environments. At only 5.85 meters in length, a beam of 2.2 meters and a height of 4.75 meter with its mast extended, this USV is a much cheaper and compact option for some offshore jobs that today are done by much larger vessels.
FloWave - Circular Ocean Energy Research Pool
The unique FloWave Ocean Energy Research Facility, represents a great asset for reducing risks and refining performance of new marine energy designs to scale before building a first prototype, such as tide or wave energy farms. Its circular shape means waves have no reflections and can come from multiple directions, to mimic stormy seas. FloWave was conceived for cutting edge academic research into wave and tidal current interactions, the FloWave is also an amazing tool for commercial developers to ensure their technologies and projects perform as expected. FloWave is the only research wave pool in the world capable of validating CFD layout, micro-siting and energy yield predictions with physical modeling, before companies commit to investing tens of millions in the project itself.
Advanced Drilling Technology: Mapping-While-Drilling
Oil and Gas drilling teams usually contend with tight schedules for project developments and this may eventually lead to low quality plans and limited risk assessment, which may cause expensive and potentially dangerous drilling problems, such as, stuck pipes, violent kicks, unproductive time and cost overruns. The introduction of Schlumberger’s reservoir mapping-while-drilling service is enabling drillers to make better decisions in short timeframes and avoid costly mistakes. For the operators, the main benefits from the effective well placement may be maximized production, minimized construction and intervention costs. The process of well placements brings together many different disciplines…