Remote operations delivered on live subsea project in Gulf of Mexico
Underwater technology company Sonardyne has successfully provided remote Fusion 2 survey operations capability on a live subsea construction campaign in the US Gulf of Mexico. Using its new Remote Operations Access Module (ROAM), Sonardyne surveyors based in the UK were able to remotely access and operate the Fusion 2 survey and construction software onboard Subsea 7 vessels in the Gulf of Mexico.
By using the ROAM, potential limitations on operations posed by international travel restrictions were mitigated and the decision to upgrade from Fusion 1 to Fusion 2 was de-risked.
Fusion 2 streamlines offshore field development operations by reducing the time and capital expenditure needed to undertake survey and construction tasks. It combines traditional long baseline (LBL) and inertial navigation system (INS) techniques in one, unlocking significant benefits, not least being able to perform real-time simultaneous location and mapping (SLAM) calibration of sparse seabed transponder arrays. Real-time SLAM calibration capability means far less hardware has to be deployed on the seafloor, consdiderably reducing vessel time, environmental impact and equipment inventories.
Portable Comms Tool
ROAM is a rugged, portable communications link in a box that can operate over satellite or any other available network, such as 4G/5G and vessel Wi-Fi, providing secure access between Sonardyne engineers and any vessel needing remote expert assistance.
The remote operations service was provided in summer 2020 during a deepwater campaign on the Mad Dog Phase 2 project in the US Gulf of Mexico. Subsea 7 onboard surveyors were able to undertake remote training in Fusion 2 prior to deployment. Then, using the ROAM, Sonardyne surveyors working onshore in the UK were able to work shifts alongside their counterparts onboard the vessel in Fusion 2, supporting live positioning operations and taking secure control if required.
Edward Moller, head of Energy at Sonardyne, says, “Facilitating remote operations is just one of the many steps we’re taking towards meeting industry’s and our own digitalisation, environmental and safety goals. Although this is the first time we’ve provided a remote operational support for Fusion 2, it’s just the latest remote capability we routinely offer across our business, from data harvesting using uncrewed surface vessels to ultra-short baseline system verification tests on vessels of opportunity.”