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Sonardyne, Oceaneering Demonstrate ROV Capabilities in U.S. Gulf

A recent trials partnership between Sonardyne International Ltd. and Oceaneering International, Inc. has resulted in the development of a Fly-By-Wire (FBW) system for ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) control in any water depth, allowing the vehicle to hold station indefinitely and navigate to real-world coordinates automatically.

A Sonardyne SPRINT system was installed on one of Oceaneering’s Maxximum ROVs and integrated with a Sonardyne Ranger 2 Ultra Short Baseline (USBL) system for acoustic aiding of the Inertial Navigation System (INS). The trials took place in the Gulf of Mexico in water depths of 3,057 metres (10,030 ft) and results showed that continuous hovering of the ROV in mid-water beyond Doppler Velocity Log (DVL) range was possible, as well as automatic navigation to waypoints.

The majority of ROV navigation systems utilize an Attitude and Heading Reference System (AHRS) and DVL to provide a relative or dead reckoned position. These systems are subject to time and distance based position errors and only operate close to the seabed, meaning mid-water operations are conducted via manual control so real world or relative coordinates cannot be easily used by the ROV pilot. To address these limitations, Sonardyne and Oceaneering have developed a novel navigation and control system solution utilising the dual output of INS and AHRS data from SPRINT to provide ROV Dynamic Positioning (DP) in all water depths with capabilities beyond current state-of-the-art, without affecting reliability or ease of use.

The system has two methods of ROV control: ‘Navigation’ and ‘Passthru’. In ‘Navigation’ mode, the ROV control system uses INS positioning optimised for DP with real-world position, velocity and attitude data at high output rates. This speeds up ROV operations by improving vehicle control precision, automating station keeping and delivering FBW capability. ‘Navigation’ mode is available continuously in all water depths when USBL data is available. If the INS solution should become degraded or is unavailable, the system automatically reverts to ‘Passthru’ mode. ‘Passthru’ mode is a dead reckoned solution using self contained AHRS data that is inherently robust and reliable when combined with DVL data.

The results of the trial showed that continuous hovering of the ROV in mid-water beyond DVL range was possible, as well as automatic navigation to waypoints. When the ROV was in DVL range of the seabed the ‘Navigation’ mode performed equally as well as the ‘Passthru’ mode but with the added benefit of real-world referenced positioning data from the USBL system. The faster update rate (20 Hz, compared to the 5 Hz rate of the DVL) has the potential to refine vehicle control precision.

Commenting on the development, Mark Carter, Business Development Manager for Inertial Systems at Sonardyne said, “Fly-By-Wire ROV control using real-world coordinates significantly improves operational efficiency compared to relative-only positioning methods. Faster navigation updates, automatic registering of waypoints and indefinite mid-water station keeping speed up ROV operations and ultimately save ROV and vessel time.”

Mark Philip, ROV Technology Manager at Oceaneering stated that, “Autonomous flight control is an increasingly important feature for ROVs. Oceaneering’s Fly-By-Wire system has greatly enhanced the efficiency of the service we provide to our customers since its introduction several years ago. The integration of the SPRINT inertial navigation system further enhances this capability by providing hands-free hovering and navigation throughout the entire water column. We place high importance on ease of operation and redundancy and are confident that our collaboration with Sonardyne satisfies these requirements.”

Sonardyne, Oceaneering Demonstrate ROV Capabilities in U.S. Gulf| Offshore Energy Today.

Houston, TX: Oceaneering Reports Record Second Quarter Results (USA)

Oceaneering International, Inc. today reported record second quarter earnings for the period ended June 30, 2012. On revenue of $673 million, Oceaneering generated net income of $72.6 million, or $0.67 per share. During the corresponding period in 2011, Oceaneering reported revenue of $546 million and net income of $56.7 million, or $0.52 per share.

Subsea World News – Oceaneering Reports Record Second Quarter Results (USA).

Oceaneering Bags Angola Gig from BP

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Oceaneering International, Inc. announced that it has secured a three-year Field Support Vessel Services contract from BP p.l.c. Oceaneering will provide project management, engineering, and vessel services offshore Angola on Blocks 18 and 31, commencing February 1, 2012. The contract provides for two option periods of one year each, exercisable by BP.

Two chartered vessels, the Ocean Intervention III and the Bourbon Oceanteam 101, will be supplied under the contract. Each vessel will be outfitted with two Oceaneering work class remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) capable of working in 3,000 meters of water. Oceaneering will mobilize its chartered vessel, the Ocean Intervention III, from the U.S. Gulf of Mexico to Angola commencing in early January 2012. The contract scope of work includes light subsea construction, inspection, maintenance, and repair services on existing and future subsea infrastructure. The contract has a provision for Oceaneering to provide, at BP’s option, a third vessel after the commencement date.

M. Kevin McEvoy, President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “We are pleased to have secured this contract with BP, one of our largest customers. This project builds on our well-established deepwater vessel project capabilities in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico and represents a significant geographic expansion with considerable backlog for our Subsea Projects business. It further reinforces our long-term commitment to Angola, which is a growing market for Oceaneering’s services and products.

BP’s involvement with Angola goes back to the mid 1970s. During the 1990s, BP made very substantial investments in Angola’s offshore oil, and it is now an important part of the company’s upstream portfolio. The UK based oil giant on Tuesday confirmed that it has gained access to five more deepwater exploration and production blocks offshore Angola.

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