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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.

Helix ROV Support Vessel Ready for North Sea

Helix Energy Solutions Group’s newbuild charter ROV support vessel, Grand Canyon, recently completed sea trials and is ready to begin operations in the North Sea. During the sea trials the vessel’s propulsion system, dynamic positioning system and all her cranes were tested.

The vessel recently completed its outfitting in Norway after the initial hull construction was completed in Turkey. Grand Canyon is capable of launching five ROVs at once and will be operated by Helix ESG’s robotics subsidiary, Canyon Offshore.

The vessel will be the new home for another recently completed asset, the T1200 trenching unit. Used primarily to bury large diameter power cables leading from offshore windfarms, the T1200 is also capable of working on oil and gas projects to bury production pipelines.

The Grand Canyon was designed to provide a high capacity, stable working platform for lay, burial and general offshore construction work while still retaining a shallow draft, which is crucial when operating close to the coastline, and common in the renewable energy sector.Grand Canyon’s DP3 capability allows her to operate in any sector, providing offshore support in a wide variety of roles.

The vessel’s deck structure is specifically designed to accept trenching and flexible pipe or cable lay systems for safe and efficient mobilizations. A key focus throughout the design and build of Grand Canyon was to optimize the vessel and equipment design to facilitate efficient mobilizations.

Helix ROV Support Vessel Ready for North Sea | Offshore Energy Today.

Forum Subsea Deploys Perry T-1200 Trencher in UK

Forum Subsea Technologies, a business line of Forum Energy Technologies, Inc. announces the completed deployment and successful operation of the new Perry T-1200 Trencher for Canyon Offshore, a subsidiary of Helix Energy Solutions Group.

The T-1200 is mobilized to bury power cables at Sheringham Shoals, an offshore wind farm in the United Kingdom that is owned equally by Statoil and Statkraft through joint-venture company Scira Offshore Energy Limited. The wind farm, which is currently under construction, has 88 wind turbine generators, located 17 to 23 km offshore from the coastal town of Sheringham, North Norfolk.

Perry trenching systems are recognized by many clients as a market leader in this technology due to their design, reliability and capability and have been successfully utilised in challenging trenching environments throughout the world. The T-1200 Trencher is an update of the successful T-750 trencher also owned and operated by Canyon Offshore since 2004.

Forum Subsea Technologies is a business line of Forum Energy Technologies, Inc. Their ROV product line ranges from electric observation class ROVs to large hydraulic work-class vehicles used for inspection, survey and deep-water construction, as well as other remote intervention technologies and services. Forum Subsea Technologies is positioned to support its customers through a global sales team and a worldwide network of distributors and service centres.

Forum Energy Technologies Inc.,headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a global provider of manufactured technologies and applied products to the energy industry. With approximately 3,300 employees located throughout the world, Forum is well positioned to provide the products and technologies essential to solving the increasingly complex challenges of the subsea, drilling and production sectors of the oil and gas industry.

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Aker Bags Subsea Intervention Services Contract Offshore Angola

Aker Solutions’ subsidiary Aker Oilfield Services has received a contract from Total E&P Angola for providing subsea intervention services from the oil services company’s purpose-built intervention vessel, Skandi Aker. The agreement marks a breakthrough for vessel-based intervention services in deep and ultra-deep waters.

The agreement is valid for a period of two (2) years plus options for three further one-year (1+1+1) periods. The firm two-year part of the contract has an aggregated value of approximately USD 250 million. Start-up of operations is planned to take place offshore Angola in Q1 2013.

Skandi Aker is the first well service vessel of its kind capable of performing riser-based subsea well intervention in deep and ultra-deep waters. Traditionally subsea well intervention has been performed from drilling rigs. But the rigs’ high day rates have made such operations very expensive, while rig availability has been limited. The increasing water depths also mean that it has been necessary to develop alternative technology and more cost effective systems to access deepwater wells.

“Skandi Aker is able to perform deepwater well intervention services that oil companies previously needed drilling rigs to conduct. More importantly we do it quicker and more cost effectively, which will increase the frequency of intervention operations and enable our customers’ subsea wells to produce more oil and gas,” says Karl Erik Kjelstad, president of Aker Oilfield Services and head of the Oilfield Services & Marine Assets (OMA) business area in Aker Solutions.

“We are thrilled with this award and to be able to deliver on our vision of developing a cost effective technology for intervention activities at deepwater subsea fields. We are humble about the trust placed in us by Total E&P Angola and their license partners, and look forward to deliver high quality services with the ultimate aim of increasing oil recovery ratios,” adds Kjelstad.

Under the contract Skandi Aker will perform subsea intervention activities related to:

- Well re-entry for testing operations

- Well re-entry for interventions using wireline, coil tubing and well stimulations

- Running/lifting subsea trees with cable or work-over riser

- Suspension or plug and abandonment of wells

Provision of the downhole well services, well test services and ROV services will be provided through separate contracts, outside Aker Solutions’ scope of services for Total E&P Angola.

“In recent years we have made significant investments in developing capabilities for vessel-based subsea intervention activities – both with regards to suitable deepwater technologies and services. We are pleased to see that these investments continue to materialise into contracts,” adds Karl Erik Kjelstad.

Aker Oilfield Services has built up significant resources for subsea intervention and subsea well intervention work. In addition to Skandi Aker, Skandi Santos has since March 2010 been operating very successfully on a 5+ year contract performing subsea intervention work offshore Brazil. Further, In April 2012 the company was awarded a long-term agreement with Statoil to provide a full range of heavy well intervention and light drilling services on the Norwegian continental shelf. The contract period is for eight years, with options for three further two-year periods (2+2+2). Work will be performed from a new build Category B well intervention rig owned and operated by Aker Oilfield Services.

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WWCS, DOF Subsea Conduct Subsea Services in US Gulf Of Mexico

Wright’s Well Control Services (WWCS) completed a riserless subsea plug & abandonment (P&A) using tubing to pull out of the hole from a Multi-Service Vessel (MSV) in 1,250’ WD in the Gulf of Mexico. DOF Subsea USA provided marine and subsea services. New tools where custom engineered specifically for this project and successfully deployed.

One of the initial challenges addressed by the WWCS team was the one-of-a-kind tree found at the site with an annulus monitoring valve at a 35° angle. After finding no Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) tooling on the market offering the ability to nipple down and up on a subsea flange, WWCS designed and built a new torque tool. The new tool unbolted the flange and bolted in a new flange with a 2” hot stab.

The next step was to design and build a hydraulic connector that would allow WWCS to pull away from a section that might have issues while leaving a modified Tree Running Tool (TRT) subsea. This connector was designed to engage and disengage a subsea Blowout Preventer (BOP) and lubricator for additional barriers as needed without time consuming trips to the surface to add and remove the TRT.

WWCS also modified a Tubing Hanger Pulling Tool (THPT) to pull tubing with a crane subsea. The tubing was removed with a bull string on the deck of the MSV with a ROV for guidance as the segments where pulled out one at a time. One of the MSV’s moonpools was used to run the coil string and the umbilical while tubing and casing were pulled from a secondary moonpool.

Steps in the plug & abandonment procedure included: setting six (6) 16.4 ppg Class H neat cement plugs, setting three (3) Cast Iron Bridge Plugs (CIBP), cutting and pulling 37 joints of 3½” tubing, cutting and pulling 750′ of 9⅝” casing, cutting and pulling 13⅜” casing, cutting and pulling 20″ x 30″ casing with a mechanical cutter below mudline (bml), flushing a 6″ pipeline of 3890 barrels (bbls) of fluid with a modified 4” connector, recovering the umbilical tension assembly (UTA) and pipeline end manifold (PLEM), and setting a modified plumbers plug and submar mats on the lines.

“This project was a great success for everyone involved at Wright’s Well Control Services,” said WWCS president David Wright. “In 30 days we successfully executed a very challenging subsea P&A utilizing four new subsea tools including a jumper to flush the pipeline that we designed and built while on location. I’m proud of our crew and support staff. The techniques and tools deployed on this job may change how subsea P&As are conducted going forward.”

“It was great to work with WWCS on this innovative subsea P&A project,” said Brent Boyce, vice president of operations at DOF Subsea USA. “The new tooling designed to flange and re-flange the subsea annulus monitoring system interfaced perfectly with our ROVs. We were able to remove and reinstall the device even at 35 to 45° angle.”

Wright’s Well Control Services offers comprehensive surface and subsea offshore services for clients in the Gulf of Mexico. Wright’s specializes in cost effective rigless applications including patent-pending hydrate remediation, subsea BOP and plug & abandonment technologies. WWCS was founded in 2006 by David Wright who has 25 years of offshore and onshore engineering experience including work at Halliburton, The Red Adair Company and ATP. Wright’s is a privately held company employing 75 people with corporate offices in Humble (Houston), Texas and an operations facility is Lake Charles, Louisiana.

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