New AI Technologies to Boost Subsea Operations


By The Maritime Executive 05-01-2018 08:14:18

WFS Technologies, the University of Aberdeen and the Aberdeen-based Oil & Gas Innovation Centre have announced a project to design and build the world’s first ExtremeEdge OLM (On-line Monitoring) system for offshore subsea and platform structures. 

The idea is to reduce the need for divers and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) needed for asset integrity and fatigue monitoring of North Sea offshore subsea assets. The technology will also enable real-time, big data analytics.

The project builds on WFS’s Seatooth through-water wireless communications, Subsea Internet of Things (SIoT) and real time wireless fatigue monitoring technologies. The project will focus on advancing technology to monitor subsea structures using autonomous SIoT smart sensors attached to subsea structures and able to operate for over 10 years as a result of intelligent algorithms to optimize battery usage. The sensors will be able to communicate with one another to provide a field-wide, intelligent monitoring system.

The project will involve building and testing a new generation of self-monitoring smart clamps designed for deployment by light-class ROVs. The project will subject the clamps to load tests to confirm full operational capabilities under the wave loading forces they will be subjected to in the North Sea. Further development of the intelligent analytical techniques that optimize battery usage of the sensor devices will also form an important part of the project. Finally, WFS’s real time fatigue system will be adapted for use on an SIoT architecture with local model correction at each smart node.  This work will take the project from proof of concept at the start of the project to prototype demonstration upon project completion.

In March this year the Oil & Gas Innovation Centre invested £300,000 in three new projects with the potential to improve efficiency and cut costs in the energy industry.

The first project will see Blue Gentoo work with the University of Aberdeen to develop an Intelligent Hydrate Tool (IHT). The tool will automatically control MonoEthylene Glycol (MEG) injection by monitoring hydrocarbon parameters – calculating both the MEG required and any subsequent injection adjustments in real time – without routine human intervention. 

The IHT will learn effective human and computer devised injection strategies for hydrate prevention, reusing them in the appropriate circumstances and providing a detailed justification of the adopted strategy. Combining AI technology, proven software and engineering techniques, the system also aims to enhance oil recovery, minimize production risks and offer environmental benefits.

The second undertaking will see Robert Gordon University working, with Cambridge-based CorrosionRADAR to take its new remote monitoring and analytics system to the next stage. The device has been developed to monitor corrosion under insulation using permanently mounted sensors to locate problem areas within complex pipeline networks. The system will allow operators to move from reactive and risk based inspection programs to a more targeted, informed and predictive corrosion management program, minimizing the risk of failure improving safety and a reduction in maintenance costs.

The third venture will see Phoenix RDS work with Heriot-Watt University to develop a flow control device. The system will identify potential changes in the property of fluids passing through a pipeline and ensure the desired polymer mixture is maintained. The project will include field trials performed with scaled 3D models to identify and highlight pressure changes and viscosity degradation.