Offshore Oil & Gas industry strongly relies on marine operations which are both risky and costly, like for example transferring personnel onboard platforms, installing or inspecting subsea structures. Oceans are complex and powerful environments where uncertainty is still commonplace. Offshore currents are within the least mastered oceanic features, besides, frequently causing incidents and inefficiencies.
eOdyn fills this knowledge gap by bringing Omni-Situ currents measurement onboard vessels. Omni-Situ solution relies on machine learning algorithms, analysing vessels tracks to measure ocean surface currents. It turns a mandatory communication system (Automatic Identification System, AIS) into an observation system, tracking human activity to observe nature.
Crew members benefit from this near real-time, accurate and large coverage information on ocean currents that provides insights to secure decision-making. eOdyn’s service enables actual, not estimated, situation awareness to constitute the base for upfront operations planning and continuous re-assessment. Unnecessary conservatisms are eliminated, avoiding downtimes as well as incidents. This is definitely good news, both for safety and cost efficiency, when the industry is pushing boundaries and operating in ever harsher environments.
Ships tracks around Cape of Good Hope and sea surface temperature
Omni-Situ currents measurements and sea surface temperature at Cape of Good Hope
Users and their needs
eOdyn’s service is dedicated to O&G companies and their contractors for offshore operations. User companies involved in this project are two integrated O&G companies and a contractor, all three are based in Europe. Integrated O&G companies prospect, explore, develop, produce and decommission oil and gas fields. Contractors are involved in various aspects of offshore operations, comprising vessels operations. Users within these companies are metocean experts, engineering departments and marine operation staffs.
These users need following aspects for safe and effective marine operations:
- Capturing typical and extreme environmental conditions to plan operations upfront
- Gaining visibility on coming surface currents conditions just before operation execution
- Monitoring surface currents evolution during execution
- Being noticed when extreme conditions are foreseen and reached, such as strong currents, eddies or solitons.
Typical solutions regarding oceanic currents, rely on model-based forecast as well as extremely local in-situ measurement. None of these means provide reliable information with appropriate spatial and temporal coverage. This is the gap eOdyn’s service intend to fill.
Targeted users are based worldwide although most head quarters are based in Europe, US and Asia. Operations areas are spread all over the oceans, such as offshore Africa, Gulf of Mexico, Latin America, Mediterranean or China Sea.
Service/ system concept
Main goal for selected service is to provide appropriate insights to make decisions about critical marine operations. For example, to avoid launching an ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) just before strong currents reach operation area, that would risk breaking tether cable and losing the ROV. Most targeted situations are related to the occurrence of high frequency and highly energetic ocean processes such as eddies meanders and solitons.
Mariners onboard vessels can visualise currents surrounding operation area in real-time. The size of visible area is such that ocean processes can be spotted several hours before hitting the vessel. Events are directly spotted by vessel crew. In addition, several event tracking tools are provided. Basic tool is raising visual and sound alarms when monitored currents speed is reaching a certain value. Then advanced options are tracking ocean processes, evaluating those that are likely to hit operation area and estimated time.
The service is provided through following infrastructure:
Space Added Value
eOdyn’s service is based on information coming from several space assets. Service’s core, Omni-Situ measurement, is based on AIS data mainly provided by satellite (SAT-AIS). Currents information from altimetry satellites as well as sea surface temperature and chlorophyll concentration are also assessed. Service is broadcasted onboard vessels through VSAT.
eOdyn’s Omni-Situ system turns a communication system, AIS, into an ocean observation system. AIS from satellites, SAT-AIS, provide a very extended coverage. It is currently available through various commercial satellite data providers. In a near future Sentinel 1C & 1D may also provide SAT-AIS under Copernicus Programme. More Sat-AIS players may also develop data service provisions.
Geostrophic currents derived from altimetry satellite is well-understood information, complementing Omni-Situ measurement. Altimetry data is presently collected by Sentinel-3A & B as well as Jason 2 & 3. Jason-CS/Sentinel 6 programme guarantees availability for the coming years. Information is mainly made available through Copernicus Programme on European side and NESDIS/NOAA on US side.
Feasibility Study initially analysed eOdyn services market fit and users’ requirements. This highlighted gaps within user needs that could be filled by eOdyn but also key performance aspects to check. Then a Proof of Concept verified that key requirements could be met by eOdyn’s Omni-Situ technology. This demonstrated how Omni-Situ measurement positively compare with other remote sensing surface current measurement means. It also showed that the technology can detect high frequency events. Ultimately, development, deployment, dissemination and operation of the services was studied in term of planning, costs and risks to prepare for commercial roll-out.
The Feasibility Study is now complete. It is planned to apply for a follow-on Demonstration Project to make the first identified services available to the market and secure early adopters.