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Key elements of Remote Offshore Survey Operations

B.M.J. Possel, H. Swiegers

Small scale SCADA-like (Supervisory Control And Data Acquisition) networks specifically designed for offshore surveying are regularly mobilized on vessels for projects of Fugro clients. An increasing number of these vessels have access to internet using satellite communication systems. When this is combined with remote control software it enables reliable and secure connections to onshore facilities, allowing real-time access to the offshore survey systems.

By combining existing components Fugro has successfully pioneered Remote Services to internal users and external customers. Key aspects that characterize this service are remote control of the survey systems and the automatic transfer of vessel-status information to onshore servers, where data is disseminated using a dedicated client website.

With clients realising the advantages of this service, it has resulted in improved project execution, improved vessel management and risk mitigation. Furthermore enhanced support from experienced personnel onshore is available which has lead to detection and resolving of potential issues before they escalated and caused downtime. Also with this service a reduction in the amount of personnel onsite can be foreseen, which will cut transportation and accommodation costs and limits Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) risks.

It can be concluded that Remote Offshore Survey Operations will become a more common tool to improve the control of costs and risks in the offshore industry.

Subjects that will be discussed in more detail in the paper are:
– The contribution of increased possibilities of offshore (internet) communication
– Description of the current services and practices
– An analysis of advantages and disadvantages of remote operations
– Insight into future research and developments, where lessons can be learned from the aviation industry