In a first for the UK, Oceaneering International, a subsea technology and engineering company, has successfully piloted a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) for BP from its onshore operations centre in Stavanger, Norway.
BP, which also makes products for industry like the Castrol metalworking fluids, gave Oceaneering the task of monitoring drilling activity at its Clair Ridge development to the west of Shetland. To achieve this, a complicated process was undertaken to connect the two companies’ networks and install an undersea fibre optic link to the site.
Remote ROV piloting can potentially reduce the environmental impact of operations and improve safety by reducing the number of people needed on board, which is also an important factor for COVID-19 mitigation. The remote piloting team in Stavanger controlled the ROV with 100% uptime for more than 70 hours during the project.
In a statement, BP’s Vice President for North Sea wells, Tom Fuller, said about the project:
“The success of this innovative solution at Clair Ridge builds increased credibility and familiarity to remote ROV operations. By using experts located onshore in Norway instead of offshore personnel, the safety risk was reduced. It’s also a great example of how remote technologies can deliver emissions reductions on our assets.”
Fuller added that this was in line with the company’s goal of becoming a net-zero emitter of greenhouse gasses by 2050. He also said the project had improved the company’s understanding of how piloting ROVs remotely could present challenges but also bring benefits, and it would be considering translating this knowhow into future developments.