TAKE 5: The ON&T Interview with Oceaneering
Welcome to Take 5, ON&T’s new monthly interview. Our first guest is none other than Oceaneering’s Chairman & CEO Rod Larson, who shares his thoughts on the world of remote offshore operations and the opportunities that automated subsea technologies present to companies at the forefront of the so-called energy transition.
- What does the energy transition mean to Oceaneering?
- What role do you envision Oceaneering playing in this?
- Tell our readers about some of the work being managed out of Oceaneering’s OROCs…
- How does Oceaneering’s offshore oil and gas industry expertise lend itself to supporting the expanding renewables sector in the US?
- What is Oceaneering’s long-term vision for the integration of automated operations?
The energy transition presents an opportunity to incorporate the latest technologies to make energy cleaner and safer, while also ensuring that the world’s energy security needs are met as renewables gain traction and infrastructure is built.
Oceaneering is committed to helping the energy industry deliver the safest, cleanest barrels. New technology development has allowed service companies to deliver reduced emissions in offshore operations with decreased risk to human workers.
As an offshore services provider, we have done a lot of work throughout the last three years to support our customers’ energy transition goals and carbon reduction targets, including making significant investments in our Offshore Remote Operations Centers (OROCs), the first of which was opened in 2015 in Stavanger, Norway, to serve as a base for remote operations. Now, operators can monitor operations from an office environment and share expertise between multiple projects and clients.
The various remotely operated vehicles and autonomous robots that we have been developing over the last decade are also instrumental to curbing emissions. Vehicles like our battery-powered Liberty™ E-ROV and Freedom™ autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) can be deployed by a vessel of opportunity and recovered when practical after work scopes are completed, thereby reducing the total number of vessel days.
We are also working on several technologies to specifically make a positive impact on the offshore wind and renewables markets. In 2019, we launched our Isurus™ ROV, engineered for offshore renewables projects, greatly improving efficiency in areas that experience harsh weather and current conditions, such as the UK and Asia.
Additionally, we are conducting field trials for our Ocean Perception™ marine mammal mitigation software platform. Ocean Perception ensures renewables developers comply with regulatory requirements by providing real-time, around-the-clock local and remote monitoring of protected marine wildlife. Traditionally, wildlife is observed by a team of protective species observers (PSOs) working on a separate vessel. By utilizing sensor and camera data, you can take traditional observers off the vessel, reducing the need for a dedicated vessel, and lessen carbon emissions. With Ocean Perception, we can also extend operational windows. Traditional operations with PSOs end at night fall, but with Ocean Perception’s infrared cameras, species observation can continue through the night.
To date, we have established three main OROCs; one in Stavanger, Norway; Morgan City, Louisiana, and a third in Aberdeen, Scotland. These OROCs offer redundancy and support for any operation conducted around the world.
We use these facilities to operate our fleet of Work Class ROVs and our resident-capable vehicles, such as Liberty and Freedom, to complete a variety of remote tasks from commissioning, rig moves, underwater inspection in lieu of dry-docking (UWILD) operations, and inspections.
We have worked with major operators around the world to prove remote piloting of ROVs from shore, including a cross-border campaign with BP in late 2021 where our ROV was tasked with observing drilling operations in West of Shetland. In October 2022, we worked with Shell to prove our remote inspection capabilities while using LTE communications coverage in the Gulf of Mexico.
Our Liberty E-ROV has performed a wide range of tasks in the North Sea for Equinor from remote subsea production system commissioning activities to remote subsea pipeline isolation.
So much of the expertise in the offshore oil and gas industry translates well to offshore floating and fixed wind projects, such as construction, installation, and inspection of structures.
For decades, Oceaneering has owned, operated, and chartered one of the largest fleets of US-flagged, Jones Act-compliant, dynamically positioned multi-service vessels (MSVs).
This fleet is outfitted with state-of-the-art tooling, rigging, and crews that deliver the experience necessary for safe and efficient operations.
Later this year, we will also introduce a new uncrewed service vessel (USV) service to support remote AUV tracking and geophysical data collection. This will support our core deepwater geophysical and asset inspection offerings and help us to grow in the offshore renewables market with a dedicated platform for nearshore surveys. The USV will work in conjunction with our existing assets such as the Freedom vehicle and other Hugin AUV units.
Our Grayloc® Clamp Connectors also play a critical role in carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS), hydrogen, and nuclear projects. The clamp’s design and signature metal-to-metal sealing technology makes it suitable for applications from small scale testing to full scale power generation and in nuclear reactors, heat transfer, and cooling systems. Additionally, we have supplied thousands of Clamp Connectors for hydrogen projects around the world to provide critical high temperature performance, ensuring leak-free operations.
We look forward to continuing to help the offshore renewables and offshore energy industries solve critical challenges and deliver high performance products and services that meet the energy needs of the future.
Robotics and automation will be at the forefront of Oceaneering’s long-term strategy. We are continually looking at ways to enhance the capabilities and efficiency of our subsea robotics technologies to enable them to perform tasks with increased precision and accuracy.
One such area we are investigating is the development of 360-degree views for ROV pilots to create better situational awareness. We are working with artificial intelligence and machine learning to make our vehicles more intelligent and capable of making decisions while carrying out missions.
Another product in the works is a Virtual Command Center to provide a centralized and real-time digital twin for all assets related to remote operations.
Outside of the energy sector, we are expanding our engineering expertise to other industries that require robotics and automation, such as manufacturing, healthcare, entertainment, and aerospace.
In 2022, we relaunched Oceaneering Mobile Robotics, which offers both automated guided vehicles and autonomous mobile robots to service hospitals, pharmaceuticals, automotive manufacturers, and other clients. We offer a variety of vehicles from autonomous forklifts to underride robots that can work alongside workers and in areas where space is limited.
For more information, visit: www.oceaneering.com.
This story was originally featured in ON&T Magazine's September 2023 issue. Click here to read more.