The development of deep-water hydrocarbon discoveries presents fresh engineering design challenges. Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) enable survey sensors to be deployed close to the seafloor producing hydrographic and geophysical survey data of the highest quality and optimum resolution.
No matter how deep or remote the planned field development, Fugro's fleet of AUVs delivers enormous efficiencies in survey methodology and produces engineering survey data of the highest quality. Use of inbuilt Inertial Navigation System (INS) technology adds rigour to the positioning of geo-hazards and seabed features, and survey productivity in deep water is far superior to conventional methods. Surveys can be completed sooner and with greater accuracy, engineering design is optimised and development project risks are reduced.
Fugro's AUV fleet comprises Echo Surveyor and Echo Mapper class vehicles - both rated to 3,000 metres water depth - and shallow water REMUS 100 vehicles, suitable for port and harbour developments. Echo Surveyor I & II are Kongsberg Maritime manufactured Hugin 3000 vehicles deployed from Fugro survey vessels dedicated to the role of AUV mother ships. The Echo Mapper class vehicles, based on a Bluefin 21 design, are conceived as transportable systems, suitable for rapid deployment from vessels of opportunity world-wide.
Echo Mapper II is undergoing final system testing in Fugro's Seattle facility, while Echo Mapper I is at the Bluefin factory being upgraded with the latest survey sensor package, following a project offshore India.
Echo Surveyor I, deployed from Geo Prospector, is currently surveying a trans-Mediterranean pipeline route, while Echo Surveyor II onboard Fugro's newest dedicated geophysical survey vessel, Fugro Enterprise, is undertaking a geophysical survey for a large deep-water field development in the Gulf of Mexico. On both spreads, AUV and conventional survey techniques are combined and linked to efficient, permanently installed, onboard processing and reporting systems operated by skilled and experienced geoscientists.
Echo Surveyor I has completed over 5,000 line kilometres of detailed survey on the current pipeline project, acquiring multibeam echo sounder, side-scan sonar and sub-bottom profiler data over steep slopes in water depths from 100 to 2,800 metres between Italy and Algeria.
The majority of the work undertaken by Geo Prospector/Echo Surveyor I has been in Africa, where Fugro has completed major regional scale pre-development surveys for BP in both Angola and Egypt. The BP Egypt campaign involved over 10,000 line kilometres of AUV data acquisition, plus an equally large volume of conventional ultra-high resolution geophysical survey. Significant surveys were also undertaken for Shell and Total in Nigeria, Hess in both Libya and Egypt and Murphy in Congo.
The combined length of all the line kilometres surveyed by Fugro's survey AUV fleet in the past few years comfortably exceeds the Earth's circumference at the equator. The reach of the Fugro fleet is truly global, placing cost-effective leading edge survey data acquisition and processing capability at the disposal of all deep-water operators, no matter how remote the discovery.
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