Shell and Sonardyne partnership

High speed acoustic modem technology from Sonardyne International Ltd, UK has been used by Shell to successfully recover survey data from a network of long-life seabed sensors deployed in the North Sea. To date, the network of Autonomous Monitoring Transponders (AMTs) has collected over a quarter of a billion measurements as part of an uninterrupted production monitoring study lasting six years.

The AMTs were originally deployed in 2010 to meet Shell’s research and production monitoring requirements. Every few hours, each AMT within the field-wide network wakes up to gather readings from a variety of inbuilt sensors. These include; pressure, range, temperature, pitch, roll and sound velocity. The measurements are logged and time-stamped and can be recovered on-demand from the surface using a Sonardyne 6G High Power Transceiver (HPT) acoustic telemetry modem.

For this latest data harvesting campaign, the Norwegian fishing vessel MV Elisabeth was chartered and a temporary over-the-side deployment pole installed. To this, engineers fitted the HPT modem to gather data from each AMT within the network.

Sonardyne’s over-the-side instrument deployment pole is designed for easy installation, disassembly and transportation. It has proven ideal for temporary use on vessels where through-hull options are not available or practical. Once removed, it can be transferred to another vessel or stored until the next time it is required.

“As we were using a vessel of opportunity for this project, an over-the-side deployment pole was the preferred cost effective and fit-for-purpose practical solution,” commented Phil Riddell, Senior Operations Surveyor at Shell.

Shaun Dunn, Global Business Manager for Exploration and Surveillance at Sonardyne said, “The acoustic communication protocols within HPT enable large amounts of data to be extracted quickly and efficiently from 6G instruments such as AMT. The data from this recent operation alone equated to a total of 105 Megabytes transferred wirelessly through the water column. Not losing a single byte of data demonstrates the extremely high reliability of 6G as an underwater data carrier and we are delighted that Shell continues to benefit from this technology in its ongoing operations.”

Adapted from press release by Joe Green

Published on 10/02/2015

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