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Oceaneering and bp conduct first ROV remote piloting operation offshore West of Shetland

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17 December 2021

Oceaneering International, Inc. has successfully conducted the first onshore remote piloting of a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) in the U.K. sector for bp. The operations were conducted from Oceaneering’s Onshore Remote Operations Center (OROC) in Stavanger, Norway.

This project was the first implementation of ROV remote piloting in the U.K., the first cross-border implementation, and the first operational implementation for bp.

Oceaneering was tasked with observing drilling operations at bp’s Clair Ridge facility West of Shetland, at 141 meters water depth. The operation ran from 20 July to 5 August 2021.

ROV remote piloting from shore can increase safety and reduce the environmental footprint of operations, potentially achieving up to 25% reduction in offshore personnel on board (POB) and provide a significant reduction in emissions associated with the work.

Oceaneering and bp worked together to ensure secure offshore connectivity for the remote ROV piloting operations. This required a complex setup process to establish a bridge between the data networks of both companies, without compromising their respective cyber security policies. The result of the collaboration established a secure data link via subsea optical fiber to the worksite offshore.

The Stavanger-based remote piloting team operated the ROV for over 70 hours during the campaign program with 100% uptime. The implementation of this project was achieved by a global support team comprising members from the U.K., Norway, India, and the U.S.

"The operation was a successful demonstration of not only new technology, but a demonstration of continued resilience and protection of the offshore workforce during COVID-19,” said Martin McDonald, Senior Vice President, Subsea Robotics, at Oceaneering. "Oceaneering’s OROC team can continue to operate and remain the eyes and ears of an operation – from any location around the world – during unforeseen disruptions and report back information to the client.”

"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,” said Tom Fuller, VP Wells at bp North Sea. "It’s also a great example of how remote technologies can deliver emissions reductions on our assets, aligning with bp’s ambition to be a net zero company by 2050 or sooner. This project has helped bp to better understand the benefits and challenges of implementing remotely piloted ROVs - learnings that we can take forward into future opportunities here and across our global operations.”

Katy Heidenreich, OGUK’s Supply Chain & Operations Director, said: "This project demonstrates how operators are empowering supply chain companies to develop innovative techniques to help cut greenhouse gas emissions. Industry collaboration is bringing innovative technologies to the fore and accelerating the process for getting them from field trials to deployment in the North Sea, helping us on the journey to deliver the UK's target of net zero emissions in 2050."
Oceaneering and bp conduct first ROV remote piloting operation offshore West of Shetland