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Reviewing Remote Sensors for Subsea Infrastructure

01 August 2009

Students on the Subsea Engineering option of Cranfield's Offshore and Ocean Technology MSc programme recently presented the findings of a research project to review emerging technologies in subsea sensors and instrumentation.

Subsea production systems have evolved significantly over recent years and with increasing pressure to meet reliability and availability targets, more complex systems will be required in the near future. The research, commissioned by BG Group, identified the current ‘state of the art' for the numerous types of sensor that are utilised in subsea hardware.

Three major issues arising in subsea engineering applications were addressed; the latest state-of-the-art replacement for subsea sensors that break down on older systems, whether newly developed non-intrusive and clamp-on devices can be retrofitted to existing systems in order to give additional data that supplements rather than replaces existing instrumentation, and what sensor technologies are currently under development for new subsea developments and when are they likely to become commercially available?

The students presented their findings to an audience of over 50 engineers from the subsea industry at one of the Society for Underwater Technology's monthly ‘Evening Seminars in Subsea Engineering' held at Imperial College London.

Sensors were categorised in terms of measured parameters such as condition, flow, fluid composition, leaks, level and sand. Device capability, reliability, accuracy, protocol and qualified water depths and installation history were also presented.

Dr Bob Allwood, Course Director for the MSc Offshore and Ocean Technology at Cranfield, said, “The challenges in the subsea industry are growing each day and the technology required to meet them is developing rapidly. Group and individual project work such as this is an excellent way for our students to experience real issues in the industry. These students have produced an excellent and thorough piece of work which was extremely well received.”

For further information on the MSc Offshore and Ocean Technology course, please visit