SEA TECHNOLOGY:Successfull AUV operation Ormen Lange

Tuesday, January 28, 2003
Norsk Hydro ASA contracted Stolt Offshore to perform AUV seabed charting in the Storegga slide August/September 2002. NUI AS with the AUV NUI Explorer was subcontracted by Stolt Offshore to perform the AUV services. Pushing the exploration and production of oil and gas into ultra-deep water is facing a significant challenge of installing subsea production equipment and transport pipelines in rough and complex seabed terrain. The pipeline systems to bring the oil and gas ashore often have to cross steep escarpments leading to shallower continental shelves. As a result detailed knowledge about seabed conditions becomes a key factor affecting the engineering and construction activities. Identification of the most optimal site and pipeline route means significant lower construction cost. Based on this knowledge Norsk Hydro ASA contracted Stolt Offshore to perform AUV seabed charting in the Storegga slide August/September 2002. NUI AS with the AUV NUI Explorer was subcontracted by Stolt Offshore to perform the AUV services. Nearly 1,000 km of multibeam echo sounder and sub-bottom profiler data was successfully collected in water depths of 250-850 m in extremely difficult terrain. The data quality was very good and the operation efficient. Typical charting speed for the AUV was 3.7 knots. Enclosed data samples created by Marine Surveys, Norsk Hydro ASA, illustrates the data quality of the results.

The HUGIN AUV concept

The HUGIN AUV concept is a battery powered, free-swimming vehicle, operated primarily under acoustic supervision from a surface vessel, or in autonomous modus completely relying on the built-in control systems and intelligence. The AUV is capable of performing high-speed surveys of excellent quality down to an operating depth of 3000m.

The Ormen Lange project

The Ormen Lange field is the largest undeveloped gas field on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. The field is located 100 km north-west of the Møre and Romsdal coast (mid-Norway), at a water depth of some 3,300 ft. The estimated gas reserves are 375 billion Sm3 of dry gas and 22 MSm3 of condensate.

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