Oceaneering Successfully Conducts Remote Inspection Scope Using Long-Term Evolution (LTE) in GoM

1 Project Overview

Oceaneering successfully completed a remote inspection workscope at Shell’s Appomattox field in October 2022.

The remote inspection scope leveraged the expanding and improved Long-Term Evolution (LTE) communications available in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) for the remote operations campaign.

2 Our Solution

Oceaneering has completed more than 95,000 hours of remote piloting in the North Sea, which equates to around 8,000 personnel days removed from offshore worksites.

All but two percent of this activity has been executed using the LTE network, demonstrating the reliability of the coverage and encouraging forward-thinking customers in the GoM to adopt the same approach. Oceaneering collaborated closely with Shell to develop a fully integrated inspection scope that included remotely collecting video and cathodic protection (CP) readings of their subsea assets at Appomattox. The project was executed from the Brandon Bordelon vessel, equipped with dual Millennium® Plus remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), piloted remotely from Oceaneering’s Onshore Remote Operations Center (OROC) in Morgan City, Louisiana.

Oceaneering conducted a remote inspection workscope in the Gulf of Mexico using LTE communications for the remote operations campaign.

3 Execution Plan

Shell was fully committed to using the expanding LTE network in the GoM to complete this scope of work via remote piloting.

Projects such as this are typically managed by a Shell Project Lead located on the vessel offshore, but for the Appomattox project they took the unprecedented step to relocate this person to the OROC. Shell and Oceaneering’s Offshore Projects Group worked to develop a comprehensive project plan that integrated the pilots and Shell Project Lead located onshore in Morgan City with the offshore crew based on the Brandon Bordelon.

Upon arrival at the inspection sites, an ROV equipped with a manipulator-held CP reading tool was deployed and completed the full inspection scope successfully. Pilots utilized Oceaneering’s Remote Piloting and Automated Control Technology (RPACT) to collect CP readings and conduct visual inspections of subsea assets identified by the client’s inspection plan.

This specialized control software includes a handshaking system that is used to transfer ROV control between local (offshore) and remote (onshore) pilots. By combining RPACT with visual and audible indicators, we ensured all pilots were fully aware of who was in control of the ROV at any given moment.

The RPACT software supports full and partial transfer of control. Partial transfer of control enables the local pilot to fly the ROV while the remote pilot operates manipulators, or vice versa. The software continuously monitors the quality of the connection and provides failsafe features that ensure control automatically defaults back to the local pilot if there is a failure in the communication link. These features were critical to ensuring the project’s remote inspection scope was conducted safely and reliably from shore.

Video from the ROV was streamed to Oceaneering’s Media Vault enabling Shell representatives unable to travel to the OROC in person to watch operations live from any global location.

4 Results

Video and CP readings gathered remotely during the operation provided Shell’s Project Lead located at the OROC with the data needed to confirm the integrity of the inspected subsea assets.

The project further confirmed the viability of using the LTE network to support remote operations in the GoM.

Oceaneering was able to use a fully integrated remote Inspection, Maintenance, and Repair (IMR) approach to help Shell meet their ambitious net zero goals by reducing the overall carbon footprint of the operations while simultaneously lowering risks associated with personnel mobilizations.

The flexibility provided by remote operations enables customers to better utilize remotely based subject matter experts across campaigns and as needed rather than deploying them offshore as default. This availability of resources supports improved collaboration and better decision making. As the LTE network continues to grow globally, we anticipate more operators adopting remote operations–from IMR and drill support to completions–as the norm.

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Company page Since our founding in the early 1960s, Oceaneering has expanded and grown globally to service several industries such as the offshore energy industry, defense, entertainment, material handling, aerospace, science, and renewable energy industries. In 1964, Mike Hughes and Johnny Johnson formed a Gulf of Mexico diving company called World Wide Divers. The company grew in response to increasing demand for their services and in 1969 merged with two other diving companies to form Oceaneering International, Inc. To solve the toughest challenges, we do things differently, creatively, and smarter. As your trusted partner, our unmatched experience and truly innovative portfolio of technologies and solutions give us the flexibility to adapt and evolve, regardless of market conditions. Our mission is to solve the unsolvable. We thrive by creating industry-changing technically creative solutions for the most complex operational challenges under water, on land, and in space. Our five core values establish a common culture and demonstrate what is most important for us as a company. Since the beginning, the company has transformed from a small regional diving company into a global provider of engineered products and services. Today, we develop products and services for use throughout the lifecycle of an offshore oilfield, from drilling to decommissioning. We operate the world's premier fleet of work class ROVs. Additionally, we are a leader in offshore oilfield maintenance services, umbilicals, subsea hardware, and tooling. We also serve the aerospace, defense, and theme park industries. Underpinning everything we do, safety is not only the foundation of our core values, but it is vital to our unmatched performance record and company culture. The industries we serve are as diverse as they are complex. Whether we are engineering deepwater umbilicals or developing robotics for aerospace applications, the safety and health of our employees, vendors, and customers is an integral part of our day-to-day business. If we are working, then our responsibility is to be working safely. Since our inception in 1964, we have placed a high value on employee safety—from diving services and subsea inspection to vessel-based installation operations. We have and will continue to evolve not only our health, safety, and environmental (HSE) processes, but those of the industries in which we work. Although we have been fatality-free since 1999, our HSE journey goes beyond statistics. As our portfolio of services has grown, we have continued to prioritize and advance our approach to HSE.