The Norwegian-based energy company Statoil is currently drilling for extracting oil from the Johan Sverdrup field, one of the five largest oil fields in the harsh environment of the Norwegian continental shelf.

This spring the drilling of a new pipeline began from Mongstad refinery to the Johan Sverdrup oil field ending at 300 metres of depth. The oil field is located 160 kilometres from Mongstad refinery in the North Sea and is expected to hold 1.8 – 2.9 billion barrels (290 –460 million cubic metres) of oil. According to Statoil, the field is located at 110 to 120 metres water depth, and the reservoir is at 1900 metres depth. The oil production is planned for late 2019, so much construction is still needed at this stage.

The complexity of offshore drilling makes reliable and secure communication an absolute must

Carrying out drilling operations 300 metres below sea level is extremely difficult and requires highly specialized equipment and skilled operators.

Extreme precision is needed throughout the drilling process, and the drill bit and rig site operators are supported by a variety of sensors which transmit data at different intervals. Parameters such as pressure, torque, hook load, weight on bit, mud flow, rate of penetration and RPM are regularly captured and fed back to Statoil’s rig site operators and engineers.

Photo illustration by Statoil

Photo illustration by Statoil

Highly manoeuvrable subsea support

Due to low visibility (there is rarely any significant light beyond 200 metres of depth), an underwater remote operated vehicle (ROV) with light and camera support is required in order to monitor the work at 300 metres depth. The point of view from the ROV is vital. It gives the drill bit and rig site operators a direct indication of when the bit gets through the seabed. If the drill bit is not stopped in time, it will continue out of its casing – and it will be extremely difficult to get it back in place at 300 metres below sea level.

Naturally, Statoil wants to avoid this scenario, not only due to the cost and time-consuming implications and to the safety risks involved of the intervention needed to resolve it – it would also delay the total production revenue of 1,350 billion Norwegian kroner that the Johan Sverdrup oil field is estimated to deliver.

A reliable real-time video stream is of extreme importance

That is why Statoil asked BLOM Fiskeoppdrett AS for help with the monitoring task. BLOM both has the knowledge and the equipment for handling an ROV and, moreover, the necessary HSE excellence. Another very important criterion was that BLOM was able to deliver a strong and secure video stream.

During the initial 800 metres of drilling, the Incendium’s Streampack™ Mini was connected to the controlling end of BLOM’s ROV, a V8 M500 ROV, streaming video to the drill bit and rig site operators. The stream could simultaneously be viewed on the IncidentShare™ web-portal back at Statoil’s headquarters, where the project management team was closely monitoring the work and the progress.

Ocean SAR, was also part of the project at Statoil, monitoring all ROV systems including the ROV winch, position and all the documentation.

“Incendium’s streaming solution was very well received by Statoil and has proved its value. Streaming live video from an ROV during a drilling operation will definitely set new standards within the offshore industry.”

As a clear result of this, BLOM has been asked for further submerged work at the Johan Sverdrup oil field helping Statoil to avoid downtime and improve efficiency and communication by streaming video from a drilling operation.

About BLOM Fiskeoppdrett AS

BLOM Fiskeoppdrett AS was founded in 1971 by one of Norway’s pioneers in fish breeding. Today it is still a family business, now run by the second and third generations.
BLOM uses ROVs for inspection of their fish farms. This allows their management to inspect the farms and follow the work without having to travel to the sea farm themselves.

About Ocean SAR

Ocean SAR is a supplier of ROV systems and subsea equipment. The company is based in Bergen, Norway.

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