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Woodside invests in Autonomous Underwater Vehicles

18/09/2019
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As part of its ongoing efforts to make ocean bottom seismic data acquisition cheaper and more accessible Australian energy giant Woodside has this week invested in a Perth-based pioneer in autonomous underwater vehicles. At the completion of the deal with Blue Ocean Monitoring (BOM), Woodside will take a 35% shareholding in Blue Ocean Seismic Services Ltd (BOSS).
Woodside invests in Autonomous Underwater Vehicles
(Image via Blue Ocean Monitoring.)

Seismic data is critical for understanding geological formations and the nature of hydrocarbon resources that may be contained within them. Current methods typically use remotely operated vehicles to place nodes on the ocean floor that capture and record soundwaves. However, with E&P companies under increasing pressure to reduce their costs of production, companies such as Woodside (and many others!) are turning to automated solutions.

The concept developed by BOM centres around Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs), which are essentially small submarines that are pre-programmed to self-deploy to the ocean floor and reposition multiple times. BOM states that the use of AUVs will improve efficiencies, lower costs and reduce people’s exposure to health and safety risks.

Commenting on the investment, Woodside’s Executive Vice President of Sustainability, Shaun Gregory, said:

“The use of AUVs is a priority in our technology strategy, and has global applications. We see ocean bottom monitoring playing an important role in helping us to understand more complex geological settings.”

The investment follows two years of collaboration between Woodside and Blue Ocean Monitoring as the two companies seek to find innovative ways to cut costs around subsea operations. 

“It has been a pleasure collaborating with Woodside over the last two years on this project,” says Simon Illingworth, Blue Ocean Monitoring’s Group Managing Director. “Woodside is committed to investing in innovative and disruptive technologies in the oil and gas industry, whilst striving to continuously improve safety. We look forward to continuing to develop this promising technology with Woodside’s support.”

Woodside and BOM are currently focusing on small sea trails of the technology through the remainder of 2019, ahead of the first seismic test in early 2020.

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Tags: Oil & Gas
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Woodside invests in Autonomous Underwater Vehicles - Time to read 2 min
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