Woodside invests in autonomous underground vehicles

Woodside has agreed with Perth-based Blue Ocean Monitoring (BOM) to take a 35 per cent share in Blue Ocean Seismic Services (BOSS).

BOSS is developing autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) to replace remotely-operated vehicles to make ocean bottom seismic data acquisition cheaper and more accessible.

The AUVs are small submarines that are preprogrammed to self-deploy to the ocean floor and reposition multiple times.

This method will improve efficiencies, lower costs and reduce exposure to health and safety risks.

Seismic data is critical for understanding geological formations and the nature of hydrocarbon resources that may be contained within them. Currently, remotely operated vehicles to place nodes on the ocean floor that capture and record sound-waves.

Woodside executive vice president sustainability Shaun Gregory said the use of AUVs was a priority in the company’s technology strategy.

“We see ocean bottom monitoring playing an important role in helping us to understand more complex geological settings,” Gregory said.

BOM group managing director Simon Illingworth said it had been a pleasure collaborating with Woodside over the last two years on this project.

“Woodside is committed to investing in innovative and disruptive technologies in the oil and gas industry, whilst striving to continuously improve safety,” Illingworth said.

The project participants are focussed on small sea trials in 2019, ahead of the first seismic test in early 2020.

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