To an ever-increasing extent, remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), ROV simulation and control technologies and remote engineering services are all playing a key role in the operation, inspection and maintenance of subsea and ocean floor equipment.
ROVs equipped with video cameras, sonars, pipe-trackers and navigation and positioning sensors inspect subsea pipelines and other subsea equipment at depths where divers cannot operate. ROVs equipped with manipulators and intervention tools carry out maintenance as deep as 3,000m.
Fugro’s FCV family of ROVs are designed and built in-house and offer the next generation of performance and operational capability to the company’s customers worldwide.
The latest addition to the FCV series is the FCV 3000 200hp Work Class ROV. This has been designed to target the extreme demands of deepwater drilling and completions; however, given its overall capability and modular design it can equally be used to provide subsea oilfield and construction support as well as inspection, repair and maintenance of installations.
This is accomplished by fitting a variety of tooling packages that can be rapidly installed onto the vehicle by means of standard interfaces – both mechanical and control – which map any new sensors to the surface without the need to open pods and rewire. These interfaces ensure that operational changes can be implemented safely and efficiently and with the minimum of fuss.
"At the heart of every FCV ROV is Fugro’s proven control and communications system based on single-mode, fibre-optic technology, including Fugro’s own designed and built SMFO multiplexer," said the company.
"This also gives exceptionally high data throughput and provides automatic switching in the event of a fibre failing. This high-end multiplexer can manage up to 12 conventional cameras (eight simultaneously) and provides a wide range of data communication protocols, facilitating the efficient integration of add-on tools and sensors.
"The data highway of the FCV 3000 can handle up to 24GB, which is sufficient to run the ROV, the TMS, 3 HD cameras (optional), a full survey data suite including multi-beam sonars, and still have sufficient capacity to allow a range of other specialist sensors to be operated simultaneously.
"Piloting such an ROV in close proximity to subsea structures requires considerable experience and training. Fugro’s DeepWorks ROV pilot training and mission-planning simulator uses real-time dynamic and hydrodynamic modelling to give pilots highly realistic training for subsea operations. Accurately modelled thrusters, manipulators and tether management systems, operated through real control interfaces, offer pilots the same interactive experience as if they were actually operating the ROV, or deploying a manipulator-held tool for real."
DeepWorks can provide real-time situational monitoring of topside and subsea assets during complex offshore missions. Live visualisation of the entire field of operations with personalised views for vessel, crane and ROV support teams allows everyone to work together more efficiently and safely.
"Continuous recording of positional and engineering data provides a 'blackbox' flight record of the entire mission to verify that installations or interventions were carried out in accordance with agreed procedures and conformed to manufacturers’ instructions," said the company.
DeepWorks also brings engineering design benefits. Instead of relying on prototypes or SITs, Fugro’s engineers can now design a control system or a set of ROV tools specifically for the customer’s job and test them in the DeepWorks simulator before manufacturing begins, reducing the amount of offshore testing required and allowing training to start earlier.