Issue 05 2011
A measured response
The variable environmental conditions and complex oceanography of offshore regions present certain challenges to the oil and gas industry, particularly with regard to safety, design, optimisation, operational efficiency, and environmental protection.
As the world’s leading supplier of meteorological and oceanographic (metocean) services for offshore and coastal engineering applications, Fugro GEOS can help to overcome these challenges by providing accurate and detailed data based on actual environmental conditions. The company’s history can be traced back to the 1920s, but it was in 1996 that the name Fugro GEOS was first introduced when the company (then Global Environmental and Ocean Sciences) became part of the Fugro Group. Through its 275 offices in more than 50 countries worldwide, the Fugro Group specialises in providing comprehensive earth and environmental science services on an international basis.
This global presence is mirrored in Fugro GEOS’ own structure as alongside its UK headquarters, the company maintains a presence in the US, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Norway, Malaysia, Australia, and Singapore. In total the company has over 200 skilled members of staff, with more than half this number made up of experienced oceanographers, meteorologists, and marine environmental scientists. Fugro GEOS also has the largest commercially available inventory of metocean measurement equipment, supported by continuous investment in new technology. Together, these capabilities enable Fugro GEOS to offer metocean solutions through cost-effective, high quality and technically advanced measurement, consultancy and information systems, ocean observing systems, structural monitoring and forecasting services.
In recent months Fugro GEOS has secured two major metocean measurement contracts for Statoil in the Norwegian and North Seas. The KOBHeG contract sees the company undertaking a five-year metocean measurement programme, collecting data at five offshore fields in the northern North Sea. Additionally, Fugro GEOS is measuring current datasets over a twelve-month period at a number of sites in the Norwegian Sea for the DoFoNAs project.
Mark Calverley, consultancy director of Fugro GEOS, elaborates upon the company’s role in these projects: “One of the business divisions is Fugro OCEANOR, based in Norway, which produces the advanced buoy systems deployed in these projects. Within these buoys we integrate other sensors such as acoustic doppler current profiler (ADCP) and subsea modems for deeper current data and the information is transmitted in real-time back to our offices.
“Recently we introduced a new system – Metis – which is a web based software built upon geographic information system (GIS) technology. This system allows metocean data from different sources to be viewed in a single display, such as our various measurements or point data, but also wave model data, current model data, satellite data, and any documentation. The Metis system is designed to bring added value by making data easily available to a client such as Statoil, with the security of password protection.”
Metis marks a significant step forward in the market of metocean data analysis, as traditionally point data and model data have been two separate considerations. One core challenge has been combining GIS information with the more temporal element of other data sources, such as forecast models, which update every six to twelve hours. Together, this amounts to a vast quantity of data with a very fast throughput, which clients can view in much smaller elements of relevant information using Metis.
“This system is the result of identifying a prominent gap in the market,” notes Mark. “We realised that there were some projects where previous methods meant clients had to visit three different websites to view individual types of data. By being able to offer the same information in just one place our data management capabilities have greatly improved and this translates into a more efficient and user friendly service for our clients.”
Fugro GEOS’ services are expected to remain in high demand. This is in part due to the company’s global presence, which enables it to offer local support within the key oil and gas ukmarkets. With the development of this industry into harsher environments and deeper waters, accurate knowledge of metocean conditions looks sets to play an ever-more important role in operational planning.
With this in mind, Mark concludes with his thoughts on the future of the market and Fugro GEOS: “Traditionally we deploy our monitoring systems for three months at a time, and then at the end of this period we carry out necessary servicing and bring back the collected data for processing. This procedure is then repeated throughout the year. However, with the fast track developments we are seeing in the market, there may well be a move to clients requiring this data in real-time, so this is a route we are considering. The technology is already available to provide this service, however the challenge is the cost. Therefore it is a case of clients balancing the benefit of having the security of that real-time data against the expense of putting the additional hardware into the water and transmitting the data.”
Services: Meteorological and oceanographic (Metocean) solutions