Remote Monitoring for Offshore Assets During Extreme Weather Events

What offshore assets should monitor during extreme weather systems, and why.

17 March 2021

Energy

Remote Monitoring During Extreme Weather Events

During extreme weather events, such as Hurricanes, Tropical Storms and Typhoons, it is common practice to shut down operations of offshore assets and evacuate personnel to safety. Platforms are then monitored remotely by engineers and asset managers. These monitoring systems enable them to quickly respond to any damage to the asset or know when it is safe to return the operations team. Having clear reliable data from different sensors is key to quickly resuming operations.   

Environmental and asset data

Remote monitoring systems collect and transmit data collected from several sensors that have been installed on offshore assets. These can be broadly split between two types of data: sensors that measure the integrity of the asset, and those that monitor environmental conditions. Both types of data are used to understand the immediate condition of the asset, what the asset has experienced and how operators should best respond.    

Wind speed is one of the most important environmental data sets to measure. It is what drives the requirements for inspection. Remote monitoring system which can accurately measure wind speed enable operators to quickly prepare for the correct level of inspections.

Jeffrey Lewis, Technical Advisor at BMT, has been helping organisations monitor their offshore assets for nearly two decades. He said, “One of the most critical aspects of managing an asset during the tropical storm season is the need to understand what category of hurricanes has hit the platform. In the Gulf of Mexico, that is basically a wind speed measurement and depending on what category of hurricane hits the platform, operators need to respond with certain levels of inspection.”

“Another important environmental data set is wave height. Platforms in the Gulf of Mexico have a typical deck height. It’s important to monitor if waves are big enough that they are actually hitting the platform and doing damage to the deck.”

Asset integrity

To ensure that the integrity of the platform is maintained during a Hurricane, measuring both the mooring systems and GPS data can provide remote operators confidence that platform is upright and on location. According to Lewis, 

“The single most common point of concern for floating offshore platforms is mooring lines. A lot of our customers structures are going into ultra-deep water. They are using advanced mooring systems and they want to have the assurance that the mooring system is performing the way they expect it to. If you can tap into measurements of the mooring lines to detect breakage or tension levels, this can provide a level of assurance. The integrity of the mooring system is critical to keeping the platform in its location, and contributing to the stability of the asset, so they are important to monitor.  After that, there is always having the position of the platform as it can tell you quite a lot. It's not a direct measurement of what's happening with the platform, but if it's on location and upright, you can get that single measurement that tells you it's OK.”

“If there is something that changes, you may need to have additional instrumentation to identify what the source of the of the issue. So, again, at a high level, just measuring the position and the motions gives you that one stop shop of is the integrity of the platform”.  

In addition, having a general view of what is happening on the platform can also inform operators to the condition of the asset. This would include installation of a camera system that allows you to see images of the helideck, the rig or the moon pool or various places where you are concerned that damage can occur.

Having one monitoring system collecting the above data sets, or one asset monitoring platform that consolidates data from multiple sources can improve operator’s abilities to respond to extreme events, such as Hurricanes. To find out more about our remote monitoring systems or our asset monitoring platform BMT Deep, please contact us. 

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