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May 12, 2021updated 22 Jun 2021 7:53pm

Blue Ocean Seismic Services trials underwater autonomous vehicle for surveys

Blue Ocean Seismic Services (BOSS), a marine seismic survey company, has announced that it has successfully completed autonomous sea trials for a prototype version of its underwater vehicle in Perth, Australia.

By Yoana Cholteeva

BOSS’ testbed ocean bottom seismic robotic vehicle is an early-stage prototype vehicle and associated communication, command & control system that uses the mechanical components of a host platform.

It was developed to allow for in-water testing of BOSS electronics and software, providing a platform for electronic and software progress while hardware components are being designed and manufactured.

The long endurance self-repositioning autonomous underwater nodes will conduct offshore seismic surveys for oil and gas exploration and reservoir optimisation and will monitor carbon storage opportunities under the seabed.

Blue Ocean Seismic Services is a joint venture between Blue Ocean, Woodside, and BP Ventures.

BP Ventures managing partner Erin Hallock said: “These sea trials are an exciting development, as BOSS makes a substantial step forward in its development of a revolutionary underwater vehicle. We are delighted to be working with BOSS as it heads towards its goal of disrupting and innovating the marine seismic acquisition and carbon capture and storage sectors.

“Once in production, this vehicle will make global offshore oil & gas exploration, reservoir optimisation, and other marine seismic applications cheaper, faster, safer, and importantly, less carbon-intensive.”

The vehicle has successfully crossed a series of waypoints while providing status updates to a master vessel. It has logged flight and engineering data that will be used for further systems development and optimisation, helping the final product ahead of commercialisation.

Woodside Energy general manager of technology Tony Almond said: “Woodside is pleased with the recent success of the sea trials, which mark a significant milestone in the development of BOSS’ first autonomous underwater vehicle. Woodside has invested in BOSS because we see a pathway for application of the vehicles in our business, as well as potential growth opportunities for BOSS globally.”

Following these initial trials, the platform will be used to further refine and extend the systems through hardware in the loop simulation and in-water trials. Data acquired on sensor performance, vehicle dynamics, and software performance will assist in the design and development of subsequent prototypes.

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