Independent oil and gas company Woodside has signed an agreement with Perth-based Blue Ocean Monitoring (BOM) to invest in technology innovation firm Blue Ocean Seismic Services (BOSS).

Subject to satisfaction of precedent conditions, Woodside will own a 35% stake in BOSS, which is developing a new solution that is capable of making ocean bottom seismic data acquisition accessible.

Woodside noted that seismic data plays a major role in understanding geological formations and the nature of hydrocarbon resources contained within these formations. Current seismic survey methods use remotely operated vehicles to place nodes on the ocean floor in order to capture and record sound waves.

Woodside and BOM have developed the concept that focuses on using autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) instead of remotely operated vehicles. This method is expected to improve efficiencies at lowered costs, while reducing people’s exposure to health and other safety risks.

Woodside Sustainability executive vice-president Shaun Gregory said: “The use of AUVs is a priority in our technology strategy, and has global applications. We see ocean bottom monitoring playing an important role in helping us to understand more complex geological settings.”

Blue Ocean Monitoring Group managing director Simon Illingworth said: “It has 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.”

The project participants are planning to focus on starting small sea trials this year, ahead of the first seismic test early next year.

In August 2019, Woodside commenced production from the Greater Enfield Project, offshore Western Australia (WA). In April 2019, the company opened a liquefied natural gas (LNG) truck loading facility at its Pluto LNG project in WA.