Robert Gordon University (RGU) researchers have developed new software which helps anticipate and prevent potential faults in subsea technology.

Created as part of a knowledge transfer partnership (KTP), the technology, dubbed V-Sentinel, has been designed to provide autonomous condition monitoring of subsea control systems and allows operators to take preventative action by flagging up potential faults.

Commenced in October 2011 in partnership with Viper Subsea Technology, the £122,500 project aims to develop a new solution, allowing operators to carry out predictive maintenance of subsea control equipment to reduce repair costs, while reducing the risk of serious accidents.

Based on this, a pattern recognition system has been developed looking at abnormal changes in the data collected from operators.

Research student Frederic Bouchet said subsea assets in the oil and gas industry, and in particular in the North Sea near Aberdeen, are a vital part of oil and gas production.

"However, the environment surrounding these constructions makes maintenance and surveillance difficult and costly," Bouchet added.

The project is led by Dr Andrei Petrovski and Professor John McCall, members of the Computational Intelligence Group (CIG) at RGU.

Viper Subsea operations manager Jeremy Edwards said oil and gas operators in the North Sea and globally will see the potential of the techniques developed as delivering a major reduction in lost production that can result from subsea control system failure.

"The KTP project with Robert Gordon University succeeded in producing a proof of concept demonstrator to show oil and gas companies at the Offshore Europe 2013 exhibition how artificial intelligence techniques can be used to help identify incipient faults in subsea production control systems, before they escalate to the point where hydrocarbon production is impacted," Edwards added.

Image: From left – Dr Andrei Petrovski, Viper Subsea operations manager Jeremy Edwards, Research student Frederic Bouchet and Professor John McCall. Photo courtesy of Robert Gordon University.