FUGRO-ROVTECH, created as a result of the growth in the subsea sector and the strength in inspection services, is gathering momentum in its second year of operations.
The company was formed when Dutch engineering consultant Fugro acquired Aberdeen remote operating vehicle specialist Rovtech in September, 2006.
It moved into new premises in January, 2007, in Denmore Road, Bridge of Don, opposite Fugro Survey Ltd.
In existence less than 18 months, the company now has more than 100 ROV systems globally, 50 ROVs supporting UK sector operations and three ROVSVs (remote operated vehicle support vessels) – Highland Eagle, Skandi Carla and Skandi Inspector. A new ROVSV, Fugro Saltire, is to be delivered in May.
Operationally, it runs several distinct business lines: drill support operations; construction support, remote intervention, engineering and tooling, and inspection, repair and maintenance (IRM).
Its IRM division continues to be a key element in the organisation as a whole – and an intrinsic part of IRM is ROV platform and pipeline inspection.
There are two options for ROV platform inspection – platform-based or vessel-based.
Platform-based inspection is favoured by many operators because:
Tasks undertaken by ROV to determine the structural integrity of the platform include:
All the above tasks are recorded visually using state-of-the-art digital video encoders. These may be operated manually or may be interfaced to a PC running a dedicated inspection logging application such as StarfixPlatform Inspection.
This is one component of a suite of bespoke inspection and survey applications that have been developed and supported by one of Fugro-Rovtech’s support companies, Fugro Intersite. based in Great Yarmouth.
Up to four ROV systems can be installed on board the Highland Eagle, three of them permanently, for IRM activities involving platforms and subsea structures, with dual IROV operations undertaking the tasks identified above but simultaneously to optimise in-water time.
In addition to the structural inspection, pipeline inspection activities are undertaken using dedicated work-class ROVs with specialist inspection and survey sensors with telemetry links to topside Starfix data acquisition and editing applications.
Typical sensors used include 3x camera systems for optimum pipeline views; dual-head sonar profilers; multi-beam systems; pipetracker systems – for buried pipe; Doppler velocity long – optimising subsea location accuracy in marginal weather conditions; transponders and responder for positional subsea location in relation to the vessel; bathymetry systems for accurate depth measurements; altimeter systems for accurate height above seabed; auto ROV heading; motion reference unit – to optimise position accuracy; SFX logging systems and in-house software development support, and FSL support.
Chris Darbyshire, inspection and reporting manager at Fugro-Rovtech, has more than 20 years’ experience in the North Sea subsea sector. He is keen to emphasise the significance of digital deliverables and reporting.
“The importance of the final report on an inspection operation is second to none as, let’s face it, this is the product,” he said.
“As such, Fugro-Rovtech has developed a state-of-the-art reporting format using web-based technology, and 95% of our inspection reports are issued on CD or DVD in HTML format.
“The days of providing numerous volumes of ‘hard copy’ reports and boxes of video tapes are over. Instead, the client receives an anomaly-based report on disk that auto-starts upon insertion into the PC disk drive.
“Not only are all the inspection results easily accessible, but video clips and digital photographs and charts are all embedded within the disk. Any project documentation pertaining to the job may be also contained within the HTML report; in fact, if the information is in electronic format, it may be linked within.
“Another major benefit of this type of report is that it may be uploaded on to a client’s computer network and may be accessed by multi-users simultaneously.”
In addition to the HTML report, all the digital data and video is delivered on a “stand-alone” USB2 hard disk drive. For pipeline reporting, Fugro-Rovtech provides the “Starfix Review” application, which is a means to review the 3x camera video pictures, all events and various pipeline views, which are all fully synchronised and which complement the HTML report for the complete solution.