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QuickVision saves 10 rig days on Shell’s drilling operations

Fugro’s QuickVision remote-sensing technology enabled real-time conductor well setting from a remotely operated vehicle in the oil and gas field in the UK North Sea. Our vision-based system was used to precisely measure and monitor the height inclination and orientation of nine conductors.

Challenge

The initial method for achieving such tight tolerances for Shell’s tophole campaign required a bracket to mount a large sensor package with a combined weight of 310 kg onto the conductor.

This approach had many disadvantages:

  • Required harnessed rig personnel in the moon pool to install the bracket and sensor package onto the conductor
  • Involved heavy manual lifting
  • Necessitated overside cover via a local support vessel
  • Used a heavy sensor package with short battery life
  • Could not be deployed in marginal weather 

Solution 

QuickVision’s unique, vision-based, remote-sensing technology overcame all these issues to facilitate real-time conductor positioning, increase spatial awareness and enhance decision-making.

Our QuickVision augmented-reality solution enabled the efficient and accurate installation and setting of the 30” conductor low-pressure housing in marginal weather. QuickVision increases weather capability by reducing or eliminating overside cover, depending on the scope of work: efficiencies resulting from our innovative solution saved Shell an estimated 10 rig days.

Using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) equipped with a QuickVision camera, we tracked a unique QuickVision-coded pattern affixed to each conductor as it was lowered through the water column and into the seabed. This approach ensured we met Shell’s strict tolerance requirements for height, inclination and orientation.

Multiple QuickVision targets applied to asset for redundancy

The process

First, we fixed a unique QuickVision-coded pattern onto the conductor, to be carefully surveyed in, to determine its exact position in relation to the conductor’s diameter, length and master slot. We completed this task offshore, onboard the drilling rig contracted to Shell.

Using the QuickVision camera mounted on the ROV, we followed the conductor on its journey through the water column to the seafloor. Having automatically ‘locked’ onto the pattern in view, QuickVision accurately tracked the conductors’ positioning, height, inclination and orientation throughout the lowering and cementing stages, eliminating overside cover, which is usually a requirement in marginal conditions but resulted in 10 rig-days saved over all wells in this project.

On the drilling rig, our three-person team monitored key metrics displayed on the QuickVision dashboard. Shell then used our real-time data to perform any necessary fine-tuning to achieve the precise tolerances required on the well set.

QuickVision proves its value

Shell was understandably cautious about swapping traditional methods for our cutting-edge technology, so both methods were used in tandem at the first four sites.

However, the fourth location proved a defining moment. As the conductor landed on the seabed, a pin was dislodged on the sensor bracket, rendering the conventional sensor device unreliable. Fortunately, QuickVision was unaffected, so the conductor setting process continued uninterrupted, using our real-time data to meet Shell’s strict tolerance requirements.

After this event and additional statistical analysis, Shell approved QuickVision as the primary method for the remainder of the project.

Collaborating with Fugro to utilise vision technology during drilling operations not only saved time but reduced HSSE exposure among rig personnel. It contributed significantly to Shell’s lift minimisation approach and ensured well set engineering tolerances were achieved.

Chris Leaf - Geomatics Manager, Shell UK 

Innovations 

  • Unique pattern code system negated need for installation of sensor package onto the asset and unnecessary heavy lifting, therefore lowering HSSE risk during installation
  • Multiple stick-on targets were installed for redundancy on any asset and surveyed in any weather conditions
  • QuickVision camera calibration was performed during the ROV’s descent to the seabed
  • Had all targets been destroyed, measurements could have been taken onscreen using our six augmented-reality tools
  • Structure position could be tracked in relation to another structure to provide line directions and distance for positioning
  • QuickVision enhanced Shell’s and the drilling contractor’s lift minimisation initiative
  • Overall Shell saved an estimated 10 days on this project

Impact 

  • Reduced HSSE risk
    • No personnel required in the moonpool or to provide overside cover
    • No heavy lifting
  • Accuracy
    • Precise live monitoring and measurement during lowering and cementing
    • Positioning, height, inclination and orientation measurements
    • Fast accurate response to vertical and lateral conductor movement
  • Enhanced spatial awareness
    • Augmented reality tools (Inclinometer, Compass Rose, Level Line, Virtual Box, Structure Model, Virtual Buoys and Pattern Tracking)
    • Key metrics displayed on a user-friendly dashboard, updated in real time
  • Cost-effective approach
    • All-weather system saved 10 days out of an approximate 120-day campaign
    • Reduced project complexity
    • Saved operational time because patterns were installed offline, not during drilling operations
  • Client

  • Shell UK
  • Regions

  • Europe and Africa
  • Location

  • North Sea, UK
  • Project Duration

  • March 2019 - September 2019

10

Days of project downtime avoided

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