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Alastair McKie on transition towards remote offshore operations

Alastair McKie on transition towards remote offshore operations


SUT CEO Steve Hall interviews Alastair McKie, Fugro’s Director of Remote Operations for Europe and Africa. 

Alastair explains that advances in digital communication and control technology now allow operators of offshore systems, and their associated seafloor infrastructure, to bring staff onshore, and that ultimately almost all staff who currently work onboard offshore platforms may be able to work from a land-based remote operations centre instead. By having a global network of remote operations centres, at the end of the working day a Scottish remote operations centre can hand over to a US or Australian centre to provide 24/7 coverage and a backup in case any centre goes offline. Onshore operations are also expected to help diversify the sector’s workforce by generating a working environment that better accommodates a work/life balance and family commitments. Remote technology today is mainly used in an offshore energy context, including hydrocarbons and renewables, but also has the potential for future applications in offshore hydrogen, carbon capture and storage operations, and perhaps defence operations. Challenges include continual requirements to repair and maintain systems, and new risks that need mitigating, such as cyber-attacks on digital systems.

The Underwater Technology Podcast produced by the Society for Underwater Technology (SUT)

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