Long read

Navigating marine consultancy with an integrated six-pillar strategy

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02 May 2024


Jason Smith – Global Lead – Consultancy

James Faroppa – Service Line Director Marine Geoconsulting EUAF

To ensure the success of a marine infrastructure project, a deep understanding of the site conditions is essential. This facilitates effective communication with stakeholders, thereby reducing uncertainty, understanding risks, and mitigating time and cost exposure.

In the dynamic world of marine infrastructure, every decision carries significant cost implications, making skillful partnering a critical success factor. If you’re a senior member of the technical team or a decision-maker, you understand the complexities and uncertainties inherent in each project. Partnering with a quality marine consultancy company that specialises in Geo-data integration and evaluation at the earliest stages empowers you to make the right decisions.

How? By enabling you to address the unique needs and challenges of your project through a multidisciplinary approach that guides stakeholders through every stage. From early planning to final engineering designs, geo-risk should be managed and reduced at each phase of the project life cycle. In our experience, this approach results in shorter timelines and reduced uncertainty, allowing you to achieve your project goals with confidence and clarity.

Geo-data specialist

At Fugro, as the Geo-data specialist we bring decades of marine experience, research, and design expertise to the table. We provide clarity amidst the vast array of marine data used for asset installation and performance prediction, developing pragmatic solutions tailored to your project’s needs.

By integrating data from numerous disciplines, we develop and deliver fully integrated models, enabling you to visualise surface and subsurface conditions in detailed and accurate 3D representations. Through our metocean hindcast models, satellite imagery, and in-field 3D measurements, we evaluate changes to marine conditions – historical and future (4D) – and their impact on development plans.

As your trusted Geo-data partner, we work closely with you to define your data requirements and assess the value of information for any acquisition campaign. This decision-making process isn’t one-time; our models evolve continuously as the project progresses. To achieve cost and time efficiencies, we evaluate alternative approaches and present them to you, always keeping the project’s end goals in mind at every stage.

The six-pillar approach

Large-scale marine infrastructure projects, such as oil and gas developments and offshore wind farms, are inherently complex. Throughout their life cycle, they demand specialised technical expertise to support each successive phase of project development.

Based on our observations in the marine industry, these areas of expertise typically encompass six technical domains, outlined below:

  1. Engineering geology and geohazards – understanding seafloor composition and identifying existing and potential geohazards are essential prerequisites before commencing any marine infrastructure. This knowledge optimises the positioning of wind turbines, foundation designs, oil and gas installations, as well as cable and pipeline routes. Our services range from desk studies to real-time support, engineering geological ground models, and geohazard assessments.

  2. Geotechnical engineering – geotechnical analysis expertise ensures the safety, stability, and sustainability of marine structures. From site characterisation to engineering design and installation, our geotechnical expertise provides comprehensive support for a variety of foundation and mooring types, ensuring asset integrity and optimal performance in challenging marine environments.

  3. Dynamic modelling – time-variant modelling analyses the behaviour of natural and physical assets under varying conditions, including day-to-day operations and extreme weather events. By predicting and mitigating potential risks, dynamic modelling services enhance safety, optimise infrastructure design, reduce operational capex, and extend asset life.

  4. Environmental – environmental impact assessments provide clarity regarding the effects of marine infrastructure on wildlife and habitats, from installation to decommissioning. Input from subject matter experts is crucial for guiding through the permitting process and strategic environmental planning, achieving regulatory compliance, and creating robust monitoring plans, minimising delays, and ensuring excellent asset stewardship.

  5. Geophysics – advanced marine geophysical techniques extract vital information about the seafloor and subsurface layers, guiding in situ geotechnical sampling campaigns. Geophysicists interpret data to identify structural weaknesses, map geotechnical units, and detect hazards, enhancing safety, efficiency, and project timeframes.

  6. Metocean analysis – understanding metocean conditions reduces uncertainty in engineering operations, supports operational planning, reduces costs, and enhances safety and efficiency throughout the project life cycle.

In the marine industry, these six pillars are often evaluated independently. However, our approach is different. We recognise that these pillars are interconnected and interdependent.

We don’t compartmentalise technical expertise; instead, we form multidisciplinary teams comprising subject matter experts from each domain. This allows us to seamlessly integrate datasets into advanced multidimensional models, adding substantial value to marine infrastructure projects.

By tailoring and integrating these services to address specific site challenges and objectives, we contribute to the success and sustainability of marine infrastructure projects.

Integrated 3D and 4D models

Our 3D and 4D models assist operators and developers in maximising value and fostering innovation. Insights derived from the integration of six disciplines offer clarity for making optimal investment decisions.

The initial step involves creating individual models for each pillar. Through collaborative iterations and leading visualisation tools, we deliver a 3D/4D earth model that integrates data from all six pillars (validated by all our in-house experts) and addresses the project’s specific challenges and requirements. It’s crucial to acknowledge that the increased certainty provided by the model may either elevate or mitigate project risks.

Having all six disciplines working together provides numerous advantages: communication within and between our teams is open, uninhibited, and productive; we capitalise on all gained insights; and we minimise the number of stakeholder interfaces, enabling you to concentrate on achieving your project objectives.

Our approach ensures that insights obtained at each stage are retained, lessons are learned and integrated, and results are meaningful to all stakeholders, fostering decision flexibility and ensuring effective outcomes.

The essence lies in integrating teams, data, and insights. Through this approach, we ensure that our earth system models offer a comprehensive environmental context for the asset’s intended operation, thereby enabling you to derive greater value and insights for your offshore projects.

Offshore wind farm ground model

Integrated earth models for sustainable infrastructure development

Be wary of short-term savings

Marine consultancy is indispensable for marine infrastructure projects. History has repeatedly shown that parceling out or cutting corners on marine consultancy services often leads to significant financial repercussions in the long run, especially for offshore projects, which typically entail higher capital costs.

With our marine consultants, you’re in safe hands, and there’ll be no missed synergies. We possess a profound understanding of the myriad challenges you’ll encounter when evaluating and developing offshore sites. We can offer you the best options to maximise the long-term value of your project.

At Fugro, our expertise lies in integrating multiple Geo-data sources, from vintage to modern datasets, to provide comprehensive insights tailored to your needs – including regulatory compliance – at all stages of development.

In conclusion

By investing wisely in marine consulting expertise, with multidisciplinary teams and integrated solutions, you aren’t merely acquiring a service provider – you’re securing a trusted partner committed to the success of your project.

Our focus is to equip you with the insights and support necessary to navigate the complexities of marine infrastructure with confidence and achieve success.

Fugro personnel working in the Abu Dhabi office
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Fugro personnel working in the Abu Dhabi office


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