Aramco investigates AUVs for seismic acquisition

Offshore staff

DHAHRAN, Saudi ArabiaSaudi Aramco has outlined highlights of its offshore exploration and development activities during 2014.

The company drilled and completed several wells in the frontier deepwaters of the Red Sea, an extensional rift region.

Aramco continued research into the use of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) for seismic data gathering in shallow waters.

Navigation and positioning software elements underwent evaluation and testing in Europe using actual sea conditions. Additional work included design and evaluation of the optimal AUV shape.

Deploying AUVs for offshore seismic programs could lead to generate cost and time savings, Aramco says, while also providing enhanced subsurface imagery. The company’s long-term goal is to cut its seismic acquisition costs by 50% and acquisition time by a factor of four, while improving subsurface image fidelity and accuracy.

Aramco’s Marine organization procured 16 new platform support vessels, the aim being to improve the supply of materials and supplies to drilling platforms in the offshore Manifa field.

Last year front-end engineering and design was completed of cable-deployed electric submersible pumps, with field prototype design, manufacturing, and testing scheduled for 2015. These pumps are used to boost production rates in offshore fields such as Safaniya.

Finally, the planned Fadhili gas plant, designed to process 2.5 bcf/d from Saudi offshore and onshore fields, is due onstream by 2019.

Drilling for non-associated gas to supply the plant started last year, and Aramco issued the final project proposal in preparation for the detailed design phase during 2015.


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