Improving operational performance and sustainability using remote operations
19 January 2022
Michael Gibson is a Project Manager for our Asset Integrity service line, based at our remote operations centre in Aberdeenshire, UK. Michael joined Ashtead Technology in January 2021 at the start of a large mooring inspection campaign in Australia where we provided seamless 24-hour remote operations support from two separate locations in the UK and Canada, and successfully utilised our 3D modelling capabilities remotely.
In our first blog post of 2022, Michael provides an overview of Ashtead Technology’s growing remote operations capabilities and how we are playing our part to ensure safer, faster, and more sustainable project delivery.
A growing number of offshore operators are turning to remote operations solutions to reduce offshore POB and resulting risk exposure and also to help increase efficiencies and reduce carbon footprint.
Through our remote operations centres in the UK and Canada, Ashtead Technology’s Asset Integrity team is using remote operations to deliver UWILD and life extension mooring inspection.
Last year, we successfully delivered projects in Angola, Australia, Malaysia, Norway and the USA for major energy operators and continue to see significant uptake for our remote inspection services for the integrity management of subsea structures and production systems.
Prior to the pandemic, many offshore operators had already adopted remote operations solutions to improve their efficiencies and consistency. Initially considered mostly a nice-to-have, these solutions are now becoming critical to ensuring operational continuity. Our onshore remote operations centres provide a remote, yet connected, working environment for specialists, customer representatives, and additional support personnel and ensure customers can make the best use of time, reduce mobilisation cost, and benefit from onshore expertise.
Flexibility and reliability
The ability to have inspection personnel online only when required has proved very beneficial during Covid-19 related travel restrictions, when quarantine and country specific isolation periods have in some cases added several more weeks to an inspection campaign. Remote operations allows inspection vessels to remain onsite to conduct other work scopes, reducing the requirement to return to port, giving a flexible and reliable solution for our customers. Our remote operations teams can mobilise with as little as 48-hours’ notice, provide 24-hour coverage, and stand down immediately upon completion of the work scope. We can also conduct hybrid remote operations, with one offshore operator and one onshore remote operator working back to back 12 hour shifts, combining the flexibility of a remote service, with on-site technical support.
Health, safety and sustainability
Reducing personnel onsite has a number of implications, not least the reduction of risk exposure through eliminating the need for travel, helicopter transportation and potentially extended durations onboard a vessel. Remote operations allows operators to return home after completing a shift, minimising the separation from family and friends. The reduced requirement for transport and travel provides a considerable reduction in carbon impact and related costs that are normally associated with moving personnel to offshore work sites.
Remote operations allow us to continue to bring specialised digital technologies to our global customer base and carry out more inspections throughout the year whilst meeting some of the industry’s most pressing challenges.
With the ability for operators and engineers to have live control over critical functions remotely, this will improve the integrity management of safety-critical assets, whilst reducing risk, cost and carbon emissions.