Autonomous OBN Seismic Survey Robots Could Enter Commercial Operation in 2024

©Blue Ocean Seismic Services,
©Blue Ocean Seismic Services,

Blue Ocean Seismic Services, which is working on autonomous ocean bottom seismic robotic vehicle technology, said on Tuesday that it had finished a series of passive and active seismic trials that proved the quality of seismic data collection.

This puts the company on track to start pre-commercial trials of its marine swarm robotics technology during the second half of 2023.

Backed by BP Ventures, Woodside Energy, and Blue Ocean Monitoring, the UK/Australian tech company Blue Ocean Seismic Services is developing the world’s first fleet of autonomous low-impact subsea nodes. 

According to the company, the technology will capture high-quality seismic data from the ocean floor for multiple applications such as offshore wind, oil and gas, and CCS. 

"These underwater vehicles will transform the offshore seismic sector to become more affordable, faster, safer, more environmentally friendly and significantly less carbon intensive," Blue Ocean Seismic Services said.

The company has recently undertaken technology testing in Plymouth, the North Sea, and Australia towards confirming the effectiveness of command and control systems, underwater flight performance, seismic coupling and active seismic data acquisition.

 Focusing on the recent North Sea active seismic trial, the company said it had achieved its technology and data collection objectives, including:

  • Acquiring additional cycles of active seismic data with its alpha vehicles (AP-OBSrV) alongside conventional ocean-bottom nodes (OBNs);
  • Testing engineering solutions for optimisations identified in the previous (August 2021) trials; and
  • Confirming the ability of the AP-OBSrV to maintain a close seismic coupling with the seabed, especially where cross currents exist.

"These objectives were all achieved in the active seismic survey, in particular confirming that the geophysical performance is on track.  With this confirmation, the company will continue its rapid progression towards the commencement of commercial operations in 2024, starting with the assembly of up to 250 OBSrV version 1 nodes (based on the AP-OBSrV design) in batches, with pre-commercial trials in H2 2023," the company said.

Blue Ocean Seismic Services is continuing talks with industry partners "about their strong interest in our services and pre-qualifying for future tender opportunities" before starting pre-commercial trials in the second half of 2023.

"In addition, following substantial interest from potential customers, the company also plans to open a new office in Houston, Texas, in Q1 2023, in line with its strategy to establish a presence in key markets," Blue Ocean Seismic said.


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