Sun, May


Cohort plc company SEA has teamed with research and technology organization Fraunhofer, the Orkney-based European Marine Energy Centre test centre (EMEC), and optical fiber sensor specialists Synaptec on a new project looking at developing multi-functional monitoring solutions to existing power transmission cables used in the offshore energy industry.

The Cable Lifetime Enhancement via Monitoring using Advanced Thermal and Electrical Infrastructure Sensing (Clematis) technology feasibility study is a 12-month project that will ultimately lead to better maintenance and repair of underwater cables.

The project is investigating ways of improving the accurate monitoring of current, voltage and temperature at key points. The combination of electrical current/voltage sensing alongside cable temperature, vibration and motion detection - using standard optical fiber – would create monitoring and maintenance capabilities not currently available to the industry.

The aim is for a central smart cable monitoring system to monitor the cable condition and performance in real time and re-route power or schedule maintenance with advance warnings on standard wear due to operating/tidal conditions, cable capacity and transmission anomalies.

SEA and EMEC are providing market intelligence, and test equipment and facilities to enable Fraunhofer and Synaptec to test their equipment in real life conditions.

SEA Subsea Engineering Director Matt Blair explained: “We are still in the early stage of the project but the aim will be to integrate this technology into the SEA power connections used at EMEC and other applications where subsea fiber umbilicals are in use.”


Cohort company SEA has developed a configuration of its Subsea Electronic Module (SEM) using batteries and acoustic communications to provide a standalone package suitable for interrogation by a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) or autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) flyby.

The power and communications configurations for the package use technology previously used and proven by SEA on similar applications. The simplicity of integrating a range of sensors and power sources shows the flexibility of using a plug and play approach in the initial design of the SEM.

SEA’s Subsea Control Module (SCM), including a Subsea Electronic Module (SEM) and Master Control Station (MCS), provides a new low cost and short lead-time module designed to extend the life of marginal developments and late-life fields in the oil and gas sector.

Through the use of standard plug and play components, various elements of the controls system can be used across a range of subsea applications, which include standalone control and monitoring for small pools applications where price, performance, standardisation, and re-use are becoming key factors.

It is designed to bring a new dimension to combatting obsolescence as pressure mounts to extract more life from existing equipment, particularly in the reducing North Sea sector.

Further benefits of the SEA system include a high level of configurability while maintaining reduced complexity by using commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) hardware where available. Recent work in decommissioning has also highlighted a need for pre-abandonment monitoring systems.

SEA Subsea Engineering Director Matt Blair said: “Our SCM lends itself to the demand for more efficient use of North Sea oil and gas resources. By combining the latest automated inspection technology, we have further strengthened the attractiveness of a solution that addresses a major challenge in the oil and gas sector, particularly in the North Sea.”


Cohort plc company SEA is showcasing an enhanced secure voice and data communications system for remote applications such as offshore ships and platforms at Offshore Europe 17.

SEA’s 4G Man-Portable Mobile Data Node (MDN4G), combined with the L3 TRL Iguana network security device, is a ruggedized Long Term Evolution (LTE) small cell “network-in-a-box” that provides the connectivity needed to operate smart phone or tablet based solutions where regular networks are unavailable or unreliable.

A suitable backhaul link (eg satellite or network) permits the system to link to standard onshore mobile networks and communications. If used with suitable ATEX zoned handsets, the system can be used throughout offshore installations and can be used in any location where there is a requirement for a secure network for voice, video, image or data sharing.

A new regulation recently introduced by Ofcom allows this product to be used with 3G and 4G devices offshore, with a connection back to shore, without the need for a wireless telegraphy licence.

Offshore oil and gas installations are categorized as part of UK critical national infrastructure (CNI), which also need robust defense against cyber attacks. The L3 TRM Iguana network security device provides advanced government grade hardware encryption. Integrated with the MdN, SEA can provide a high grade secure point to point network, essential for use in offshore oil and gas voice and data comms.

MdN4G is simple to deploy, providing a “Switch on and Go” capability, and is compatible with a wide range of commercial off-the-shelf cellular devices. It is a low Size Weight and Power (SWaP) design that is simple to operate, which allows rapid deployment at low cost when compared with alternative critical communication solutions.

Steve Hill, managing director of SEA commented: “MDN4G is already attracting considerable interest from sectors such as the emergency services and the military. It is also ideally suited to the offshore sector where users need high data rate communications with assured connectivity.”


Cohort plc company SEA is addressing the demands of sustainability and cost effectiveness with a brokerage service that will enable the offshore industry to re-use higher value legacy equipment.

Branded Legacy Locker, the service comprises a repository of new and refurbished equipment that can be purchased, rented or merely used to ensure operators maintain production.

Equipment is either owned by Aberdeen-based SEA or its clients, with much of it procured from client spares stock or de-commissioned facilities, and subsequently tested, refurbished, re-certified or reverse-engineered by SEA’s subsea engineering experts.

SEA Subsea Engineering Director Matt Blair explained: “As the decommissioning of infrastructure on existing fields in the North Sea continues and the industry re-evaluates its stockpiles, large quantities of functioning equipment are being scrapped, rather than being refurbished and reused.

“Our Legacy Locker service helps operators to overcome the obsolescence, interface, supply and support problems that have challenged the industry over many years.”

The circular economy business model promotes recycling over disposal, supporting the Scottish Government’s Zero Waste Scotland initiative and other low carbon and resource efficiency policies.

In refurbishing equipment, SEA can also overcome obstacles such as those arising from obsolescence, legacy interfaces, proprietary protocols and old specifications.

“Creating alternative and innovative solutions, tailored to the challenges that the North Sea Industry is facing, is an integral part of what we do at SEA. The release of Legacy Locker gives a name to a service we have been providing for a number of years and is the portal for our partners to create greater economic growth through reuse, re-manufacturing and recycling of subsea equipment,” added SEA’s Subsea Engineering Director.

SEA also plans to expand the reach of the equipment store beyond the North Sea as part of a move to mitigate the continued downturn in the offshore market.

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