Offshore Industry News

Transforming Metrology Surveys through LiDAR Technology

3D at Depth, a global provider of advanced subsea LiDAR systems and solutions, continues to validate the market for LiDAR technology applications for the Upstream Oil and Gas industry. The company has just announced the completion of the 75th LiDAR spool piece metrology with a 100% success rate for all metrologies to date, using their SL1 & SL2 LiDAR technology.

Since 2009, 3D at Depth has employed LiDAR sensor technology to directly address the challenges of subsea data collection and imaging (in terms of range, accuracy, field of view, depth and integration) for metrology survey programs. Today, the company has advanced their proprietary LiDAR technology from the lab through pilot programs and into commercialization. By aligning proprietary technology with emerging LiDAR sensor technology from other industries, 3D at Depth’s objective is to transform subsea data collection, mapping, and visualization programs for a wide range of applications and industries. The SL1 & SL2 technology and the integration of software and hardware provide a 3D LiDAR platform for offshore survey contractor programs that delivers increased performance and efficiency gains over standard (traditional) technology alternatives such as acoustic LBL or Inertial methods.

Metrology-Full3D at Depth's in-house technology utilized in the 75 metrologies was developed to greatly reduce the overall cost of each survey, while delivering robust data sets that can be validated and comply with the IMCA recommendations for accuracy - or higher. In each case, 3D at Depth’s solutions made a significant difference by reducing vessel time and increasing data accuracy and quality. 3D at Depth’s average subsea laser metrology took 2.5 hours to complete, which required dual scans for 100% data validation. In comparison, other standard (traditional) technology alternatives such as LBL acoustic or LBL/Inertial mixed measurement methods can take up to 9-12 hours for completion using far higher amounts of equipment infrastructure, to obtain less measurement and visual information in return.

Furthermore, 3D at Depth’s solutions were deployed in water depths of 50-3,000 meters with metrology lengths varying from 6-90 meters, and showed significant improvement in terms of speed, repeatability and resolutions, with a great reduction requirement in project planning and execution. The metrology results included full 3D visualization of the location with seabed digital terrain models (DTM’s), which provide a base line for structure placement and sediment stabilization. Finally, through seamless integration into offshore survey and contractor programs, 3D at Depth and their partner companies have developed workflows that are repeatable and leverage industry-leading point cloud processing tools. The flexibility of the technology allows 3D at Depth clients to continuously optimize those workflows to find new applications for subsea LiDAR.

“Our goal has been to bring mature, validated technologies and best practices from the terrestrial laser scanning market and apply them to subsea applications,” stated Mark Hardy, Co-founder of 3D at Depth. “This strategy greatly reduces our clients’ risk while accelerating adoption of LiDAR technology across a variety of survey programs. In addition, most of our service partners are well versed in laser scanning and dimensional control, and the SL platform aligns easily into those specific survey workflows. Our subsea LiDAR platform continues to establish clear benefits in performance for metrology projects by time reduction as well as offering ancillary data products, which can be integrated into a variety of databases and GIS systems. Not only are we addressing the big data challenge for the digital oil field, but we are also developing 3D ocean intelligence that spans a wide range of applications including asset integrity and life of field. The implications are exciting.”

Metrology surveys play a critical role in delivering first oil or renewed production from wells. With the theme of time is money on some campaigns, subsea LiDAR has removed weeks of project installation time over conventional acoustic methods giving high value across the chain for offshore Oil and Gas exploration and production. In addition, there are large costs associated with conducting those surveys, especially considering vessel time and human resources. Metrologies are closely aligned with all aspects of subsea operations from exploration, production, maintenance and decommissioning. In this performance-intensive environment the value of successful metrology programs can positively affect operational efficiencies, mitigate risk and reduce environmental impacts.

3D at Depth technology is currently available through designated partners and lease programs serving oil and gas, defense, and research industries. In addition to the successful completion of wide area entire field mapping with mm resolution and the aforementioned 75 installed jumpers with measurements derived using subsea laser metrologies, the company recently announced expanded operations and a new office to serve the Asia Pacific market. (3D at Depth Expands Operations)

As LiDAR scanning technology continues to secure acceptance and build momentum in various subsea applications, 3D at Depth will continue to advance the industry through innovative solutions that address data collection, mapping and visualization challenges, and demonstrate performance. The successful implementation of the technology has a wide range of impact for offshore energy, mining, defense and research programs in terms of financial and operational efficiencies.

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