Case study 3:
Developing a new technology to improve offshore operations.
The company had been developing a new bundle monitoring system for use in the tow out of 7km long bundles. A bundle is typically 7km long and is a 'bundle' of individual pipelines contained within an outer carrier.
These bundles were towed to location suspended between two vessels. The major concern for the tow out operation was understanding how the bundle behaved during the tow out. An uncontrolled bundle tow could lead to a catastrophic failure.
In addition, the system was enhanced to facilitate remote operation of valves for controlled seawater flooding when in lay-down position. This was executed using subsea acoustics.
Steven took the concept from early R&D trials and transformed into a reliable system.
An intensive and complex project, with critical ramifications, Steven managed the entire scope which involved the management of major stakeholders within and outside the organisation.
Steven brought the component parts together and integrated into a working system, managing all sub-contractors, evaluating their technology, rigorously assessing their control software and integrating the system.
Before the system was allowed to go live, the stakeholders had to be convinced on its reliability and understand the risks of system failure. A main concern expressed by the operations team was a valve opening during tow which would lead to catastrophic loss and potentially putting vessels at risk.
As part of the risk management strategy, Steven developed contingency measures and designed and executed numerous rigorous and intensive trials, both on-shore and off-shore.
Steven worked with the operations team to align system operation with the offshore installation process.
As the Project Manager for the scope, Steven was responsible for the project administration but also took responsibility for the reliable and effective execution.
With the suppliers of the acoustic technology and site personnel, Steven commissioned the system only accepting it fit for use when he was convinced of safe and reliable operation. He also managed a control team during the actual tow outs.
The main benefit of the remote valve control system was reducing the need for an ROV to open valves, significantly reducing offshore installation time and cost.
The system functioned well on numerous occasions. Steven was involved with the programme for a number of years and continuously worked on enhancements including the performance of underwater acoustic commutation and alternative methodologies for vessel too bundle communication.