Aberdeen Laser Specialists Help BP Shine Light on Riser Defects

Aberdeen Subsea surveillance company, Smart Light Devices has been working with BP on a ground-breaking project to unearth the question marks surrounding two defective risers on an installation off the coast of Angola.

The risers which are currently inoperative are 1250m below water surface and contain imperfections that render them inadequate for production. BP discovered problems early on in the project but it had proven impossible to pinpoint and analyze the defective area with current technology.

In June this year, Subsea 7, who has been working with BP on the Greater Plutonio installation since 2007 introduced SLD and its innovative laser technology to the project, which has so far left the BP project team thoroughly impressed.

The 3D Laser Scanner is unique in that it is able to capture the profile of an underwater structure or scene, saving this as a 3D computational model which then can be analyzed on a screen using computer-aided design.

Lorne Gifford is the BP Subsea Engineer working on the project. He said, "The application of laser technology to real life equipment that can operate at high water depths with real time results is excellent. Particularly impressive is the way the output files can be emailed over our satellite link and loaded directly to imaging, drafting and analytical packages."

The system will be deployed at the end of August from a BP field support vessel, which is BP and Subsea 7 manned with SLD also present to assist with their equipment.

Dr. Ala Al-Obaidi, Managing Director of SLD is happy with progress on the project: "It is always satisfying to see our systems being used by our customers and even better to see companies like BP acknowledging and embracing new technology for the oil and gas industry."

BP is confident that the scanner will accurately map the geometry of the damaged sections of the risers, which will allow for accurate computer modeling to verify how damaged they are.

Gifford added, "No other technology comes close to achieving the results we can get from the scanner for the cost. Plus it is great to work with the people from SLD who are very open and friendly which gives us good confidence in using the equipment."