12 Oct 2021
by Matthew Scholes

Guest blog: Geollect aiding efficiency and awareness in the subsea energy sector

Matthew Scholes, Business Development Manager for Geollect reflects on how data and technology can drive efficiency & awareness in the subsea sector

The Challenge

Inspection and maintenance of subsea infrastructure has typically been very cyclical. Often, years go by between inspections and maintenance operations. In the past, incidents have occurred, causing damage that worsens over time and ultimately leads to higher levels of cost for organisations to fix the problem, long after the actual, unknown, incident occured.

The knock-on problem here is the inability to understand the cause of the problem. Was the infrastructure damaged in a storm, by fishing vessels trawling, or a ship dragging its anchor? It is true that “you don’t know what you don’t know”, but in today’s world of data-driven decision making, you can reduce what you don’t know.

Creating a solution

From the start, we knew we were going to take a geospatial approach to this problem. The assets themselves do not move (or at least shouldn’t!), and many dynamic factors need to be considered, such as the human and environmental conditions: all of which occur in a space and time.

After identifying the main risks to the subsea assets, we had to understand how to measure them, and communicate the risk exposure. An accurate understanding of risk relies on a range of datasets, which we monitor and analyse in near-real time. Through monitoring these data we can provide alerts that highlight to a user areas and times of elevated risk. Our geospatial platforms allow users to look into the data to understand the cause better and take aversive action.

What does the solution deliver?

The solution provides teams throughout organisations with early and comprehensive awareness of potential problems through location and situational based alerts relating to environmental and human factors.

Near-real-time awareness of developing situations allows for a more agile response to emerging threats. If the threat is environmental, maintenance teams can be allocated to check and inspect after the incident. If the damage is inflicted by human behaviour, an understanding of nearby operations in the area aids investigations and to capture the potential causes. From an operations standpoint, being able to show 24/7/365 monitoring and awareness of assets aids resource allocation and prioritisation of workflows in line with existing and emerging requirements.

By mapping data and risk, we increase the speed at which the information can be understood and utilised by analysts. By combining this with our automated alerts and monitoring capabilities, analysts are able to ensure focus is always in the right place, at the right time. Where forecasting is used to identify potential risks, analysts can then apply their experience and decision making to reach a final conclusion regarding action to be taken.

Closing points

As more and more companies turn to data & new technology to help solve problems and improve awareness, it is worth noting that while automation and AI can get you so far, the human in the loop is critical to putting the full picture together. As a tool, AI is a great “heavy lifter” and can reveal previously unseen patterns and connections. Technology is great for filtering and processing the large volumes of data and presenting the need to know, but for action a human is necessary. We thoroughly believe that organisations should take a data-driven, human-centric approach when it comes to decision making.

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Matthew Scholes

Business Development Manager , Geollect