April 2024
SPECIAL FOCUS: Offshore technology

OTC recognizes 2024 Spotlight on New Technology® award winners

In late March, the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) announced the winners of their 2024 Spotlight on New Technology Award. Per the organization’s announcement, “this esteemed honor is given exclusively to OTC exhibitors who are reshaping the offshore energy sector through their innovation and development of technologies.” Echoing the awards of 2023, 15 technologies were selected for their advancements in the offshore energy sector—five of these are from small companies, a slight decrease from 2023’s seven. 

In late March, the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) announced the winners of their 2024 Spotlight on New Technology Award. Per the organization’s announcement, “this esteemed honor is given exclusively to OTC exhibitors who are reshaping the offshore energy sector through their innovation and development of technologies.” Echoing the awards of 2023, 15 technologies were selected for their advancements in the offshore energy sector—five of these are from small companies, a slight decrease from 2023’s seven. 

“OTC takes pride in recognizing the companies transforming the future of the offshore energy sector,” said Alex Martinez, chairperson, OTC Board of Directors. “The Spotlight on New Technology Award is one of the many ways we like to show our appreciation. Revolutionizing the field is no easy task. It requires collaboration, intense consistency, and the brightest minds in the industry to drive innovation. This year’s recipients exemplify these efforts, and we are proud to acknowledge them.”  

Detailed below are descriptions and figures for the winning technologies, beginning first with those entries by larger companies, followed by smaller companies’ entries. 

NEW TECHNOLOGY WINNERS: LARGER COMPANIES  

Advanced reservoir mapping 

Fig. 1. Baker Hughes’ TRU-ARMS™ advanced reservoir mapping services. Image: Baker Hughes.

The Baker Hughes TRU-ARMS™ Advanced Reservoir Mapping Service (Fig. 1) delivers a step-change in reservoir mapping by identifying lithological and fluid boundaries up to 300 ft from the wellbore—enhancing field development planning for improved production and recovery. This service also leverages unique confidence analyses that help to evaluate hydrocarbon volumes. The TRU-ARMS reservoir service uses Ultra Deep Azimuthal Resistivity (UDAR) measurements and multi-dimensional inversions to deliver sharper insights into reservoir distribution and quality. This new method of reservoir mapping introduces three clearly differentiating technologies: the industry’s first disruptive transceiver, an innovative antenna design and an industry exclusive multi-dimensional inversion analysis. TRU-ARMS advanced reservoir mapping services provide enhanced data quantity, quality and integrity to unlock the true reservoir understanding at a seismic scale. (Editor’s note: Please also see the feature article on TRU-ARMS in this issue for additional details.) 

Real-time downhole data for liner installation 

Fig. 2. Baker Hughes’ Sonus™ Acoustic-Set Liner Hanger System. Image: Baker Hughes

The Sonus™ acoustic-set liner hanger system (Fig. 2) delivers a new way of installing liner hangers that saves time, optimizes operations and reduces risks. Enabled by the Baker Hughes XACT™ bi-directional downhole acoustic telemetry platform, the Sonus system not only delivers real-time downhole data throughout the entire liner installation, but it also includes a downlink mechanism to remotely and wirelessly actuate the liner hanger and liner running tool before, during or after cementing. 

With the Sonus system, operators decide when, and where, to set the hanger, with no delays. Unlike existing industry actuation methods, this system sets the liner using a discrete acoustic command signal. The signal is sent quickly and deliberately from the surface down the drillstring, to selectively set the liner hanger and release the running tool. 

Once the liner is set, the XACT system continues to collect key data like pressure, temperature and torque along multiple points and send them to the surface in real time. These on-demand data let operators make informed decisions and take action with confidence to optimize operations. 

Because the Sonus system provides an all-in-one solution, operational compromises are eliminated—there are no ball seats, no limits on circulation, and the system is compatible for all liner applications. 

Power-dense motor 

Fig. 3. Hägglunds, a brand of Bosch Rexroth Quantum Power. Image: Hägglunds.

The Hägglunds Quantum Power (QMP) (Fig. 3) merges a slim new connection block, resulting in a reliable foundation for peak performance. Through additional ports and innovative internal design, the connection and cylinder block interface enable far-higher speeds while retaining full torque capacity at high efficiency. Consequently, the Hägglunds Quantum Power can deliver high power with greater economy and sustainability than any previous solution. 

Surpassing demands defined by machine manufacturers and users, the QMP was developed for maximum power density, which implies decreased installation footprint with increased power output. The manufacturing time has decreased, the overall weight is reduced, which translates into a sustainable product with less overall emissions for Hägglunds, OEMs and users. 

The QMP product family provides the machine with a maximum torque of 370 kNm and a top speed of 170 rpm, giving a maximum power of 2,568 kW, which outperforms any other drive system in such an operating mode. 

Autonomous subsea inspection 

Fig. 4. DeepOcean Autonomous Inspection Drone. Image: DeepOcean.
Fig. 5. The AID facilitates the vehicle to follow pre-programmed inspection routes for subsea assets. Image: DeepOcean.

The Autonomous Inspection Drone (AID) (Figs. 4 and 5) has been developed by DeepOcean to unlock substantial cost-savings for operations in all areas of subsea inspection, from traditional oil and gas to the offshore renewables market. 

The AID is based on a Rover MK2 ROV from Argus Remote Systems, with upgraded hardware and software packages. Argus is responsible for the AID platform and navigation algorithm. DeepOcean is responsible for the digital twin platform, which serves as mission planner software and a live view of the AID in operation, while Vaarst is responsible for the machine vision camera Subslam 2x, for autonomous navigation and data collection. 

The AID facilitates the vehicle to follow pre-programmed inspection routes for subsea assets, allowing increased simultaneous operations without an increase in personnel. Routes, planned and refined in DeepOcean's Digital Twin, are transmitted to the vehicle from the Remote Operation Center while being continuously monitored. This ensures high-quality data while enhancing operator awareness and optimizing efficiency. Additionally, the routes are stored in the digital twin, which allows value to be created for operators of offshore energy assets, if the same inspection scope can be repeated year on year. 

Seafloor drill 

Fig. 6. Fugro’s Blue Dragon® seafloor drill. Image: Fugro

The Fugro Blue Dragon® (Fig. 6), currently in final development and testing, sets a new industry standard for geotechnical seabed characterization. This modular and highly automated system tackles diverse water depths and terrains with ease, seamlessly performing in situ testing, soil sampling and rock coring in a single dive. 

With unmatched efficiency and rugged performance, the Blue Dragon® boasts a custom-designed launch and recovery system for safe and efficient deployment from a wide variety of vessels. Advanced seafloor drilling technology enhances operability, even in harsh weather conditions. It is also easily shipped using 20-ft containers, making mobilization efficient for remote areas. 

Delivering on sustainability and safety, the Blue Dragon® significantly contributes to environmental sustainability by reducing vessel size and crew requirements. This translates to a smaller environmental footprint, aligning with Fugro's net-zero roadmap. Automation elevates standards of health and safety, both on deck and subsea, thanks to integrated robotic pipe, tool and sample handling. 

With quality that is future-proofed, standardized operations ensure consistent, high-quality data and increased productivity. As Fugro's platform for achieving remote seabed exploration, the Blue Dragon® is designed to accommodate rapidly evolving robotic and automated technologies, guaranteeing superior data with continued innovations in safety, sustainability and efficiency. 

Remote subsea inspection solution 

Fig. 7. Fugro’s Remote subsea inspection solution. Image: Fugro.

Fugro’s remote subsea inspection solution answers the energy sector’s need for safe and efficient infrastructure assessments, Fig. 7. It’s the world’s first solution that can launch and recover a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) from a multipurpose uncrewed surface vessel (USV), performing seabed mapping and inspection work from one platform. This approach enhances project safety by moving personnel from the offshore environment to onshore remote operations centers (ROCs) and reducing the carbon footprint of ROV inspections by up to 95%. 

Key components include: 

  • Fugro Blue Essence® USVs: 12-m multipurpose USVs, delivering high-resolution seabed and subsurface mapping data, while serving as a platform for our electronic ROV (eROV). The Blue Essence® has 360° situational awareness, is optimized for fully remote operations (no parent vessel required), and has an endurance rate of up to 15 days. 
  • Fugro Blue Volta® eROV: Performing remote inspections and light intervention tasks with survey-grade positioning. The solution also delivers 4K video for 3D image reconstruction, multibeam data for bathymetry and a tooling payload for inspection and pipe/cable tracking.  
  • Global ROC network: Strategically located across the globe, allowing our experts to control offshore systems remotely, while providing clients real-time access for enhanced collaboration and optimal results. 

IIoT asset monitoring 

Fig. 8. Henkel’s LOCTITE®Pulse.™ Image: Henkel.

LOCTITE®Pulse™ (Fig. 8) is an IIoT Solution from Henkel, designed to contribute to a plant's reliability. Once sensors are installed, users can monitor critical static and rotating assets in a single app. After analyzing and transmitting the data to the cloud, the easy-to-use LOCTITE Pulse web-app notifies users about irregularities on their industrial assets, as detected by the LOCTITE Pulse solution. It provides real-time notifications when irregularities have been measured, empowering operations for minimal downtime, enhanced safety and sustainability. Thereby, it supports users’ existing control mechanisms to increase plant safety, productivity and uptime across multiple assets and manufacturing brands—in one, single platform. 

The LOCTITE Pulse Smart Flange solution can allow users to remotely monitor critical assets to detect and contain early leakages and help prevent critical incidents. The LOCTITE Pulse Smart Steam Trap solution will help users continuously monitor their asset status, detecting failures early, ultimately reducing downtime and minimizing energy loss and CO2 emissions, therefore improving profitability. 

Remotely monitored and controlled latches 

Fig. 9. Oil States’ ACTIVEHub™ with ACTIVELatch.™ Image: Oil States Industries.

The Oil States artificial intelligence (A.I.)-powered ACTIVEHub™ platform and ACTIVELatch™ technology (Fig. 9) provide remote monitoring and control of the industry’s first battery-operated wireless latch for greater wellsite safety and efficiency. Analog equipment utilizing ACTIVEHub technology can be remotely monitored and controlled on a given wellsite within a 50-yard radius. 

ACTIVELatch, a key component of the ACTIVEHub system, is a 5 1/8-in., 15,000-psi remotely operated wellhead connection that allows an operator to make and break the wireline connection to the well wirelessly, via the ACTIVEHub Communication and Control System, without hydraulics. A.I.-powered ACTIVELatch safety protocols reduce the risk of latches opening under pressure, to significantly lower latch failure. The component’s remote-control capability removes personnel from the red zone for greater site safety. Additionally, ACTIVELatch eliminates hydraulic hoses, to minimize environmental impact. Compared to conventional flange and unflange methods, ACTIVELatch reduces downtime by saving 20 to 25 min. per swap from frac to to wireline.

The ActiveHub platform can also remotely monitor and control valves and pressure control equipment across the wellsite, when combined with ACTIVEClose™ remote actuation and ACTIVESense™ open/close monitoring sensor technologies.

Fig. 10. Oil States’ Swift DW2 RAR Connector - Ratchet Anti-Rotation Mechanism. Image: Oil States Industries.

Ratchet anti-rotation mechanism 

The Oil States Swift DW2 RAR (Fig. 10) offers oil and gas operators a unique, integrally machined anti-rotation mechanism that prevents connector break-out in extreme and fatigue-sensitive ultra-deepwater conditions. It is the only true metal-sealing conductor and casing connector on the market that features integral ratchet anti-rotation (RAR) as a standard component.  
The Swift DW2 RAR significantly improves safety during conductor/casing running by eliminating loose parts and personnel in the red zone on the rig floor. The RAR design has undergone rigorous testing up to torque machine limits of 193,000 ft/lbs, whereas conventional anti-rotation features reach limits of significantly less than 100,000 ft/lbs. Conventional technologies can create hazardous work environments and capital equipment losses. However, the hands-free, gas-tight Swift DW2 RAR locks only one way, ensuring reliable integrity that prevents vortex-induced vibration backoff. 

Pipeline integrity monitoring 

Fig. 11. Saipem’s Integrated Acoustic Unit (I.A.U.). Image: Saipem S.p.A.
Fig. 12. The I.A.U. can locate obstructions, pipe deformations and water ingress up to several km away, all in real time. Image: Saipem S.p.A

I.A.U. (Figs. 11 and 12) is an innovative technology, developed by Saipem and based on acoustics technology, which enables non-intrusive, remote offshore pipeline integrity monitoring during laying activities. It can locate obstructions, pipe deformations and water ingress up to several kilometers away—all in real time. It can also classify and quantify detected anomalies and send the data to an operator. 

Tests—from an extensive field test campaign conducted in recent years—have shown that I.A.U. is an effective alternative to the mechanical detector commonly used during pipelaying activities. In fact, the new Saipem technology ensures timeliness and accuracy in detecting anomalies, and it eliminates the risks associated with the use of the mechanical detector, such as cable breakage, loss of the device in the pipeline and possible damage to the inner lining during pulling operations. 

The I.A.U. technology represents an important step forward in the digitalization of fleet activities and it is already supporting the operations onboard a Saipem pipelaying vessel, which is best-in-class in the construction of large offshore gas pipelines worldwide. 

SMALL BUISNESS WINNERS 

Mechanized ball valve 

Fig. 13. The BridgeFlow Mechanized Ball Valve integrates the effectiveness of a double block and bleed (DBB) system within a singular, sophisticated valve. Image: BridgeFlow Valve Ltd.

BridgeFlow is revolutionizing isolation systems with its groundbreaking ball valve technology, Fig. 13. 

By integrating the effectiveness of a double block and bleed (DBB) system within a singular, sophisticated valve, this innovation offers unparalleled reliability that surpasses conventional blind flanges. This all-encompassing solution not only achieves the highest standard in sealing quality but also significantly enhances the valve's durability. 

The introduction of a frictionless rotation feature is a pivotal innovation that actively combats the common issue of wear and tear in valves, ensuring an extended operational lifespan and consistently leak-proof performance across diverse pressure ranges. Moreover, the valve features a full port design, optimizing flow efficiency, alongside a compact, non-rising stem that effectively reduces leakage risks, thereby promoting environmental sustainability. 

The valve's design also emphasizes reduced material consumption, a self-cleaning mechanism, and rapid switching capabilities, making it exceptionally suited for high demand on/off operations. BridgeFlow's valve represents a leap forward in the industry, merging simplicity with robust engineering to deliver an efficient, long-lasting and environmentally friendly solution for a wide array of applications. 

Enhanced pipe detection tool 

Corrosion significantly impacts well integrity, particularly at later stages of the well’s lifecycle. While technologies are available to assess corrosion in multiple concentric tubulars, no current technology effectively evaluates corrosion across five layers of pipes. The outermost casing is particularly susceptible to corrosion, due to its specific position. Thus, there is a critical demand for advanced technology capable of monitoring corrosion in this area. 

Fig. 14. GOWell’s Multi-aperture Motion-compensative Pulsed Eddy Current Deep Detection Method for multi-pipe thickness corrosion measurements (ePDT). Image: GoWell.

GOWell has developed and successfully field-tested its second generation of the Enhanced Pipe Detection Tool (ePDT-II), Fig. 14. It utilizes the Pulsed Eddy Current principle and multi-aperture, motion-compensative electromagnetic technology to deliver thickness measurements and corrosion assessments for multiple concentric pipes, extending to, and inclusive of, the fifth barrier, with a significant outer diameter. 

In driving and measuring stages, ePDT-II charges the downhole pipes, then the antenna measures the decaying magnetic field emitted by these pipes. The uniquely designed electromagnetic sensor provides exceptional sensitivity and maintains excellent signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). The tool has been comprehensibly field-trialed in various wells up to five barriers, receiving favorable feedback from the clients affirming its effectiveness. 

Corrosion evaluation can save operators costly repairs and potential well abandonment, and the ePDT-II now successfully extends the range of pipes that can be monitored. 

Through-tubing cement evaluation 

An integral part of well integrity (WI) programs involves cement quality and isolation behind the casings; however, evaluating cement becomes challenging in the presence of tubing. Novel technology that can monitor the cement condition in through-tubing conditions is, therefore, a significant need. GOWell has introduced the TTCE cement evaluation service (Fig. 15) to evaluate the cement bond condition through tubing. The technology is based on Selective NonHarmonic Resonance (SNHR), where the TTCE emits continuous energies to the multi-string structure around it—something considered as a multi-degree of freedom Duffing system, including the coupling of hydraulic pressure and elastic stress-strain in different materials.

Fig. 15. GOWell’s Elastic Structure Nonharmonic Resonance Method for through-tubing cement evaluation (TTCE). Image: GoWell.

The TTCE’s sensor array measures the resonance power loss distribution in different azimuthal directions. This resonance energy loss represents the cement-casing and cement-formation bond qualities. Additionally, the technology corrects for tubing eccentricity effects on the through-tubing cement bond measurements. 

TTCE technology will be essential for WI management in various settings, including hydrocarbon, geothermal, injector, P&A, and gas storage well configurations, providing through-tubing alternative to evaluate cement behind casing without pulling the tubing string. Furthermore, the TTCE can be combined with other WI tools, including calipers and electromagnetic pipe thickness tools, allowing for more-detailed WI assessment in a single run. 

Single-motor bolting pump 

HYTORC’s LIGHTNING™ PUMP Series (Fig. 16) is the fastest single-motor pump for bolting. It is available in two models—the “LIGHTNING™ PUMP Series – Smart” and the “LIGHTNING™ PUMP Series – Standard.” Both versions operate on a 48-volt, 1,170 watt-hour battery with an oil cooler, USB slot, hard shell case, 0.70-gal (2.7-l) tank capacity and a variable speed brushless direct current (DC) motor. 

Fig. 16. The LIGHTNING™ PUMP Series. Image: HYTORC Industrial Bolting Systems.

The battery pumps address the need for a cost-efficient, stable power solution when bolting in remote locations off the power grid, making it valuable in industries, such as wind (including offshore), mining and oil and gas, where there are few reliable, consistent power sources available and where access to a generator is not always possible. 

The pump has a significant increase in flow, making it faster than any single motor pump on the market. This motor allows the LIGHTNING PUMP's elements to run simultaneously, resulting in superior pump performance. The smart version is the only pump on the market with an intuitive touchscreen. Its comprehensive data capture function allows for better-quality records. The pump has an IP 65 rating and can operate in temperatures up to 60° C/140 F° and as low as -20° C/-4 F°. 

Machine health data monitoring 

Fig. 17. NrgMonitor™ helps operators achieve their Net-Zero goals while preventing unplanned downtime. Image: Nanoprecise Sci. Corp.

NrgMonitor™ (Fig. 17) from Nanoprecise employs a data-driven approach to help operators achieve their Net-Zero goals while preventing unplanned downtime. It processes raw machine health data from industrial machines to give visibility into excess energy consumption. By knowing which equipment is consuming more energy, due to a fault or frictional loss, maintenance teams are able to prioritize their activities and proactively address equipment needs. 

The predictive capabilities don't just save time and costs; they prevent unplanned downtime, ensuring continuous, efficient productive operations. Due to its ability to ensure assets operate at peak efficiency, it becomes a crucial tool in achieving and surpassing sustainability targets. Moreover, its ability to pinpoint inefficiencies in energy consumption also contributes directly to reducing the environmental footprint of energy operations. NrgMonitor™ is deployed at scale across several manufacturing and production plants, thereby providing a cost-effective means for every company to achieve greater sustainability and positively impact energy consumption and costs. The ease and speed of implementation make it a clear means to address larger challenges today. 

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