Blue Ocean Marine Services were recently contracted to conduct Produced Formation Water (PFW) discharge surveys in Western Australia using one of their L3HARRIS Iver-3 Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUV). The AUV was used to support the field monitoring team by providing additional high-resolution 3D water quality information in the discharge and mixing zones.
The Iver-3 AUV, a low-logistics vehicle particularly suited to water quality surveys of this nature, was equipped with a Xylem YSI EXO1 Multiparameter Sonde, which is fitted with EXO conductivity & temperature (CT), turbidity, fluorescent dissolved organic matter (FDOM) and dissolved oxygen (DO) smart sensors.
Example of PFW Plume Survey Track
The autonomous survey missions were planned to record data along equidistant transects perpendicular to the direction of the prevailing current and expected plume path. Surveys were completed over three days at two offshore facilities, and no detectable plume was recorded in the data, confirming the PFW discharges were released within accepted regulatory limits.
The AUV survey was safely and successfully conducted, and whilst based on measured parameters the PFW could not be detected, the AUV demonstrated:
- Low logistical effort in mobilisation and demobilisation
- Safe deployment and recovery from vessel
- Flexibility of the system to allow simultaneous operations to occur
- Adaptability and speed of mission planning
- Speed of data availability
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