Precision at Sea

Without proper positioning, there’s a lot that can go wrong during marine-based oil and gas operations, whether you’re positioning offshore drilling units over a wellhead, laying cable and pipes or surveying the seabed. Accurately positioning vessels on the surface is vital, and being off even slightly can lead to problems and down time that can cost companies millions.

This is a challenge that UTEC Survey, an Acteon company, knows all too well. UTEC specializes in offshore construction for the oil and gas industry, providing services such as pipe-lay installation, inspection, subsea structure installation and monitoring, precision acoustic metrology, 3D seismic node deployment, subsea mapping and Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) support. Vessel positioning must be precise, and UTEC trusts VERIPOS to provide the products that deliver the accuracy, reliability and redundancy their customers depend on.

“Without services like VERIPOS we could do nothing offshore,” said Dave Ross, UTEC’s Americas Business Unit Director. “The advances in GNSS means we can position things with 5 cm accuracy at sea. The reliability is incredible. It all starts with the position of the vessel on the surface. Subsea position will be in error if there’s not an accurate position on the surface. That means you could drill wells in the wrong place or put subsea equipment in the wrong spot. That’s all very expensive, particularly in deep water.”

VERIPOS, part of Hexagon Positioning Intelligence, provides high-performance positioning receivers that are built using NovAtel technology and provides redundant correction services that companies like UTEC and their clients need. VERIPOS leverages Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and its own proprietary corrections network, which includes more than 80 GNSS reference stations, providing that all-important reliability in their solutions.

“The alternatives are lower frequency based systems,” Ross said. “Before the technology VERIPOS provides was available, offshore positioning was relatively inaccurate. VERIPOS enables precise navigation. There’s not a single construction vessel that can go to sea without a system like the one VERIPOS provides.”