ROC Asset Management's Place In A New World
The oil and gas industry may have a reputation for slow adoption of new technologies and new performance techniques but Remote Operation Centers (ROCs) are an exception, with companies implementing these new practices long before 2020. Many branches and categories of oil and gas development, automation, remote monitoring and remote management have been among the technological strides toward efficiency, both through direct savings these technologies generate and through possible additional cost reductions. The implementation of such technologies has created safer workplaces where all chains of decision-making are more easily traced and optimized.
In many systems and configurations made up of these technologies, ROCs are considered the central nervous system through which these operational benefits are made clear to the end user. Before 2020, ROCs were already trending toward higher degrees of technological sophistication and maneuverability, especially as AI and IoT applications opened new possibilities for remote operations. However, some companies understandably continued to resist the significant expense that ROCs could represent.
2020 changed all of that. After weeks and months of lockdowns to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, ROCs became the most essential tool to help managers maintain operational continuity. Meanwhile, premium service and technology providers with ROCs of their own enjoyed an enormous advantage over their competitors. A perfect example is Fugro’s world-class ROC in Aberdeen. Using this ROC, Fugro’s clients could track the status of any service they recently contracted, such as the ongoing progress of inspections and surveys or the real-time status of ROVs on the ocean floor. Thanks to this ROC investment, remote solutions could be offered through a minimal amount of bandwidth and additional equipment. More remote monitoring and management options translate into fewer onsite inspectors and managers, which became crucial during the pandemic. How small a crew is needed to work in offshore environments is the No. 1 factor that determines how safe an operation is.
The remote operation enabled by Fugro's ROC also has a sizable impact on the company’s carbon footprint, which is now considerably smaller. An increase in remote communication and decision-making also means fewer vessels and less travel for experts to specific on-site locations around the world. Adopting these new practices has resulted in faster data transfers and deliveries, along with balance sheets that provide evidence of cost-effective operations and asset management. Alastair McKie, Fugro’s Director of Remote Operations for Europe and Africa, says that, “remote operations and the ROC in Aberdeen bring significant industry benefits in terms of operational efficiency, enhanced safety and the environment.”
Fugro’s ROC also supports the expansion of the company’s decommissioning services. Recently, the company signed a contract with Well-Safe Solutions to provide remote rig control onboard the Well-Safe Guardian rig, plus additional ROC support. In general, Fugro’s Aberdeen ROC provides a stalwart model of how global companies can best conduct themselves in light of the unexpected circumstances that have affected the oil and gas industry. In the near future, this model will become very useful among all service providers in the sector.
Fugro is the world’s leading Geo-data specialist, collecting and analyzing comprehensive information about the Earth and the structures built upon it. Adopting an integrated approach that incorporates acquisition and analysis of Geo-data and related advice, Fugro provides solutions. With expertise in site characterization and asset integrity, clients are supported in the safe, sustainable and efficient design, construction and operation of their assets throughout the full lifecycle.