Underwater Maintenance Machines

from Oceaneering International, Inc.

Since its inception in 1964, Oceaneering has transformed itself into one of the largest providers of deepwater-engineering services to the oil-and-gas industry across the globe. The Houston, Texas-based company boasts 8,200 employees across 67 locations in 21 countries, including a Newfoundland branch office of 125 Canadian personnel.

Oceaneering makes millions of dollars in revenue each quarter, but it’s responsible for something far more important: continued innovation and safety in one of the most dangerous and valuable industries in the world.

With a powerful fleet of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), the company can investigate what’s happening on a well hundreds of metres below the surface. With its Deepwater Technical Systems division, it provides cost-effective, creative approaches to oil-and-gas companies’ toughest problems.

Advantage caught up with Tim Lawrence, general manager for Oceaneering Canada, to take a hard look at some of the company’s top products. What we found is this: whether it’s developing state-of-the-art equipment or teaching employees how to perform their duties while being battered by 20-metre waves in a cold, unforgiving sea, Oceaneering delivers.

Millennium Plus ROV

Deep-sea maintenance and installation robot

In terms of pure brawn, the Millennium Plus has an enhanced thruster configuration that allows it to lift 50 percent more weight than its predecessor. Oceaneering has 262 work-class ROVs operating globally. In 2009, a helicopter crashed on its way to a rig off the coast of Newfoundland, killing 17 people. Officials called upon two of Oceaneering’s Millennium ROVs to recover much of the fuselage and all of the bodies, which provided much-needed closure for the victims’ families. “It was a recovery operation,” Lawrence says. “It was high-profile, and it was well received by the families.”

Ocean ProHD Camera System

Subsea-conditions-monitoring device

When British Petroleum’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded in 2010, Oceaneering’s cameras were the ones providing real-time video feeds to BP, the news media, and millions of watchers around the world. Thanks to the fibre-optic transmitters, the cameras delivered noise-free signals to those waiting on the surface, and engineers were able to diagnose and cap the underwater gusher. “Beyond that incident, we have clients that like to see what we’re doing on a daily basis,” Lawrence says.

Six Shooter Subsea Accumulator Module

Blowout preventer and testing device

One of the beauties of the Six Shooter is that
it can be charged beneath the surface by ROV assistance instead of having to be hauled up to the surface, which saves valuable time and money. The module provides essential testing to make sure that blowout preventers are running up to spec. “It’s another backup feature,” Lawrence says, “as there are a number of factors to consider.”


BOP Multiplex Control System

Blowout-prevention device

The BOP control systems, one of Oceaneering’s flagship products, employs microprocessor-based electronics to ensure disaster is avoided. In the event that something does go wrong, Oceaneering would call in a BOP intervention skid. This provides the means to close off and get control of a well. “The Oceaneering BOP control system features more redundancies than any other system, including dual power-supply circuits, fibre-optic and copper-wire communications, and master and slave controls,” Lawrence says.