Viper Subsea Pioneers Artificial Intelligence Technology

August 28, 2013

Viper Subsea is pioneering the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in subsea engineering with the launch of V-SENTINEL – a software tool that is able to monitor, and identify faults in, subsea control systems. The software system represents the first time AI has been applied to subsea control system technology.

V-SENTINEL has the ability to learn the difference between faulty and normal subsea control system performance and evaluate, if a fault is detected, the extent of the problem and ‘decide’ whether to raise an alarm.

The potential benefits of the software to operators are significant as V-SENTINEL is able to act as a proactive, early warning system to developing faults that human operatives would not be able to spot. Once applied to subsea control systems, V-SENTINEL offers constant and autonomous monitoring, which boosts the safety of the subsea control system without overloading the system operators in the central control room (CCR).

As a software tool, V-SENTINEL does not require any physical installation on subsea assets, and is able to flag up problems without the need for underwater inspections. The tool thereby drastically reduces operators’ production downtime that would otherwise be necessary to maintain subsea assets.

V-SENTINEL is the result of Viper Subsea’s two-year collaboration with Robert Gordon University (RGU) in Aberdeen and has been backed by the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and energy giant BP.

Neil Douglas, managing director of Viper Subsea, commented: “V-SENTINEL represents a breakthrough in subsea engineering because it can learn how to identify faults in specific subsea control systems and evaluate data in a proactive way.

“Subsea control systems are usually monitored by a mixture of human surveillance and computer data modelling. It is simply not possible for humans to monitor equipment constantly and data models are quite rigid tools. In contrast V-SENTINEL, offers a continuous and reliable vigil of subsea control systems and its ability to learn how a particular system should work means it can be trained to flag up problems peculiar to that system.

“This will lead to huge cost savings for operators in the form of reduced maintenance costs and the reduced need to carry out subsea interventions for repair.

“This new technology demonstrates how our significant investment into research and development is bringing new technology into commercial use to the significant benefit of operators. Our investment into V-SENTINEL also demonstrates our commitment to further growing our offering in subsea asset integrity management.”

V-SENTINEL will be demonstrated by Viper Subsea at the SPE Offshore Europe Conference in Aberdeen on 3-6 September 2013, stand 6A20.