Deep sea simulation / by Jim L. Hansen

Highly sophisticated equipment has to be moved into the deep when oil and gas are to be recovered from thousands of meters below seabed. On board the new rig Deepsea Nordkapp, simulator technology is now used to increase the safety and efficiency of underwater operations.

The brand new drilrig “Deepsea Nordkapp” of Moss CS-60 design is the newcomer in the Oddfjell Drilling fleet. The rig is built to carry out operations in the Barents Sea, and over the next two years, it will be drilling for Aker BP. Seaonics has delivered an electrically powered winch with operator stations and system containers. The winch is used to place subsea installations in connection with wellheads. Along with the delivery there is also a simulator that will be used for training of operators.

“The customer wanted a simulator because the winch itself is used relatively few times a year, and then with expensive equipment involved. Operators must therefore be able to train on handling in periods between actual winch operations. This is why the simulator is made as a mobile device and placed onboard, says Kai Johnsen Product Manager Digital Solutions at Seaonics, who has led the development of the simulator.

Morild Interaktive is behind the visualization and wire physics in the simulator. The simulator on board Deepsea Nordkapp is a collaborative project where Seaonics simulates the control system and winch, which then connects to the visualization from Morild Interaktiv. “Seaonics sends signals from their simulation models that represent the handling of the equipment to our visual world, where our solutions visualize this in a extremely realistic way in real time. We have used the same approach for many clients over the years”, says CEO Olav Vorren in Morild Interaktiv. Vorren adds that the company also provides complete solutions, where they perform both simulation and visualization.

The simulator itself consists of a wheeled rack with simulator, hardware for driving the control system, control panel for the winch, radio control that is often used on deck, and an instructor station in the form of a tablet. Basically, a duplicate setup in relation to the control system for the winch itself.

The instructor of the simulator can trigger situations that the operator must respond to. The instructor application is web-based and runs on a tablet and communicates with the simulator via WiFi. The instructor can choose from four pre-defined scenarios that allow one to practice the most critical phases of lowering and lifting. In addition, the instructor can initiate several sets of error codes, ranging from overheating to cable breaks that the operator must be able to handle after a given procedure.

Video capture from simulator