This paper will describe the work done by KOP in the use of open standard systems to provide the control system backbone for the retrieval of large amounts of data from subsea control systems. The use of the OPC and TCP/IP standards allows the easy connection of almost any application to the subsea control system.


The current generations of subsea control systems tend to be closed systems. These systems are constrained by the difficulties of connecting in other systems such as downhole systems or platform control systems. Vital areas of the system are implemented using proprietary protocols and methods that are poorly defined and entirely non-standard within the subsea community. This means that during the implementation of a system, integration of various manufacturers' equipment leads to a large number of well identified problems. It also leads to problems when additional functionality needs to be added to a system following its commissioning.

It is becoming clear that, in future, there will need to be an increase in the amount of data that is retrieved from a subsea control system. The arrival of intelligent wells and the need for more information from reservoirs will have a large affect on the facilities that will need to be provided by any control and monitoring system.

In the design and building of any new control and monitoring systems, open architecture standards are vital to enable inter-connectivity between the subsea equipment and other systems. Open systems can be considered to be fundamental standards and technologies used in the general computing market. These open standards define how different systems interconnect and how the data should be transferred between systems. The standards have been used for many years within the automation and control industries but less so within a subsea control and monitoring system environment.

Theory and Definitions

The use of interface standards will allow applications to connect to the subsea control system with ease and data to be passed around the wider system and to other applications in a much more efficient way.

When the use of fibre optic technology or faster copper communications (increasing the speed of the line), exception based data retrieval (increasing the efficiency of the line) and the overall modularization of the system (increasing the flexibility of the system) are combined with the open standards, a control and monitoring system that can respond to future needs is produced.

The ideas that have driven this work are to implement technology that has been used successfully in other areas and to apply this to the subsea field. The technologies that are used should advance the connectivity and flexibility of the system such that benefits can be seen in the time to configure a user system, the simplification of the interfaces to other systems and the extension of functionality beyond that of current systems.

This work has principally investigated 2 open standard technologies.

  • TCP/IP (The Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol) is the protocol suite that drives the Internet.

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