Description of the Proposed Paper:

The paper will be presented using a combination of live interactive graphics, and PowerPoint slides with embedded AVI movies. The paper will reflect some activities of an ongoing offshore project in the US GoM.

The "natural" way to visualize a complex subsea installation project from the procedural stage, through systems integration tests (SIT) and finally during the offshore installation sequence is preferably in 3 dimensions (3D). Project teams build real-scale models and execute a full system integration tests to visualize and hence better understand the nature and scale of the project through its various stages of development. It's more than a human comfort zone; it's a fast track to better understand and be able to gauge the interaction, the potential clashes and the relative distances between elements in the installation scene.

During the presentation we will demonstrate several innovative interactive methods for the simulation of procedural sequences in 3D for complex SCR, PLET and jumper installations. We will also move to the next stage, where this approach is used as part of the real-time installation operation offshore where it is integrated with real-time vessel and subsea equipment positioning. A particular focus will be given to the benefit of integrating 3D visualization with a true geographic coordinate system and the use of accurately dimensioned 3D models of subsea hardware. A further integration of 3D visualization with engineering software for full SCR catenary analysis and display will also be discussed and the benefits to the engineer and project teams reviewed.


Both 3D simulation and real-time 3D visualization (i.e., 4D) has been used recently in multiple offshore applications. The applications highlighted within this paper are primarily related to Construction Installation Services (CIS), System Concepts and Field Development Evaluation Selection (FDE). In summary the applications are:

  • Development of interactive 3D procedures in a dynamic graphic environment offering the viewer control and the ability to create 3D procedures linked to standard written procedures, related drawings, AVI movies and other related procedural documents. The final 3D procedure is delivered on a CD or published via a network server for true multi-user viewing on a standard PC.

  • Display of subsea field installation operations in 4D during SCR, PLET and jumper installations. This includes SIMOPS with multiple vessels, multiple ROVs and multiple down lines in the water column.

Results, Observations, and Conclusions

Recently, the use of 3D visualization has become an accepted method in everyday life ranging from 3D engineering, to graphics in education and for entertainment with computer games. Its power to depict the spatial relationships of physical objects and technical sequences is intuitive and unrivalled. These real benefits are now being used for complex offshore subsea installation projects on a global scale.

The use of real-time visualization for a subsea installation involves a combination of detailed engineering information, real-time offshore positioning technology, both surface and subsurface, all within the context of a real world coordinate frame. All this information is worked within a dynamic computer graphics environment.

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