Fugro was contracted in 2014 by Shell to provide a Fugro Wavescan Buoy system to support the life of field of the Stones development in the Gulf of Mexico. The companies have worked together to expand the monitoring system of the Shell Alcyone buoy system from a tool designed to satisfying regulatory compliance into a scientific platform for deep ocean research. In 2018, Fugro was contracted by the National Academies Gulf Research Program to expand the real-time monitoring of currents below the required 1000 meters to the full water depth of 2950 meters. Shell and Fugro invited universities and non-governmental partners to utilize the Alcyone buoy as a platform to make additional measurements varying from marine life monitoring to deep water column temperature readings to characterize thermocline variability.
Fugro's metocean support to the development of the Shell Stones field started with the installation of a moored buoy system prior to the arrival of the FPSO Turritella and has grown to provide an abundance of unique metocean data. The objective of this paper is to discuss the evolution of a metocean buoy originally designed for NTL compliance, into a collaborative platform for research, development and innovation between the Industry, Academia and Research. Among hurricane data, interesting metocean features captured in the data such as the Loop Current activity and Topographical Rossby Waves are presented.
Since its deployment in January 2015, the Shell Alcyone buoy is evolving into a pioneer platform for asset integrity, metocean monitoring and scientific collaboration. Fugro and Shell's partnership is looking to well beyond 2025 and both parties will continue to strive to learn as much as possible utilizing this unique opportunity and platform.