The increase in data provided by advanced surveillance systems, such as the new Subsea Monitoring and Control (SMC) platform (Amin et al 2004), allows innovative ways to monitor subsea systems and production operations extending from the sand-face to the host facilities. This enables productivity optimisation through closed loop actions based on factual real-time information. The combination of real-time data acquired from subsea monitoring systems with modelled and historical data, expert analysis and real-time productivity optimisation tools, provides the operator with detailed analysis of production and hardware performance. It allows interventions and production operations to be planned more efficiently, thereby reducing downtime, production loss and operating expenses. In the last few years, the industry has dramatically increased the number of intelligent seabed and downhole monitoring devices in the subsea industry with the introduction and acceptance of multiphase flow metering, fibre optic temperature and flow sensors, intelligent well flow control devices and similar systems. Exploration and production (E&P) companies have launched a number of initiatives to develop smart-field technologies, infrastructures, data visualisation and analysis applications. This paper will review the application of SMC as an enabler for the subsea surveillance solution and focus on the benefits of an open, transparent and high-speed subsea area network. The paper will demonstrate how the resulting improvements in subsystem interface engineering, system reliability and production optimisation could relate to economic gains in both capital expenditure (CAPEX) and operational expenditure (OPEX) phases of future subsea field developments.


For the purpose of this paper, a subsea surveillance system is defined as follows:

  • An infrastructure extending from the reservoir to the end users desk-that may be at the offshore host facility, client engineers? office or any third-party data management system

  • An infrastructure that is optimised by design to improve subsea production

  • An infrastructure that increases the volume, reliability and accuracy of reservoir, environment and equipment data

  • An infrastructure that provides a flexible, expandable and a highly adaptable remote monitoring subsea network

  • An infrastructure that creates a platform to accept advanced production optimisation software tools that provide event identification, predictive alarming and expert analysis

In 2002, Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) began a study into the digital oilfield of the future (DOFF) involving interviews with over 150 industry experts, as well as studies on the technologies available and the operator needs and business drivers (Severns 2004). To realise this vision, the study detailed a number of important capabilities that were key in the implementation of the DOFF including full monitoring of the asset from reservoir to process, the ability to view this data remotely, improved tools for data analysis and visualisation, and more advance and reliable monitoring and control systems. The DOFF study identified four main drivers for increasing value which could be gained from its implementation:

  • Enhanced recovery

  • Lower operating costs

  • Increased daily production

  • Reduction in capital costs

This content is only available via PDF.
You can access this article if you purchase or spend a download.