ROV operations in today's tough market-place are a complex web of circumstances aimed at satisfying a number of inter-relating parameters These circumstances and parameters will be discussed in this chapter, as will the impact of the guidelines on the market-place.
The objective of the ROV contracting company is to undertake safe, efficient and cost-effective work programmes for the client and in so doing earn a reasonable return on what can only be described as a substantial capital investment By accepting the Code of Practice for ROV Operations, the industry is taking a major step forward in achieving the objective of self-regulatory safety policies That is not to say that without the Code of Practice the industry was operating without due consideration for safety, but with the Code of Practice the industry has set out a basic set of operating principles designed at ensuring the industry's excellent track record on safety is maintained and, if possible, improved
The main parameters In ROV operations are Safety, Efficiency and Cost-effectiveness
The priority level attached to each parameter depends very much on an individual's persuasion in life and his outlook on the ROV operation It is the sincere hope of the author, who was heavily involved in drafting the Code of Practice that the publication of the Code will educate a wide cross-section of the industry and make people more aware of some of the implications of decisions reached in isolation.
Safety efficiency and cost-effectiveness are all buzz words in a troubled market-place, and "all three are so intricately inter-related that it is extremely difficult to discuss one without the other In all responsible operations, safety is the first priority safety of the ROV personnel from the hazards of their own equipment, safety of the ROV personnel from the hazards of the place of operations, safety of associated personnel involved directly and indirectly with the ROV operations, and safety of equipment in the operation are only a few of the considerations to be taken account of. If we consider the multiplicity of tasks the average ROV operator is required to undertake in the pursuit of his work and add to this the concerns of the oil company's safety organization, it is easy to reach the conclusion that safety must be the highest priority and this is why the Code of Practice restricts itself to highlighting areas of concern rather than stamping an authoritarian message.
It may be mooted that the Code of Practice should have had more bite in its recommendations but, as highlighted in the introduction, it is not designed to remove the absolute need for the ROV contractor's vigilance to safety
Efficiency in ROV operations is a much debated point, with neither side ever able to win an argument that is based solely upon time to complete tasks It is the author's view that with the increasing reliability from ROV systems a client who is more acutely aware of the ROV capabilities, an industry which seeks to operate at greater depths, and a definite move to fund research and development into ROV-friendly subsea technology, the overall efficiency of ROV operations cannot fail to improve.