The offshore industry is continuously trying to improve efficiency and safety by reducing downtime and increasing workability. Especially with current low oil prices this is more relevant than ever.
Reducing downtime and increasing workability is typically achieved by compensating operations, such as hoisting, drilling or pipe laying, for the motions of the vessel. This is achieved by measuring motions using a sensor called a ‘motion reference unit’ or MRU.
The MRU sensor is a crucial part in the compensation of the motions. Since it is very hard to accurately measure translational motions these sensors are very costly, varying in price from 10-60 thousand euros.
It is not easily concluded from the sensor specifications what the performance in a real life offshore application would be and choosing the right sensor for your application is not trivial. Most companies have invested time and money in this but tend to keep this knowledge to themselves as a ‘company secret’. There are no publicly available comparative studies that quantitatively compare the most common sensors.
An openly available comparative study based on real life experiments would benefit the offshore industry as a whole by providing insight in the performance of the sensors in specific real life applications. The suppliers of the most commonly used MRU’s (Kongsberg, SBG, SMC, Octans) have agreed to provide a sensor for this experiment.
- Research literature on MRU technology and offshore motion compensation applications.
- Define a definition of ‘sensor performance’ in relation to typical offshore applications.
- Conduct experiments that quantify sensor performance and publish the result in an openly available white paper.