Strategic Review of Autonomous System Capability for Long-Term Decommissioning Monitoring

Lead Research Organisation: Scottish Association For Marine Science
Department Name: Scottish Association For Marine Science


STREAM will provide a comprehensive strategic review, looking at the capabilities of robotics and autonomous systems for Long-Term Monitoring (LTM) pre-decommissioning and in perpetuity. The main impacts from this project will be the embedment of new knowledge within the industry sector, taking account of the lessons learnt within the academic community regarding the true capabilities of autonomous systems for LTM. The industry project partners are SLR, BMT Cordah, Gardline, and Marine Scotland. They will steer the strategic review, providing context with regards to the current practise and data expectations of the decommissioning community. Reviewing our current technological capabilities, this project will, in-turn, identify the knowledge gaps that restrict the adoption of autonomous technology within the sector. This valuable outcome will inform policy on environmental regulation of decommissioning operations and promote cost effective solutions for in-perpetuity environmental monitoring by offshore operators. It will also assist steering future development of this technology within the sector.

Planned Impact

The main benefits from STREAM for stakeholders will be the embedment of new knowledge and strategic recommendations when considering autonomous systems for effective decommissioning monitoring strategies. STREAM will promote the practical application of research knowledge and infrastructure to industry, providing valuable insight into possible cost effective solutions to long-term environmental monitoring. The outcomes will help inform policy on environmental regulation operations and promote cost effective solutions for in-perpetuity environmental monitoring by offshore operators. As an additional outcome, STREAM will help identify technological and knowledge gaps that restrict the adoption of autonomous technology within the decommissioning sector and steer future development of robotic technology to support industry requirements.


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Description Automous marine robotics are not so useful for monitoring the environmental consequences of oil and gas decommissioning efforts. With the potential exception of long-term pipeline monitoring most issues (cuttings piles, leaching, jacket removal etc) is probably more cost effective to be carried from industry standard boats and ROVs
Exploitation Route Project not yet finished
Sectors Energy,Environment

Description There is a strong push to incorporate robotics into oil and gas decommissioning monitoring efforts. However this study has showed that most marine scientific robotic tools will not replace standard techniques except for pipeline monitoring.
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Energy
Impact Types Economic,Policy & public services

Description SLR Consulting Ltd (£11,000) 
Organisation Marine Scotland Science (MSS)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution A member of the SAMS research team visited the project partners, held additional consultations with key stakeholders to gather information regarding the 'state of requirement' within the decommissioning sector and identified current capability, as well as knowledge/technology gaps for long-term environmental post-decommissioning monitoring, and was supported through in-depth investigation of company websites providing autonomous platforms/sensors. With input from SAMS-based NAGB staff, the SAMS team undertook a review of the development and operation of the NAGB facility. In collaboration with the project partners, a case study for the long-term monitoring of pipelines was designed. SAMS wrote the outputs for the WP which could actually be undertaken
Collaborator Contribution Project partners provided in-house knowledge on the long-term environmental monitoring required post-decommissioning. Moreover, partners were instrumental in directing the research, and for introductions to key stakeholders.
Impact Final presentation at NERC workshop at Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh
Start Year 2017
Description Invited workshop presentation 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Update on project outcomes to workshop on decommissioning options for Oil and Gas and renewables infrastructures. Talk went some way to burst the hype-bubble surrounding the use of robotics to replace traditional sampling methods at sea. Details "Design for Decommissioning - Opportunities for Marine Science Workshop. Talk title "Capability of autonomous systems to match decommissioning monitoring requirements" presented by Dr Nienke van Geel
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018