SWIG develops acoustic standard for subsea field developments to promote interoperability between systems and improve cost-effectiveness

Mike Baker, Head of Networks Practice at OTM recently presented a paper at the UCOMMS conference in Lerici, Italy on new industry efforts to develop a communications standard for the offshore energy community.

The Subsea Wireless Group (SWiG), an international oil and gas industry network comprising operators, installers, and technology companies, assessed a variety of potential use cases and possible routes to develop a common acoustic standard, culminating in the selection of the JANUS standard as a template. The paper explores typical use cases, the benefits of standardisation for technology developers and users, identification of gaps in the JANUS standard, and current progress in developing the SWiG acoustic standard.

Underwater acoustic communication has been used in offshore oil and gas for over half a century, initially supporting subsea acoustic positioning systems, and then used increasingly for remote control and data recovery. Most offshore subsea communication systems are tightly integrated with other instrumentation manufactured by specialist acoustics companies serving niche markets. They typically offer packaged products where their acoustic communication technologies can differentiate them from their competitors. As a result there has been little motivation for manufacturers to move towards standardisation.

With the expansion of subsea field developments, deep water intervention by Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs), and the increasing use of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) for automated inspection, vessel and vehicle operators need to equip their platforms with a growing range of acoustic systems to cover the various communication tasks.

The full paper has been published by IEEE in their IEEEXplore platform, you can also download the PDF below.

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