Incident free at sea: safety first for RPS offshore service visit

08 Aug 2019

Measuring offshore conditions in remote locations comes with a unique set of risks, but when it comes to completing MetOcean study programs - safety is always a top priority for RPS.


Demonstrating that oceanographic data need not come at the cost of safety, our approach to work offshore has resulted in an incident-free deployment and service visits for two long-term study locations off Australia’s north-west coast.

Working with Woodside, RPS is mid-way through two measurement campaigns that will provide a long-term view of current, temperature and turbidity conditions for proposed subsea pipeline infrastructure from Scarborough to Pluto and the proposed Browse to the North West Shelf (NWS) project.

“To develop offshore infrastructure in the safest, most reliable and economical way, you need to develop an understanding of how ocean conditions vary inter-annually and across the seasons. Site-specific measurements are usually conducted for at least 12 months,” explains RPS MetOcean General Manager for Australia Asia Pacific, Greg Bush.

“The Canarvon and Browse Basins are extremely remote and can be subject to harsh weather, including cyclones. To keep costs down and minimise the exposure time that people have to physically spend offshore, our surveys are designed so that only one service visit is required for an entire 12-month deployment.”

With a total 318 instruments in the water plus 45 floats and 187 mooring operations conducted, there was lot of activity in the field for the deployment and service visits.

"The risks are elevated when you are working at sea in remote locations, so a lot of work goes into making sure we can complete our work safely,” Greg says.

RPS is continually reviewing its procedures and looking for ways to enhance safety and quality processes when working offshore. This philosophy carries through everything we do, from the design and preparation of our equipment to the way we conduct our field operations.

Several RPS executives, including RPS Energy Chief Executive, John Tompson and Managing Director for Energy in Australia Asia Pacific, Murray Burling attended site visits at different times to show their support and advocate the message of getting the job done safely.

“The recent service visit was a great success from a technical perspective and to have a flawless safety record at the end of the site visits is proof that we’re doing things right."

About the Scarborough and Browse MetOcean survey projects

Successfully mobilised at the start of 2019, the Scarborough and Browse MetOcean surveys will provide reliable current and sediment data to Woodside, which will help inform the design of proposed subsea pipelines with a combined distance of over 1300 km.

The surveys feature the deployment of 78 RPS CM04 current meters, which are unique in several ways. Every instrument is calibrated in a flume tank prior to deployment and the meters provide 1-minute vector average currents sub-sampled at 30 Hz. An active acoustic path sensor (not acoustic backscatter) is used to ensure the data produced is completely free of noise.

RPS specialises in the measurement of internal waves and the proposed pipeline routes that constitute the study areas are known to be impacted by significant internal wave activity. The CM04’s one-minute sampling regime is ideally suited to monitoring such conditions and our team has refined techniques for site-specific assessment of the vertical and horizontal structure of high-frequency, near-seabed currents.

More about the Scarborough and the proposed Browse to NWS project MetOcean surveys can be found here.


Greg Bush

Greg Bush

General Manager T: +61 8 9486 2255 Email
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Murray Burling

Murray Burling

Managing Director - Energy, Australia Asia Pacific T: +61 8 9211 1111 Email
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