DW: Change of approach needed in offshore survey market

Offshore surveys are a necessary precursor for both oil and gas and renewable energy installations on the seafloor. However, current market conditions are forcing all parties in the supply chain to rethink their approach, said Douglas-Westwood in its DW Monday report.

Douglas-Westwood (DW), an energy intelligence group, noted that surveys (oceanographic, geotechnical, geophysical, etc.) are critical particularly for new projects in remote regions.

The energy group said in its report that it engaged with industry experts within the market on future strategy and operator expectations.

Feedback includes the obvious – “outprice competitors”, “meet highest standards”, “be flexible to operators needs” and “specialize” – but this is tough advice for those who are already attempting to accommodate all of these factors whilst trying to remain afloat, said DW.

DW further said that in the tech-heavy survey sector, utilization of new, innovative technologies is particularly appreciated by technical teams within an offshore client base, and continues to be a source of differentiation in a crowded marketplace.

The energy intelligence group stated that if widespread automation of offshore assets and survey tools can be accomplished, cost savings will be significant. Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (‘AUV’) developments are therefore likely to play an increasingly important part in the future of the offshore survey market, DW said.

DW’s World AUV Market Forecast shows a bright future for AUV demand, both for oil and gas and renewables.

The group’s report on Monday further noted that, as inertial navigation systems are refined, there will be a greater scope for new tools to be piloted subsea. New technologies will be used, such as the synthetic aperture sonar, seafloor drills, and sea drones which will be set to rejuvenate operational methods and provide efficiency gains to the wider survey market, said DW.

Douglas-Westwood ended the report by stating that fresh technology could significantly advance offshore survey operations, acting as a differentiator for smaller companies in a difficult market, however, the ability of tech-driven companies to both invest in R&D and successfully commercialize it through the downturn will have a major bearing on their future prospects.

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