Floating Production Storage and Offloading (FPSO) and Floating Storage and Offloading (FSO) vessels are increasingly being used for production and storage for oil from offshore fields. A typical FPSO contains 20 km of internal safety critical welds that require detailed offshore inspection on a 5 year cycle. These welds are prone to fatigue cracking due to the drastic increase in loading; as the majority of FPSOs in the world are converted sea vessels, which are now carrying heavy oil that exceeds their original design loads. The FPSOs are currently carrying up to 1 million tonnes of oil per day. Over 2.5 billion tonnes of oil is used around the world every year, and 3 million tonnes is discharged every year into the oceans as a result of oil tanker and FPSO failures. Current methods of inspection of these welds have major drawbacks as they require the FPSOs to be dry docked, emptied and cleaned with consequent disruption to production and emptying and cleaning the FPSO. The scientific and technical objectives are: To overcome the above limitations by developing an amphibious autonomous robotic vehicle, which will enter the various tanks inside the FPSO, inspect for its structural integrity without having to empty and clean the FPSO. The economic objectives are a significant cost reduction in the inspection of FPSOs (of the order of 293 million Euros worldwide, 4 years after project end) from the elimination of the need to empty, clean and defume the FPSOs before inspection can take place. The wider societal objectives are an elimination of dangerous labour intensive and monotonous inspection tasks. The environmental objectives are a 5% reduction in oil leaks from storage vessels due to corrosion and/or cracking of the structural components.
Fields of science
- engineering and technologymechanical engineeringvehicle engineeringnaval engineeringsea vessels
- engineering and technologyenvironmental engineeringenergy and fuelsrenewable energyhydroelectricitymarine energywave power
- engineering and technologyelectrical engineering, electronic engineering, information engineeringelectronic engineeringsensors
- natural sciencesphysical sciencesacousticsultrasound
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