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Ted’s Deep Blue Adventures

InSource Solutions Marketing | December 21, 2020

In late October InSource got a call from TechnipFMC asking for some assistance on “Deep Blue”, one of the most advanced pipelay and construction vessels of the subsea industry and the flagship of the Technip Fleet.  TechnipFMC is an American-French global oil and gas company that provides complete project life cycle services for the energy industry.

The Deep Blue vessel combines the highest technology for reel-lay, J-lay and flexi-lay operations.  The Deep Blue’s pipe laying system is designed around a powerful tiltable tower, equipped with two quad track tensioners capable of sustaining 550 Te. What makes the Deep Blue unique is her ability to lay both flexible (up to 24” outer diameter) and rigid reeled lines (from 4” to 18” overall diameter, including PiP) down to 3,000 meters water depth (9,842 ft).  She supports Technip’s operations in the most demanding environments and offers clients unique and cost-effective solutions for the development of deep and ultra-Deep-water oil fields.

Onboard Deep Blue controlling the pipe laying operations  and other working equipment on the vessel is AVEVA’s InTouch HMI running on a Stratus fault tolerant server.  They also have a AVEVA Historian which is used to archive all critical data along with ACP Thinmanager to drive the operator stations throughout the ship.  Deep Blue has limited IT resources and needs to be self-sufficient, in that it’s usually hundreds of miles out on the world’s oceans.  InSource was called on because it appeared to be having communication problems between the software and the PLC’s on board the vessel.

Ted Fluehr, an InSource Senior System Consultant was called on to help diagnose the communication issues they were having.  Deep Blue was scheduled to port in Mobile Alabama for 2 days to refuel and resupply.

With a 2-day window of opportunity, and a COVID Protocol, Ted sprang into action!  Flying into Mobile Alabama, Ted got nestled into his hotel room with his favorite six-pack to spend the next 3 days in quarantine and remote working.  A COVID test and 1 further day of quarantine allowed him to board Deep Blue.

The Deep Blue ended up getting into port a half day late.  With about 24hrs to pinpoint the problem, Ted ended up upgrading AVEVA InTouch and did some reprogramming to help optimize communication between the software and the PLC’s.  Due to COVID, Ted had to spend a night on aboard and ended up getting a private tour of the incredible Pipe laying vessel.

When asked about the luxurious accommodations aboard the Deep Blue, Ted had this to say:

“Well, there was no buffet like you get on the Royal Caribbean ships and no bar, but it was amazing to witness the incredible operation and the complexity of what they do on that ship”.

Just another average day for Ted working at InSource.