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Mar 06, 2015

Vessel tracking solutions cut costs, increase productivity for offshore drilling projects

Originally posted in PennEnergy: Vessel tracking system driving better fuel management for oil and gas giant

Offshore oil exploration and production platforms are resource-intensive projects that demand a constant flow of personnel, equipment, and fuel. Typically, drilling companies own or contract with a fleet of support vessels to serve these logistics needs. In the current environment of low oil prices and depressed margins, where project managers seek to streamline rig operating costs, oil companies are employing measures to increase productivity and efficiency of their logistics fleets.

One such measure has been outfitting logistics fleets with tracking systems that leverage satellite networks to send a ship’s GPS coordinates at regular and frequent intervals. Recently, PETRONAS, the national oil and gas company of Malaysia, deployed this tracking technology on 150 offshore logistics vessels that support their various drilling projects in the South China Sea. PETRONAS now receives position updates for all of its ships every 15 minutes.

Beyond simply seeing all ships on a map, there are a number of valuable applications of this data to offshore rig operators:

  • Fleet Efficiency: With a real-time picture of the locations of all support vessels, project managers can dispatch the proper and closest vessel able to perform a pick up/drop off mission, saving time and maximizing efficiency
  • Voyage and Fuel Management: Project managers can also establish speed limits and specified travel routes for its ships, and use the real-time tracking data to enforce them. In addition to improving safety, these measures keep fuel costs at low and predictable levels.
  • Safety and Security: If a vessel is involved in an accident or a piracy incident and its tracking device is disabled, its owner can immediately dispatch the appropriate search and rescue resources with exact knowledge of the vessel’s last reported position.

The Bottom Line

By investing in satellite-based maritime vessel tracking systems for their logistics fleets, offshore oil companies can both cut project costs and enhance the continuity of rig support operations.

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