Woodside has signed an agreement with Australia-based Blue Ocean Monitoring (BOM) to invest in seismic data acquisition firm Blue Ocean Seismic Services (BOSS).

As per the terms of the deal, Woodside will own a 35% stake in BOSS, which is developing a new solution that is capable of making ocean bottom seismic data acquisition more accessible.

The deal, however, is subject to satisfaction of precedent conditions. Financial terms of the deal were undisclosed.

Woodside sustainability executive vice-president Shaun Gregory said that the deal continued Woodside’s support of Western Australian technology companies.

Gregory added: “The use of AUVs is a priority in our technology strategy, and has global applications. We see ocean bottom monitoring playing an important role in helping us to understand more complex geological settings.”

New development focuses on AUVs instead of ROVs for seismic data acquisition

Woodside noted that seismic data plays a major role in understanding geological formations and the nature of hydrocarbon resources contained within these formations.

Woodside and BOM have developed the concept that focuses on using autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) instead of remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) to capture and record sound waves for seismic data acquisition.

The AUVs are small submarines are designed for self-deployment to the ocean floor and reposition multiple times. This will improve efficiencies and lower costs, Woodside said.

Blue Ocean Monitoring group managing director Simon Illingworth said: “It has been a pleasure collaborating with Woodside over the last two years on this project.

“Woodside is committed to investing in innovative and disruptive technologies in the oil and gas industry, whilst striving to continuously improve safety. We look forward to continuing to develop this promising technology with Woodside’s support.”

The project participants are planning to focus on starting small sea trials this year, ahead of the first seismic test early next year.

Last month, Woodside Energy and its partner Mitsui E&P have started production from the Greater Enfield Project offshore Western Australia using the Ngujima-Yin floating production storage and offloading vessel (Ngujima-Yin FPSO).

The Greater Enfield Project is estimated to produce gross 2P reserves of 69 million barrels of oil equivalent (MMboe) from the three oil reserves.

Woodside is the operator of the project with a stake of 60% with Mitsui E&P Australia holding the remaining 40% stake.