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SWLGS Luncheon Topics

Updated August 05, 2003

April 2001

Deepwater Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Experiences
Robert A. "Tony" George, C&C Technologies, Inc.


Abstract Summary: C & C Technologies, Inc. recognized the need in the survey industry for high-resolution, deep-water surveys of the seafloor to be conducted in a timelier and less costly fashion. Recognizing the limitations and drawbacks in the current technology, C & C began actively looking for an AUV survey platform in the summer of 1999. C & C investigated a number of potential suppliers of the technology and looked at the advantages and disadvantages of each. An order was placed with Kongsberg Simrad for the Hugin 3000 AUV in August of 1999.

Simrad agreed to work in tandem with C & C's system engineers in implementing the survey control system software that C & C developed while working on the ORCA program for the United States Navy. Specifications for the AUV were drafted from inquiries made to major oil and gas companies that would benefit from the technology. C & C personnel traveled to Norway and worked closely in the manufacturing and engineering of the system. The system was moved to the Gulf of Mexico for sea trials in September 2000.

This paper describes the operation and performance of the Hugin 3000 AUV. Geophysical systems comprising the payload include swath bathymetry, dual-frequency side scan sonar and "chirped" subbottom profiling. Data examples from each system are presented. Technical and time saving comparisons between the AUV and deep-tow systems are made.

Biographical Sketch: Robert A. "Tony" George is employed at C & C Technologies as the Geophysical Interpretation Manager. He supervises a team of marine geoscientists that specialize in the assessment of geohazards utilizing high-resolution, geophysical survey methods. Tony has worked on numerous deep-water projects for the oil and gas industry in the Gulf of Mexico and abroad on telecommunication projects.

Tony first entered the oil field in 1985 as a Junior Observer for a small, land seismic company (Inland Geophysical Company) operating in south Louisiana and Texas. He joined John E. Chance and Associates in 1988 as a Geophysical Operator and moved into an interpreting position two years later. He joined C & C Technologies in 1995 as a Geophysicist and was promoted to Senior Geophysicist two years later. He has been in his current management role since 1998.

Development of C & C's Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) began in August 1999. Tony worked with the system engineers in designing the AUV data formats used for storage, visualization and interpretation. He spent several weeks offshore this past fall, working with the system during the sea trials in the Gulf of Mexico.

Tony holds B.S. degrees in Geophysics ('85) from the University of Louisiana-Monroe and in Computer Science ('88) from Louisiana Tech University. He is a member of the AAPG, SEG and SWLGS.