Kongsberg Mesotech M3 Sonar impresses in dual head Pipeline Profiling Survey

The Kongsberg Mesotech M3 Sonar® multibeam echosounder was recently engaged by McDermott to run a ROV pipeline profiling survey on the Ichthys LNG project. Located about 220 kilometres offshore Western Australia, Ichthys represents the largest discovery of hydrocarbon liquids in Australia in 40 years. The Ichthys LNG Project is currently in construction and is ranked among the most significant oil and gas projects in the world. The Ichthys LNG Project is effectively three mega-projects rolled into one, involving some of the largest offshore facilities in the industry, a state-of-the-art onshore processing facility and an 890 km pipeline uniting them for an operational life of at least 40 years.

The M3 Sonar® is highly suited to ROV operations as it is capable of both imaging and profiling, and has a small size for ease of installation. It is a major cost saving compared to larger, lower frequency ROV mounted multibeam systems. The M3 Sonar® is also easily interfaces to 3rd party acquisition packages. A pair of Kongsberg Mesotech M3 Sonars were supplied through the rental company Seatronics, and mounted on the ROV in dual head configuration. The M3 Sonars were then used to run a profiling survey over the LNG pipeline, which was logged in EIVA Naviscan acquisition software by the survey team.

The M3 Sonar® system performed very well and the following points were observed:

  • The resolution of the M3 Sonar ® was proven to be excellent quality for pipeline profiling surveys and the data was generally very clean
  • Large and small free spans were able to be detected with the M3 system
  • The M3 Sonar ® data file sizes are relatively small in size compared to other multibeam systems making them easier to handle and faster to process
  • Using the M3 Sonar ® could allow the ROV to move faster and thus use less vessel time to undertake pipeline profiling surveys
Along-track view of DTM.
DTM indicating flag placement at 1 metre spacing.