Texas Spotlight

Real-Time Metocean Mooring (RTMM) ECP-Boya-01

Woods Hole Group successfully completed maintenance of the Real-Time Metocean Mooring (RTMM) ECP-Boya-01, deployed offshore Colombia in the Caribbean Sea. This system provides real-time measurements of atmospheric, meteorological, and oceanographic parameters to support characterization studies performed by ECOPETROL for future oil and gas production activities in the region. ECP-Boya-01 is the first of its kind installed in Colombia. The system consists of a 3-meter buoy that serves as a surface platform to support a meteorological tower. The tower hosts the meteorological and atmospheric measuring suite as well as telemetry equipment for satellite communications. The buoy includes an underwater bridle that holds the current measuring instrument (ADCP), and is attached to a mooring line. The mooring line is made of segments of chain and wire rope anchored to the ocean floor. The data collected by the system are stored on board and transmitted every 20 minutes via satellite to shore. These data are then processed, assembled, and quality-controlled at Woods Hole Group facilities. In addition, a website is populated and real-time displays are constructed for the use of ECOPETROL. While the overall data process is performed automatically, the operational system is monitored by qualified oceanographers and engineers at Woods Hole Group to ensure the high quality of the collected data and to remediate problems that may occur.

The system was installed in 2015. Related offshore operations included:

1. Recovery of the surface buoy
2. Deployment of a temporary float
3. Service of the surface buoy, involving tasks such as comprehensive inspection (and replacement/refurbishment if necessary) of probes, cables, cable connections, anodes, and structural elements. Also, removal of bio-fouling, application of anti-fouling paint (to diminish future growth after redeployment), replacement of expendable batteries, and download and backup of data stored on board.
4. Recovery of temporary float
5. Redeployment of the surface buoy

Woods Hole Group Field Team

Woods Hole Group personnel participating in the maintenance cruise were Eric Aronchick, Peter Collins, Rafael Ramos, and MinhChau Vu. Data provided by the system lend insight to extreme conditions in the area that will be used for design of offshore facilities. Data also reveal typical conditions, needed for operational guidance and planning offshore service activities. Of particular interest is the influence of seasonal trade winds or local waves, presenting challenging conditions for planning offshore construction and maintenance work.

Submitted by:

Rafael Ramos
Senior Oceanographer
Woods Hole Group
12705 South Kirkwood Road, Ste 100
Stafford, TX 77477

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