challenge. Marlin provides an opportunity to
proactively manage in real time all ongoing and
planned operations and avoid potential conflicts
where expensive assets are involved, and any
delay is extremely costly. In some cases, it
may even prevent accidents from occurring.
The addition of Marlin to the 4D solution allows seismic plans to be represented alongside
planned and actual activity for all operations in
the area, enabling effective survey line plan-
ning while minimizing operational disruption.
The authors found four components critical
to SIMOPS success and built them into the
offshore operations management system.
1. Centralized system with real-time data feeds
2. Visualization linking space and time
3. Infrastructure to communicate and collaborate, both onshore and offshore
4. Post mission playback and analysis for
In addition to the proprietary 4D planning
tools employed, a catalog of various SIMOPS
events was logged as acquisition of each survey approached. In addition, the operator
specified a priority list for all operations across
the field, which proved invaluable in reducing
confusion of the many possible combinations
of SIMOPS conflicts.
By the time the seismic vessel arrived on
site, SIMOPS schedules were under way and
personnel on other in-field operations were
aware of the seismic operations methods and
with real-time data feeds
Akin to modern air traffic control systems,
Marlin automatically integrates a variety of
data sources in real time, such as AIS (au-
tomatic identification system), GPS (global
positioning system), GIS (geographic informa-
tion system), radar, satellite, and MetOcean
data to create a common operational picture.
Amassing all this data in real time in a com-
mon database provides a more comprehensive
view of operations and dramatically improves
The software was used for day-to-day ac-
quisition planning and longer-term macro
Linking space and time
Marlin is the only commercially-available
system that combines spatial information to
visualize in-field operations with temporal
information to comprehend what is happening
over time in a calendar. The combination of
time and space improves situational awareness
by allowing users to see relationships more
obviously, such as when areas are restricted
or accessible and when other operations have
conflicting events. By time-sliding forward
through plans, dedicated SIMOPS operators
were aware whether events were on schedule
or not and rules-based monitoring automatically alerted them of potential conflicts.
communicate and collaborate
The offshore operations management system was installed in the field and onshore for
each survey with dedicated SIMOPS opera-
tors providing 24-hour support to proactively
manage operations, communicate with other
in-field operators, and update the system.
Integrated operational view depicting the real-time data inputs and operational plans in a time-sliding calendar view.
Main infield operations and their impact on seismic acquisition planning for one survey.
Operation Frequency Effect on Seismic Acquisition
FSO offloading ( 1) Every 3 days for 24 hrs Extended exclusion at FSO
FSO offloading ( 2) Every 6-7 days for 24 hrs Extended exclusion at FSO
Anchorage area With FSO tankers Extended line changes in that area
Saturation Diving 3 programs 4,000 m and 1,500 m exclusions, 10 km communication zone
Pipelay project: Diving,
large barges and ROV
4 phases, throughout
Exclusions up to 4,000 m. Operations moved across north
and east of seismic area, with short periods of downtime.
Required lines to be acquired in part, between work phases
Rig Move Once Reduced access to part of survey area
Vertical Seismic Profile 3 programs at c. 8 hours 4,000 m exclusion when acquiring data
Site Survey 2 weeks Minimal