December 8, 2019

Ecopetrol will strengthen exploration in the Colombian Caribbean with submarine ‘drones’

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From bnamericas

For the first time in the country, Ecopetrol will employ a sophisticated technology of unmanned underwater gliders that will navigate an extensive area of the to acquire information related to physical-chemical variables of the ocean. 

These are four teams known as the ‘sea explorer’, a kind of submarine ‘drones’ of French origin that will be responsible for doing oceanographic and geochemical exploration at sea to gather support information in the search for hydrocarbons and in the generation of knowledge of the marine environment. 

The operation of the equipment will be in charge of the French firm Alseamar, designer and supplier of these specialized services. Underwater gliders will be put into operation between August and December, the most favorable weather conditions for sailing in the vicinity of the La Guajira peninsula. 

Since their appearance in early 2000, these unmanned systems have opened up new possibilities for ocean observation and monitoring. They have allowed to collect for weeks or months, data such as measurement of currents, temperature, salinity, pressure, concentrations of components such as dissolved oxygen, dissolved organic matter and chlorophyll, over large areas and at significant depths of the water column. 

The variables analyzed are important when drilling at sea, as they contribute to identify and reduce risks in oil operations. They also allow the detection of natural oil leaks, which are indicators of areas with high potential, and perform acoustic monitoring during seismic operations. Ecopetrol will have four gliders, two in operation and two in relief, which will sail in an area of 10,000 square kilometers (km2) in a water column up to 1000 meters deep. 

The information collected will nurture the oceanographic models that the Colombian Petroleum Institute, Ecopetrol’s innovation and technology center has been developing for more than two years. 

In addition to supporting oil operations, the information will contribute to the knowledge of the Colombian Caribbean Sea, providing key data to boost its use in other aspects of the maritime and scientific development of the country, in collaboration with DIMAR, the national maritime authority. 

The Caribbean is one of the focus areas of Ecopetrol for the search of new hydrocarbon reserves. The Company currently has six exploration and production blocks in the Colombian Caribbean: Fuerte Sur, Purple Angel, Tayrona, COL-5, GUAOFF1 and GUA OFF-10. 

This Ecopetrol release was published using machine translation.

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