JFMS survey clears Black Sea site of archaeological interest
James Fisher Marine Services (JFMS) completes deep-towed subsea survey project for LUKOIL.
Conducted offshore Romania, in the Black Sea at ~1000 m water depth, the deep-towed subsea survey covered an 8 x 6.13 km grid over three planned exploration wells in the Ex30 Trident Block, mobilising out of the port of Constanta.
Martin Dronfield, director, strategy and business development at JFMS, said:
“It is hugely satisfying to be able to support one of our customers to deliver project scopes more cost and time efficiently, which is something we deliver consistently. This is the first time JFMS has provided a deep-towed subsea survey but the success and acquired expertise means we can expand the survey options we provide.”
Being the site of a recent discovery of 60 shipwrecks that brought artefacts dating back to the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman periods to the surface for the first time in centuries, the Black Sea is a region of significant scientific interest globally.
Part of leading UK marine services company, James Fisher and Sons plc, JFMS delivered the scope on LUKOIL’s behalf in order to comply with new Romanian environmental law dictating that the Russian oil and gas company must perform an archaeological clearance survey. This looks to identify any potential archaeological targets, and where none remain, sanctions the area as being clear of any archaeological interest.
LUKOIL, and the local diving authorities, had little experience of a survey of this scale before, previously using a platform-based solution only suitable for smaller areas. Exploiting its expert survey knowledge, JFMS deployed a deep-towed solution that vastly reduced the operation time to within five days.
Andrey Kupriyanov, geology manager for LUKOIL, said:
“Based on my experience of work with James Fisher Marine Services, I consider it a successful company that can satisfy its customers and does anything it can to deliver to their best ability.”
JFMS procured the multi-purpose support vessel Ievoli Cobalt, mobilised with a towed side-scan sonar and sub-bottom profiler solution, together with a work-class remotely operated vehicle, Triton XLX WROV, for visual inspection of targets identified in the sonar data.
The survey required JFMS to identify any anomalies with dimensions exceeding one metre in all axes – using the side-scan sonar to search for surface targets and the sub-bottom profiler to detect sub-surface targets down to a depth of 6m.
Post-analysis of data revealed no targets of potential archaeological interest, meaning the Romanian authorities are now free to issue an Archaeological Discharge Certificate and LUKOIL may now proceed with drilling and construction operations in the field later this year.