How IO Works

Integrated operations in the offshore oil & gas industry sector is performance of tasks remotely or shared between local and remote locations

A complex IO reference

DroneAlmost any machine can be remote operated today provided that the equipment, people and communication have been prepared properly in advance. A typical example of a complex operation that is proven repeatedly are drones, that can monitor an area with very high precision and which is controlled from a place half the way around the earth. Drones are of course not relevant to offshore operations, but are only mentioned here to illustrate the ability to control and monitor a complex machine from far away by mainly use of satellite communication.

Integrated Operations (IO) offshore

Critical systems in oil and gas offshore IO are not controlled the same way as the above example, but require superior control systems through the use of mainly fiber optical cables. Offshore oil and gas, while still going through long term durability testing, is greatly proven. Norwegian oil production, and particularly Statoil have probably the most experience in oil and gas IO offshore.

IO of oil and gas fields that use fiber optical cable systems include:


  • Audio visual communication, management and coordination using onshore- /offshore- meeting rooms as well as independent computer to computer audiovisuals
  • Net meetings through VP
  • Direct monitoring and control of
    • Process Systems
    • Utility Systems
    • Safety Systems
    • Drilling Systems (not the least)
  • Emergency Shut Down activation, monitoring
  • Assisted start-up
  • Audi visual inspection of maintenance and repair, with local operators and remote experts
  • Entertainment and Town hall meetings

Subsea monitoring and control

  • Pipeline performance, control and monitoring
  • Umbilical performance, control and monitoring
  • Subsea production systems, control and monitoring
  • Subsea Operations – Installation and Intervention, monitoring

Overburden and Reservoir direct monitoring and control

  • Reservoir Performance
  • Reservoir 4D Surveys
  • Well performance


Achieving IO

Defining some main differences and similarities between local and IO

Integrated Operations are more about people and asset safety and people psychology than about technology. The platform technology is available or and in principle the same as is installed on most platforms these days, whether they are IO prepared or not. It is mainly a matter of sensors, computers and instruments controlled either from the onboard control room or from an onshore control center. The main difference in controlling from land is actually:

  • The psychology of controlling something far away where there are people who can come into harms way, while you yourself is out of harms way, at least physically
  • The interaction procedures in operating from two different locations
  • The time difference to react to very quick developments. Even if the signals travel with the speed of light, there is a slight ‘hesitation’ between the actual event or command and the reaction. The signals will either go the shortest way and typically reach the control center /platform within about 1/100th of a second, or go a redundancy route and take about 3/100th of a second. While this does not seem much, it is a significant factor in what systems can actually be controlled from the remote location.

IO in new development versus conversion of existing assets

Integrated Operations is easier to achieve when developing new offshore assets / fields as all systems can be designed for the purpose and all personnel can be trained to work the IO way, without the prejudice of ‘how things work now’ and breakup of existing social structures.

In many cases it may still be worth to perform limited or substantial IO on existing assets. In doing so Facilium use a program as outlined in the following headings:


  • Human Social Behavior – present and new organization
  • Operating procedures
  • Physical / technical safety in monitoring and control
  • Response and default shutdown modes
  • Human intervention offshore and onshore
  • Fail safe programmed intervention
  • Emergency Response


  • Technical preparations
  • Communication
  • Onshore facilities
  • Platform configurations / re-configurations
  • Intrinsically offshore safe systems

Business & Commercial Issues

  • Method Statement
  • Business Case
  • Contract Models and Sourcing
  • People & Organization
  • Proposed Terms for Study
  • Implementation Organization

Project Management

  • Recruitment and training programs
  • …..