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DisTec 2024

UDT 2024


Digital subsea: safety and security of maritime infrastructure

10 Apr 2024
DisTec Theatre

The National Subsea Centre (NSC) is a Centre of Research Excellence  through applying AI and digital technologies to industry challenges in the marine sector. Placed in Aberdeen at the heart of the UK offshore energy industry, NSC carries out industry-led research within a number of strategic research programmes aimed at accelerating the energy transition.

The North Sea has been at the heart of UK energy production for decades since the first oil and gas flowed in the 1960s. While the North Sea declines as a hydrocarbon basin, it remains of critical importance to energy security and at the same time is a major development area for offshore renewables, also of critical importance in developing new energy resources in line with decarbonisation targets and to secure energy independence for Western Europe. This energy transition is involving massive change to critical maritime infrastructure including offshore energy generation assets, pipelines and cables and also critical port infrastructure. With the drive to digitalisation and automation across all industry, increased sensorisation and computational power is inevitably leading to a highly digitalised subsea environment with substantial automation and autonomous operation. Infrastructure being deployed now is increasingly amenable to highly efficient and effective data-driven condition monitoring and predictive maintenance offering substantial prizes and disruptive opportunities to developing industries. At the same time infrastructure is more exposed to cyber and physical attack with greater potential for widespread and significant impact.

We will discuss our research in how a digital subsea can enhance and transform industry development and operational activity as well as look at security aspects, with a particular focus on digital twins.  Digital twins are of increasing interest as an efficient means of delivering intelligent condition monitoring and incident prevention.  Building and deploying digital twins can be viewed as a powerful way to deliver innovation to the subsea and maritime environments.  The reliability of digital twins is vitally dependent on the quality of data being obtained from physical systems and the precision of models built using these data.  The work carried out at NSC purports to enhance the data quality through integrating physical, simulated and synthetic data types.  In addition, data protection against DoS, poisoning and  other types of cyber-attacks is achieved by using AI-based counter-deception techniques.

John McCall, Director - National Subsea Centre
Andrey V. Petrovskiy, Cyber-Physical Systems theme leader - National Subsea Centre