This blog was written by B. Chanwith and P. Naruchol of PTTEP.
PTT Exploration and Production Public Company Limited (PTTEP) is a flagship Thai oil and gas company with a mission to ensure a reliable source of energy supply and deliver sustainable values to all stakeholders. Due to the nature of the business, the majority of PTTEP operations are located offshore, adding to PTTEP’s duty to be a conscientious steward of the ocean. As part of its responsibility, PTTEP works to find new solutions to help protect the environment in which many of its employees spend their lives working.
As part of its commitment to improving sustainable development, PTTEP decided to create an “Ocean for Life” program with the goal of improving Thailand’s marine biodiversity and restoring marine resources. Of course, in order to develop effective policies and achieve its goals, the team needed to start with a solid understanding of the long-term oceanographic trends in the areas of interest--which is where Sofar Ocean came into the picture.
Through dialogue with various stakeholders and local authorities, the project team developed an approach they called the “Green Buoy for Blue Ocean” project. The goal was two fold: 1) To help generate clean energy from ocean waves and sunlight that would 2) power a series of oceanographic sensors, cameras, and communications systems that would start to provide baseline observations for the “Ocean for Life” program.
For their initial deployment, the team focused on monitoring coral reef bleaching at Koh Man Nai, Rayong province in Thailand. The team also wanted to ensure that the data was displayed in real-time so that any interested party would have access to contribute to the study. As the team was designing this “Green Buoy for Blue Ocean” system with local partners and academic institutions, they started to run into integration challenges due to the varying needs of the complex systems they were bringing online. While the team continued working on integrating their various devices, they also found that the Sofar Spotter with Smart Mooring capabilities served as the ideal platform for their baseline needs as it met most of their initial requirements--with the added benefit of providing real-time wave data.
PTTEP’s custom solution and the Sofar Spotter + Smart Mooring platform were deployed in March 2021. With support from the Sofar team, the team at PTTEP was able to ensure that hardware and software was configured as needed for the mission.
Since its deployment, the PTTEP team has been impressed with the Spotter + Smart Mooring platform’s performance. The team uses the Sofar devices to measure all aspects of wave data, including significant wave height and period, which have become vital for their site characterization studies in understanding and assessing wave energy potential. In combination with their existing wave energy converters, the team has been able to more clearly understand the real energy conversion efficiency of their power generation devices by comparing power outputs with actual live data recorded by the Spotter + Smart Mooring platform from the same location.
PTTEP is using this data and learnings from the deployment to develop an improved version of their “Green Buoys for Blue Ocean” prototype to deploy later this year. Although initially thought of as a backup device, the Spotter + Smart Mooring platform have also been an integral part of helping advance their understanding of wave energy potential at this specific site, and will be once again deployed in parallel with the next version of the Green Buoys hardware.