Seismic surveys for petroleum exploration utilizing towed streamers are typically performed line by line. Between the lines, a 180° turn of the complete towed gear is necessary. This operation is time consuming and thus expensive. There is evidence in the literature that the turn maneuver can be made more efficient by taking advantage of favorable sea currents .
In the present study, an autopilot algorithm is developed for performing efficient line-change maneuvers, taking into account sea current, if present. The algorithm controls the vessel path and speed during the turn, as well as the streamer bird forces. The algorithm has been developed and validated utilizing a proprietary towed seismic streamer simulator, employing realistic seismic streamer spreads.
Simulation results for ranges of sea current speeds and bearings are presented for two different seismic spread configurations. Turning times are compared to estimated traditional turning time ranges.