TASER Living Lab

Living laboratories test ‘game-changing’ ways to maximise subsea equipment performance

About the project

Four ‘living laboratories’ have been designed to help Australia’s oil & gas industry tackle the sector-wide costs incurred from operating in Australia’s challenging warm water environment.

Created by some of Australia’s leading subsea researchers, operators and equipment engineers, these state-of-the-art facilities are busy testing dozens of innovative products and subsea coating technologies designed to help our energy resources sector tackle the multi-million-dollar challenge of equipment performance and reliability.

The oceanic conditions off our continent’s northern coastline are warmer, shallower and more nutrient-rich when compared to oil and gas centres located in the North Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, which are deeper and much colder.

More oxygen and more warmth in Australian waters mean marine growth and the formation of calcareous deposits (which form through precipitation of calcium carbonate from the seawater) occur at much faster rates — both of which are detrimental to subsea equipment.

For Australian operators is the fact that the vast majority of subsea equipment and offshore technology used in our oceans has been designed to operate in colder, deeper oceans. While the consequences of using equipment not qualified to operate in Australian waters might not be immediately apparent, the implications to equipment performance quickly manifest themselves.

The TASER project is distinguished by its unique ability to deploy living laboratories to be exposed to the identical marine conditions as offshore structures — something that sets it apart from any other industry effort to tackle equipment reliability and performance problems. To date, there has not been a comprehensive research exercise to test anti-fouling coatings and equipment in our waters.

The structure will act as a 'living laboratory' and will be equipped with various pieces of equipment and coating materials to assess the effectiveness of innovative coatings, materials and technologies against calcareous deposition and marine organism growth.

Over a three-year period, each vendor’s products will be tested against real-world conditions, with yearly monitoring and results validated by project partner The University of Western Australia.

"Problems stem from the conditions of the water we operate in here. We have a very harsh environment — one that is extremely onerous for subsea equipment. TASER will generate significant cost savings by improving subsea equipment reliability and design for Australian operations."

Adriana Botto, Principal Engineer — Subsea Integrity at Wood, and one of TASER's chief project leads

Tackling the huge costs of equipment reliability together


estimated savings per year across Australia by reducing interventions and vessel costs alone


test structures deployed in Australian waters

"NERA is a proud partner of the TASER project. We see the power and potential that can come from bringing operators and vendors together to share, collaborate and address industry challenges that affect our entire sector."

Miranda Taylor, NERA CEO

Australian solutions for Australian challenges


The TASER project will address the challenges and costs associated with equipment reliability. By reducing interventions and vessel costs, there is a potential to provide savings of up to $165 million per year across Australia by:

  • Reducing interventions and vessel costs (six months vessel time at approximately $200,000/day = $36 million across Australia)
  • Reducing the need to refurbish or purchase new equipment (estimated $20 million per year is spent in spares)
  • Maximising equipment reliability and availability and subsequent production uptime (six months of deferred production = $50 million)

    The size of the prize is massive, with industry forced to invest millions of dollars each year to inspect, repair or replace subsea equipment. It is estimated that reducing interventions and vessel costs alone have the potential to provide industry savings of up to $165 million per year across Australia.

    When costs to industry from loss of production and the related effects on global competitiveness are factored in, the impact of equipment reliability issues could escalate to hundreds of millions.

      Project Timeframe

      Current Status: Test structures have been installed and monitoring is ongoing.

      Start: January 2018

      End: June 2023


      Project Funding

      Total Project Cost: $2,640,000

      NERA: $492,000

      Industry: $2,146,000

      *Funding excludes GST