Horizon Geosciences

Survey and geotechnical services

Horizon Geobay


The Horizon Geobay, an 87m DP2 vessel, was added to our fleet in 2013.

She is permanently mobilised with a heave compensated geotechnical drill rig with downhole sampling and CPT system mounted over a central moon pool and a 200kN seabed CPT system allowing her to drill boreholes and perform deep push seabed CPTs for foundation design and site characterisation.

A fully equipped offshore soil testing laboratory is integrated onto the vessel allowing fast turnaround of critical tests.

She is permanently mobilised with hydrographic and analogue geophysical survey spreads
allowing combined site surveys in remote locations to be performed from a single vessel with one mobilisation.

The vessel can also be mobilised with shallow sampling geotechnical equipment including a vibrocorer and Roson CPT; a digital 2D high resolution geophysical spread and a ROV as required.

The Horizon Geobay is primarily dedicated to the North Sea and Atlantic region and is owned and managed directly by Horizon allowing flexibility of scheduling and crew change patterns to maximise operational efficiency.

The vessel is OVID and IMCA audited and approved.



Horizon provides environmental monitoring and sampling services within a wide range of disciplines. Our combination of local expertise, a broad knowledge base and adherence to international standards and practices enables us to produce a detailed analysis of the environmental conditions at a survey location. This allows us to implement solutions and monitor strategies in a professional and practical manner. Horizon provides these environmental services for:

  • Comprehensive desktop based studies
  • Water quality sampling of physio-chemical and biological parameters
  • Analysis of sediment quality and biological / physical makeup
  • Mapping of species and habitat distributions
  • Data processing and analysis
  • Environmental Baseline Surveys (EBS)
  • Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA)

Sediment / water quality analysis

The significance of sediment and water quality analysis prevails once development has commenced in an area. Periodic tracking and comparison of a number of water quality parameters lends to a detailed understanding of the ongoing impacts of development works. Tracking of such information enables remediation or reduction strategies to be implemented early on, enabling a reduction in the long-term detrimental effects upon the environment. We tailor our sampling programs specifically to client requirements and needs, where focus can easily be put on physio-chemical analysis and/or biological studies including planktonic, nektonic and macro/ microfaunal species identification and classification.

Environmental monitoring

It is highly important that the pre-existing environmental characteristics of a potential site are determined prior to the commencement of any development works. Data collection techniques used to establish such characteristics include field surveys using photographic and/or video capture techniques and analysis of literature sources. Specific emphasis is required to identify any significant environments (i.e. spawning areas, endemic, rare or endangered species and/or habitats). Horizon can obtain and analyse tissue samples of certain bio-indicator species (i.e. barnacles/oysters) so as to perform eco-toxicological tests, ascertaining whether there is any concern related to environmental contamination.

Environmental baseline surveys and environmental impact assessments

Horizon combines all of its technical and scientific capabilities to develop comprehensive environmental baseline studies for our clients, with an overall aim of identifying and inventorying all known environmental conditions and characteristics that affect or could be affected by, proposed development projects.
We then use this information as the basis for environmental impact assessments, which detail and assess any alternatives in relation to processing, technology selection and/or reclamation and prognosis of the long-term state of the environment.



Horizon performs geophysical surveys to gather the detailed data required by design engineers and installers of offshore structures, subsea cables and pipelines. That data is used to:

  • Map seabed morphology and sub-seabed conditions
  • Profile geological features
  • Detect geohazards
  • Provide a seabed and sub-seabed reference for geotechnical investigations

We operate a fleet of owned and chartered vessels which are mobilised for geophysical surveys in the deep ocean, the continental shelf and the shallower nearshore areas.

Geophysical surveys are typically required for:

  • Site surveys for rigs or platforms
  • Windfarm developments
  • Route surveys for pipelines or cables
  • Geohazard and fault detection
  • High resolution seismic mapping
  • Geochemistry

Horizon also has a full range of geophysical survey equipment including:

  • Multi-beam and single-beam echo sounders
  • Analogue sub-bottom profilers (Pinger / Boomer / Sparker / CHIRP)
  • Digital sub-bottom profilers (/ 2DHR / UHR)
  • Digital side scan sonars
  • Magnetometer and gradiometers

Our geophysical survey vessels can also be equipped with:

  • Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs)
  • Environmental sampling equipment

The vessels feature on-board processing and reporting facilities which allows for seamless integration of the data sets which are processed, interpreted, reported and charted offshore.

Horizon’s deliverables are tailored to meet a  client’s specific requirements, and typically include hard and soft copies of:

  • Factual / interpretive and combined reports
  • AutoCAD / PDF charts
  • GIS deliverables to OGP/IMCA Seabed Survey Data Model (SSDM) or client specified geo-database schematic formats



Horizon performs hydrographic surveys to IHO standards to gather seabed and sub-seabed data required for navigational, engineering and design purposes. The data is used for:

  • Site characterisation
  • Chart the seafloor
  • Locate man-made and natural objects (debris, shipwrecks, UXO, subsea structures, coral reefs)
  • Pre / post engineering surveys
  • Pipeline and cable route surveys
  • Dredging support, port and harbour developments and coastal infrastructure

Our fleet of offshore and nearshore vessels combined with our airborne LiDAR service allows us to perform bathymetric and topographic surveys extending from the deep ocean, through the intertidal and nearshore areas through to onshore.

Hydrographic surveys are typically required for:

  • Oil and gas fields
  • Windfarm developments
  • Coastal and intertidal zones
  • Navigation
  • Ports and harbours
  • Environmentally sensitive areas
  • Geochemistry

These surveys may include data relevant to:

  • Pre-engineering requirements
  • Obstruction avoidance
  • Navigational charts
  • Environmental impact studies
  • Dredging support
  • Hazard surveys

We digitally plan all surveys and present this to our client prior to mobilisation ensuring that the client’s needs are fully addressed. Client specific charting may include bathymetric data correlated to geophysical (sub-bottom profiling and magnetometer) data. All charting is conducted utilizing industry leading software and the final charts produced are tailored to the client’s requirements. All charts can be produced in GIS and hard copy.

Charting standards

Horizon produces bathymetric charts to the following international standards:

  • IHO S44
  • IHO S57
  • General Instructions for Hydrographic Surveys (GIHS)
  • GIS deliverables to OGP/IMCA Seabed Survey Data Model (SSDM) or client’s specific geo-database schematic formats

Foundation Engineering


Horizon has a pool of experienced and qualified geologists and geotechnical engineers available to assist clients with site investigations; walkover and desktop studies; operational site supervision and soil and rock characterisation

Using state-of-the-art software and industry leading equipment, we have provided site characterisation and foundation assessments services for:

Offshore geotechnics

  • Piled and gravity foundations
  • Jack-up leg penetration analysis and punch-through assessments
  • Pipeline and cable routes

Coastal geotechnics

  • Breakwaters
  • Navigation channels
  • Berthing facility recommendations (wharf, jetty, breasting dolphin).
  • Dredging

Onshore geotechnics

  • Monitoring and interpretation of piezometers, inclinometers and gas standpipes
  • Geophysical surveying
  • Environmental remediation assessments
  • Slope stabilisation
  • Piled and gravity foundation assessments

Nearshore Geotechnics


Horizon performs detailed nearshore geotechnical soil investigations to support the design, engineering and installation of the following structures:

  • Jack-up rigs
  • Jackets and platforms
  • PLEM and SPMs
  • Wind turbines
  • Pipeline and cable routes
  • Trenching and dredging activities
  • Port developments
  • Bridges and causeways
  • LNG terminals

Nearshore geotechnical investigations are performed from our Self Elevating Platforms (SEPs) mobilised with a drilling rig with wire line drilling systems (PQ3 & Geobor S). These can be supplemented with a variety of Horizon’s in-situ sampling and testing equipment such as SPT, vane and pressure meter testing.

The SEPs and drilling units are easily transported by road or sea for rapid mobilisations. The following services are available from Horizon’s nearshore drilling spreads:

  • Undisturbed and disturbed soil sampling
  • Rock coring
  • SPT testing
  • In-situ vane testing
  • Pressure meter testing
  • In-field soil laboratory testing

Offshore Geotechnics


Horizon performs detailed offshore geotechnical investigations to support the design, engineering and installation of the following offshore structures:

  • Foundations for piled jackets, gravity based structures and FPSO
  • Jack-up rigs
  • Jackets and platforms
  • PLEM and SPMs
  • Wind Turbines
  • Pipeline and cable routes
  • Suction and drag anchors

We have a fleet of offshore drilling rigs which can be operated from our dedicated drill ships and can also be mobilised onto vessels of opportunity or client supplied vessels allowing worldwide operations.

All offshore geotechnical investigations are conducted from our heave compensated drilling rigs with a wire line system including downhole Wison-APB cone penetration testing (PCPT) and in-situ vane testing equipment. Mud mix and transfer systems control borehole stability while fully equipped offshore soil testing laboratories provide in-field analysis.

Our offshore geotechnical spreads are equipped for:

  • Undisturbed and disturbed soil sampling
  • Rock coring
  • Downhole PCPT testing
  • Seismic CPTs
  • Downhole vane testing
  • P-S logging
  • In-field soil laboratory testing
  • 200kN seabed CPT system
  • 40kN Roson seabed CPT system

Horizon’s offshore geotechnical capabilities are supported by our onshore team of experienced geologists and geotechnical engineers whom utilise the data gathered offshore and in the laboratory for detailed interpretation of the foundation design and engineering analysis.

We review the information gathered from offshore geotechnical investigations with desktop studies and geophysical data to supply an integrated report to the client.


Tuesday 24 May

Horizon recently provided ROV services for Valentine Marine Gulf Limited on an ONGC India project during a 2 month campaign in the Heera Field, Offshore Mumbai. The work was centred around an installation for a four legged jacket and topside. Horizon’s ROV was mobilised onto Valentine’s DLB 1600 barge for the work.

Horizon’s Inspection class ROV, the Seaeye Cougar XT, was selected for the job as manoeuvrability was key. Construction specific manipulators were also needed due to the level of internal inspection work required on the platforms. Quality video streaming was also important due to the challenging field conditions. Despite extremely poor visibility of 0.5 meters, the ROV supported the entire installation and performed well during complex operations such as internal anode counts and conductor monitoring with 100% recorded uptime throughout the campaign.

The ROV also carried out debris clearance during the pre and post ROV survey, Valentine Marine stated their appreciation for Horizon’s efforts during the project;

“Please extend my appreciation to your team as their performance, and that of Horizon’s ROV spread, was very good on this project. The ROV also saved us from having to recover debris and dropped objects.”

Sunday 15 May, 2016

Horizon Geosciences recently launched a bespoke, economical nearshore survey boat in tune with client demand. Weighing only 4 tonnes, the Horizon Echo is a flexible nearshore survey option, suited to a wide range of jobs, remote locations and is about to be deployed on her first project in Abu Dhabi.

Custom designed and built with client convenience and comfort in mind, Horizon Echo is equipped to carry out full geophysical shallow water surveys and also has the capacity to perform ROV Surveys. The boat has a hull mounted survey grade echosounder with additional bow and side mounts for geophysical equipment. With two winch powered towing davits on board, sidescan sonar and magnetometer can be easily deployed and recovered not to mention grab samplers and other water sampling equipment. Horizon Echo is an ideal choice for a full range of Geophysical and Environmental Surveys.

Her bespoke design, finish and multiple safety features are testament to the careful research carried out by Horizon Engineering Manager David Nunn;

“The feedback from clients often is that they need a modern purpose built nearshore survey boat that is compact, lightweight and easy to mobilise with capabilities of long range. This vessel has been designed to take large payloads of equipment and personnel with excellent stability (minimal roll) and easy steering at slow speeds.

The Echo is ideal for surveying in extreme shallow water; therefore the hull is highest grade strengthened marine aluminium which provides additional safety for all on board. “

Perfect for remote locations, Horizon Echo can be easily launched from land or from a mother-ship crane. Standard SOLAS safety features are included as well as twin diesel engines and generator, direct shaft and propeller, enclosed cabin, private WC, air conditioning, workstation for surveyors with AIS, GPS plotter and autopilot.

For more information and full spec sheet contact enquiries@horizon-geosciences.com

Corrosion is an electrochemical process that occurs in stages, if left untreated subsea infrastructure can become hazardous and restoration costly. Horizon’s CP Survey services enables you to assess important subsea assets and make informed maintenance decisions.

CP Surveys are commonly used if controlling the integrity of metal subsea assets is important. Environmental and time related factors cause corrosion and offshore and nearshore infrastructure and components deteriorate.

We offer clients a full package of services from data acquisition to processing and reporting with CP Survey options including;

  • ROV (proximity and contact)
  • Trailing Wire (continuous hardwire connection)

The cutting edge CP systems we use are considered to be the smallest in the world, compatible with any ROV and industrial communication protocols (RS485 and RS232). Producing very low noise data and highly accurate results, the CP System can be mobilised in less than an hour with no surface equipment required.

March 13, 2016

news-09032016-contentHorizon Geosciences’ revolutionary, 200kN Seabed CPT system was used recently with great success on a complex geotechnical site investigation for Vattenfall, offshore Denmark. Horizon’s scope of work centered around turbine locations in the North Sea windfarm as well as infield cable routes. The programme of work included downhole sampling and CPT testing, seismic CPT testing, pressuremeter testing, P-S Logging, vibrocoring and seabed CPTs. Project Manager for Vattenfall, Mr. Wolf-Eckart Semm confirmed;

“Works conducted included 7 combined geotechnical sampling boreholes. Seabed CPT testing in excess of 1300m was completed.”

Horizon’s digital CPT System is designed to achieve a continuous profile to depths in excess of 40m into the ground. Senior Project Manager for Horizon Geosciences Limited, Mr John Cudden highlighted the importance of this feature;

“Building an accurate ground model is crucial to the development of offshore wind farms, therefore a high volume of quality CPT data is needed, often within tight timescales. This is where Horizon’s 200kN CPT can surpass traditional drilling expectations in terms of production and cost.

Coupled with the ability to conduct seismic CPT tests with this seabed system, tied in to pressuremeter and borehole logging data from adjacent boreholes, we provide the data for the full determination of both lateral and horizontal engineering properties across the site.”

The 200kN Seabed CPT System can be deployed from any DP1 or DP2 vessel, the Horizon Geobay was assigned in this case due to her full Geophysical and Geotechnical spreads, containerized laboratory and capacity to operate in shallower waters. Project Manager for Vattenfall, Mr. Wolf-Eckart Semm concluded;

“The Horizon Geobay was used as a platform throughout the whole campaign and has proven to be a very capable DP2 vessel, especially as shallow water conditions were prevalent. All operations were conducted safely and in-line with HSE requirements with a very positive HSE attitude and awareness of safety shown by the entire crew.”

Visit Horizon Geosciences on stand H350 to find out more about this project, the Horizon Geobay and their continued work in the Renewables and Oil & Gas sectors in the North Sea and beyond.

March 9, 2016

news-09032016-contentHorizon Geosciences has announced the introduction of Cathodic Protection (CP) Surveys to its list of Survey services as demand for maintaining existing subsea assets rises in the oil and gas sector. CP Surveys are used to assess and control the integrity of metal subsea assets as environmental and time related factors can cause corrosion of important offshore and nearshore infrastructure and components.

A full package of services is being offered to Horizon’s clients, from data acquisition to processing and reporting with CP Survey options including ROV and Trailing Wire (proximity and contact). Horizon also confirmed they use a new, cutting edge CP system considered to be one of the smallest in the world.

Horizon Geosciences Project Manager Sean Lowe commented;

“The CP System we use is very compact and robust. Due to its size, the CP can be deployed in smaller ROV models. It’s compatible with any ROV and industrial communication protocols (RS485 and RS232). It produces very low noise data, highly accurate results and can be mobilized in less than an hour with no surface equipment required.”

Horizon recently completed its first CP Pipeline Survey for Halul Offshore Services nearshore, Qatar.
The Trailing Wire method was used, whereby teams of engineers made hard wire connections at test points along a beach, these ran to the water line where the trailing wire was connected. The Survey vessel ran 6 X 3KM survey lines individually towing a dummy fish with a AG/AGcl cell attached. Both the cell and Trailing Wire were connected to online data acquisition software to record the data, against the provided navigation. The results were then processed and presented to the client in a comprehensive report.

Horizon Geosciences Project Manager, Sean Lowe concluded;

“Corrosion is an electrochemical process that occurs in stages and if left untreated, subsea infrastructure can become hazardous and restoration costly. Horizon’s CP Survey services enable clients to assess important subsea assets and make informed maintenance decision. ”

Client: Inchcape Offshore Ltd
Year: 2015

Horizon Geosciences performed a combined geophysical and geotechnical investigation of the Inch Cape Offshore Windfarm for Inch Cape Offshore Limited (a joint venture company formed by Repsol Nuevas Energías UK Limited and EDP Renewables UK Limited).

The objective of the geophysical survey was to provide additional geophysical data to update the ground model and provide unexploded ordnance (UXO) clearance for the geotechnical works. The geotechnical investigation was to support the performance foundation engineering. Approximately 400km of geophysical survey lines were run acquiring bathymetric, sidescan sonar and sub-bottom data as well as magnetometer and gradiometer data.

A total of 11 locations were investigated by drilling boreholes up to 50m beneath seabed level. A program of cone penetration testing (CPT) and sampling was performed in the boreholes to provide in situ characteristics in addition to samples for laboratory testing. Less than 0.2% technical downtime was recorded during this phase of the project enabling maximum progress to be achieved during periods of workable weather.

John Reddish, Technical Manager at Repsol commented;

“On behalf of the Inch Cape team here at Repsol in Edinburgh, I want to express our thanks to everyone on board the Geobay . We are pleased with the transparent and proactive approach Horizon has taken, particularly in respect to safety matters.”

Client: GDF Suez
Year: 2014

Horizon Geosciences supported GDF Suez during a post-drilling environmental survey around two well-head locations in Block 4, Qatar. The objective was to present environmental data to the client for Ministry of Environment (MoE) drilling approval.

During the campaign, water and sediment samples were extracted and analysed for pollutant levels and indicators of biological content. Both small and large organisms were monitored using a variety of techniques from zooplankton trawling, benthic sieving for microscope identification and ROV video camera transect analysis.

Horizon Geosciences Environment Manager commented:

“Environmental Surveys are extremely important in the offshore industry and our department is experiencing increased demand for them. Studies like this highlight potential detrimental impacts to the marine environment and enable clients to make informed decisions.”

UAE-based Horizon Geosciences, a global leader in the provision of marine survey and geotechnical services, has commissioned an additional two Sonardyne GyroUSBL acoustic positioning systems to complement the systems they currently work with. The new equipment will be used to support subsea construction projects across the Middle East and establishes Horizon as the largest single user of GyroUSBL in the region.

Horizon breaks records by increasing the number of Sonardyne GyroUSBL acoustic positioning systems used in Middle East projects

Horizon has adopted GyroUSBL for its marine operations as it introduces new standards of efficiency and underwater positioning performance. Unlike conventional USBL (Ultra-Short BaseLine) systems, Sonardyne’s GyroUSBL can be commissioned without the need for a time-consuming calibration procedure to determine the alignment of the ship’s motion sensors to the acoustic transceiver prior to use. Its easy installation and setup features make it particularly suited for short-term use on vessels of opportunity.

The secret of GyroUSBL’s success comes from the integration of Sonardyne’s sixth generation acoustic transceiver technology and high grade inertial navigation sensor, Lodestar, in the same mechanical assembly. This unique combination removes many sources of USBL error including lever arm offsets, pole bending and ship flexing. It has also been proven to exceed accuracy and precision expectations, even when deployed on a temporary pole arrangement over the side of a vessel.

“We provide precise positioning for numerous activities offshore and often have to mobilise personnel and positioning equipment at short notice. GyroUSBL fits in perfectly with the unpredictable nature of our operations without compromising standards,” said Lance Hanson, Survey Projects Director at Horizon Geosciences. “We witnessed performance and operational gains soon after we began using GyroUSBL, so we decided to expand our deployment of the technology.”

Graeme Buchanan, Sales Manager for Sonardyne in Singapore said, “Key to getting the best performance of any traditional USBL system is making sure it’s correctly calibrated. With GyroUSBL we’ve been able to eliminate this step, allowing users to focus on getting straight to work. The decision by Horizon to increase the number of systems employed in the field means that more projects across the Middle East and beyond will benefit from GyroUSBL’s increased performance and cost saving benefits.”

For more information about GyroUSBL click here.

Client: McDermott Arabia Company Ltd
Year: 2014

Our requirement was to investigate 11 platform sites and a number of locations for buried cables and pipeline. With water depths at 5-12m, Horizon utilised the self-propelled jack-up platform (Aqua Jack 1) with a TD500 rig mobilised onto it. Boreholes were drilled to 60m (platform) and 10m (pipeline and cable) using Geobor S wireline rotary techniques to maximise recovery of the samples.

In order to expedite testing and results, a fully equipped containerised geotechnical testing laboratory was mobilised on a support vessel so that key tests could be carried out offshore and around the clock. In-house proprietary methodologies were used to provide timely, relevant pile capacity assessments and liquefaction analysis. Plaxis 3D was used to undertake precise modelling of mudmat settlement.

Grant Woodyard, Engineering Manager for Horizon said;

‘We used in-house proprietary methodologies to provide timely, relevant pile capacity assessments and liquefaction analysis‘

Horizon Geosciences today announced the addition of a new vessel to its fleet, primed for work in the North Sea and West Africa.

Horizon Geosciences Business Development Manager Matthew Suchley commented:

“Demand for Horizon Geosciences’ geophysical survey services has been such that we sought an additional specialist vessel to complement the Horizon Geobay.

We are delighted to announce the introduction of the Kommandor Stuart, a multi-disciplinary, geophysical survey vessel with a proven track record in the North Sea and Arctic.”

The Kommandor Stuart is available immediately for projects, more information on this vessel’s technical specifications can be found here.

Enquiries should be directed to enquiries@horizon-geosciences.com

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