DeepOcean and Aker BP make ‘pioneer’ USV agreement
Norwegian subsea services provider DeepOcean and oil and gas player Aker BP have entered into an agreement to “pioneer” the use of an unmanned surface vessel (USV) for subsea inspection, maintenance and repair (IMR) and survey work.
According to DeepOcean, the USV solution can reduce CO2 emissions with more than 90% compared to a conventional vessel when conducting subsea IMR operations.
The first USV is planned to be ready for offshore operations in 2025 when it will go on an eight-year charter agreement with DeepOcean from specialist provider USV AS.
“Once the USV is constructed, tested and ready for offshore operations, Aker BP look forward to utilising it on our subsea fields. It is a smart solution that enables us to deploy well-known subsea technologies, but without bringing a large vessel or an unnecessary amount of personnel offshore,” said Jarle Marius Solland, Aker BP’s Operations Manager – subsea execution and survey.
The 24-meter-long vessel will be remotely controlled from shore and during operations both the vessel crew and ROV operators will be co-located in the same remote operating center.
It will be equipped with a hybrid diesel-electric propulsion system and a battery package which is expected to allow the vessel to operate offshore for up to 30 days without charging or refuelling.
To increase the workable weather window, the USV will be equipped with a newly developed launch and recovery system that allows for work-class ROVs to be operated from relatively small vessels, DeepOcean said, adding that it will also be equipped with a work ROV that is capable of operating down to 1,500 meters water depth, plus a sizeable tool package to perform subsea operations.
Aker BP and DeepOcean already cooperate under a frame agreement for subsea IMR and survey work, and Aker BP has contributed to the development of the USV. The two companies share a long-term ambition to move 30% of IMR work from traditional vessels to USVs.
“We have collaborated with DeepOcean for many years on development of remotely controlled subsea operations, and unmanned operations is a natural next step of this development. Our technology strategy is rooted in a desire to reduce both emissions and costs. This is an agenda that DeepOcean shares,” said Torbjørg Opedal, VP Subsea at Aker BP.
The parties have a joint commitment to cooperate on adopting new technologies, with a focus on ‘Remote First’, whereby conventional vessel and tooling operations can be replaced by more efficient, innovative and sustainable solutions.
In May last year Aker BP appointed DeepOcean as the preferred supplier of subsea operations related to inspection, intervention, repair, survey and emergent operations together with associated onshore engineering and project management services.