Oceaneering, TotalEnergies make headway to sustainable commercial pipeline inspection

Oceaneering, TotalEnergies make headway in sustainable commercial pipeline inspection

U.S. technology company Oceaneering has carried out a pipeline inspection industrial pilot using an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) for TotalEnergies, as part of the French energy giant’s ambition to become a net-zero company.

Source: Oceaneering

The North Sea pilot using the Freedom AUV saw the inspection of over 120 kilometers of submarine pipelines, to add to 60 kilometers of nearshore pipelines inspected during an earlier demonstration for TotalEnergies.

The operations using the AUV showed a reduction in time and emissions of an estimated 50% compared to existing methods. According to Oceaneering, the capabilities observed during the pilot delivered on TotalEnergies’ ambition to reduce the environmental impact while assuring the integrity of submarine pipelines, contributing to the company’s ambition to be net zero by 2050.

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“TotalEnergies specifically designed the project to place challenging demands on Freedom to not only gather the required data, but also allow the Oceaneering team to demonstrate the step change in inspection performance,” said Alan Anderson, Subsea Robotics Product Manager at Oceaneering.

“Freedom’s ability to conduct rapid pipeline inspection reduces the time required to conduct these operations, providing a cost-effective solution for our customers that also contributes towards reducing CO2 emissions.”

The AUV is said to have demonstrated its capabilities for sustainable commercial pipeline inspection missions by detecting and tracking the pipeline while maintaining a defined flight envelope above the pipe, with the required data gathered in a single pass of the pipelines.

On completion, onboard automated data processing allowed the assessment of the mission effectiveness and the confirmation of pipeline condition in collaboration with TotalEnergies.

“The development of autonomous capabilities and the deployment of AUVs is an important part of reducing the impact of using large vessels to conduct Inspection, Maintenance, and Repair (IMR) activities,” said Andy Gower, R&D Subsea Robotics Project Lead at TotalEnergies.

“The capabilities of the Freedom AUV offer the opportunity to conduct wider ranging missions in both our current and future projects, including Offshore Wind, with the potential for integration with lighter uncrewed surface vessel support to reduce the environmental impact even further.”

The Freedom hybrid AUV/ROV system is a result of the long-term collaboration between Oceaneering, TotalEnergies and Chevron, dating back to 2014, with Equinor joining in 2019.

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