Saab Seaeye underwater robot hits the water at ‘rig to reef’ project
The Saab Seaeye Falcon underwater robot is taking part in a project in Angola that will see the transformation of an oil platform into an artificial reef.
The Falcon is assisting in the survey and mapping of underwater components, including checking the wellhead, pipelines and the surrounding maritime environment.
Baseline environmental conditions are determined by taking water and sediment samples at several stations and at different depths, focusing on biological matter, namely zooplankton, phytoplankton, and benthos.
The platform is said to be the first in Africa to be decommissioned in a project led by the environmental quality services company EQS.
“By operating the Seaeye Falcon and all its related capabilities, EQS is supporting its aim to fulfill specific works in a safe and cost-effective manner delivering accurate and relevant information,” said chief technical officer at EQS, Carlos Rodrigues.
According to Saab Seaeye, significant marine growth already exists throughout the structure with abundant marine life already in the area for populating the rig when toppled on its side to become an artificial reef.
Once decommissioning is complete, a series of surveys will be scheduled to monitor the evolution of marine growth on the newly created reef.
The rig’s transformation is being undertaken under the auspices of The Ministry of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas of Angola.
The mission is said to involve a multi-disciplinary team from different companies and sectors, including marine biology, hydrographic surveys, quality inspectors and personnel specialized in survey equipment.
Future work includes clearing the area of fish nets, restoring platform signaling and marking, positioning signal buoys and confirmation of pipeline locations along with the surveys to monitor marine growth.