Photo: FlatFish subsea drone (Archive). Courtesy of Saipem

Saipem adds subsea drone to deal with Oil Spill Response Limited

Saipem and Oil Spill Response Limited (OSRL) have signed an extension of their existing services agreement to include the provision of Saipem’s FlatFish underwater drone for environmental monitoring and inspection of asset integrity.

The existing contract between the parties provides for the storage, maintenance, training of personnel and readiness including the remote emergency response of the Offset Installation Equipment (OIE), a system designed to intervene in case of subsea well spills in water depths of up to approximately 600 meters when direct vertical access is not possible.

The expanded agreement encompasses the deployment of the FlatFish subsea drone developed by Sonsub for offshore tasks, including, among others, survey, leakage detection, through water column plume and dispersant concentration monitoring, environmental assessment, and patrolling.

According to Saipem, the move is part of OSRL’s strategy which includes innovative third-party solutions that widen its existing response toolbox and add value for its members.

In addition, the agreement is said to allow Saipem to enlarge the fields of application of FlatFish, making a step towards its commercialization on a global scale.

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FlatFish is part of Saipem’s Hydrone robotic development program, consisting of a series of subsea drones which are able to perform fully automatic inspection, surveillance, maintenance and rescue operations.

The company recently won a contract by Shell and Petrobras for the utilisation of FlatFish in two pilot projects involving the inspection campaigns of two ultra-deepwater fields offshore Brazil, operated by the two energy companies.

The pilots aim to qualify the drone to execute unmanned, vessel-free inspections to support the monitoring and maintenance campaigns of the subsea infrastructures.

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