VIDEO: Snake-like robots to reduce subsea inspection costs

Norwegian oil company Statoil, and its compatriot Kongsberg Maritime, have signed a deal with Eelume, to develop snake-like swimming robots that should significantly cut costs related to subsea inspection, maintenance and repair operations. 

According to a press statement by Statoil, NTNU and Sintef have conducted research on snake robotics for more than 10 years. Eelume is now developing a “disruptive” solution for underwater inspection and maintenance in the form of a swimming robot.

“Eelume is a good example of how new technology and innovation contributes to cost reduction. Instead of using large and expensive vessels for small jobs, we now introduce a flexible robot acting as a self going janitor on the seabed. To support smaller companies in bringing new technology to the market is an important part of our research portfolio”, says Statoil’ s Chief technology officer Elisabeth Birkeland Kvalheim.

Statoil says that idea is to let these robots do inspection and light intervention jobs on the seabed, reducing the use of large and expensive vessels.

With its snake-like form, the slender and flexible body of the Eelume robot provides access to confined areas that are difficult to access with existing technology, Statoil explains in the statement.

Eelume robots will be permanently installed on the seabed and will perform planned and on-demand inspections and interventions.

The solution can be installed on both existing and new fields where typical jobs include; visual inspection, cleaning, and adjusting valves and chokes. These jobs account for a large part of the total subsea inspection and intervention spend.