Equinor Awards Saipem Pioneering Wireless Subsea Drone Contract
On behalf of Njord license, Saipem has been awarded a wireless subsea drone and ROV contract by Equinor. Equinor will become the first to use the technology that is expected to be completed in 2020.
“This is a historic contract in the oil and gas industry. It is the first contract signed for the use of advanced wireless drone services. We are pleased to secure a contract that will bring subsea technology a big step forward. Equinor aims to help shape the development of this type of technology, which this contract underscores,” says Anders Opedal, executive vice president, Technology, Projects & Drilling.
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When the Njord field will resume its production in 2020, services from the Norway branch of the Sapiem Limited will be employed. The ten-year contract has five 2-year options for additional extensions.
The estimated value of the fixed part of the contract is EUR 40 million. The requirements of the contract are that the personnel must be a permanent resident of Norway and must know how to speak Norwegian.
An underwater intervention drone (Hydrone-R) and an all-electric work class ROV (Hydrone-W) is employed by the new technology. While the drone might be autonomous, the Hydrone-W, like a traditional ROV, will be connected to the platform. Both can be operated without a surface vessel and are electric. This technology will help in reducing carbon significantly. Not only will there be a reduction in the response time but also the operation will not depend on the weather conditions.
“It is very exciting to be a pioneer for this type of technology offshore. Enabling personnel to plan and perform operations from shore rather than being flown offshore, this path-breaking technology will also reduce costs,” says Olav A. Godø, operations manager, Njord.
The proprietary docking station of Equinor that is for the transmission of data and subsea induction charging will installed below Njord and will be used by the underwater drone.