Saipem has signed a subsea service contract with Equinor, worth 40 million Euro, using a wireless underwater intervention drone and an ROV.
The deal will see the use of Saipem’s Underwater Intervention Drone (UID) Hydrone-R and the all-electric Work Class ROV Hydrone-W in the Njord Field development, offshore Norway. This agreement is the first ever worldwide service contract for subsea drones signed in the offshore oil and gas industry.
Hydrone-R operations will start from 1Q 2020, immediately following completion of the endurance tests currently underway, while Hydrone-W will be delivered in 2021. The contract has a duration of 10 years with the option for an additional 10-year extension.
“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.
Lasting for ten years, the contract has five 2-year options for additional extension. The value of the fixed part of the contract is estimated at about EUR 40 million.
The new technology employs an underwater intervention drone (Hydrone-R) and an all-electric work class ROV (Hydrone-W). The drone may be autonomous below Njord for months between scheduled maintenance, whereas Hydrone-W will be connected to the platform like a traditional ROV. Both are electric and can be operated without a surface vessel. The use of this technology will therefore contribute to significant carbon reduction. In addition, the response time will be reduced. Furthermore, the operations will not be dependent on weather conditions.
"Today, we are making the history of subsea robotics: our visionary Hydrone program, launched back in 2015, has proven to perfectly match Equinor’s challenging requirements. Cooperation with one of the key players in the energy market by delivering our top-notch technology in the years to come is a very significant milestone for us”, said Francesco Racheli, COO of the E&C Offshore Division.