TAQA Netherlands is the first oil and gas operator in Europe to successfully complete an offshore integrity inspections campaign with an uncrewed surface vessel (USV) and electrical remotely operated vehicle (ROV). The pilot project made use of Fugro’s uncrewed Fugro Orca and eROV Blue Volta.
Both the uncrewed Blue Essence vessel Fugro Orca and the Blue Volta, which was used for underwater inspections, were controlled from a remote onshore operations centre.
Less fuel, fewer people
The uncrewed integrity inspection of TAQA’s offshore assets and pipelines in the Dutch North Sea resulted in 95 per cent less CO2-emissions given that it only needed five per cent of the amount of fuel required compared to traditional methods.
These inspections are high-risk activities that would typically deploy around seventy people on board a vessel. However, by using this technology, the risk is significantly reduced.
It is projected that future use of uncrewed survey vessels could come with a cost saving for offshore operators in the order of ten per cent or more.
‘TAQA continues to pursue top quartile operations performance in the oil and gas business, maintaining safety, operational performance and protecting the integrity of the assets and workforce,’ says TAQA’s Netherlands Country Manager René Zwanepol. ‘This pilot project with Fugro showcases that drive and commitment by deploying best-in-class technologies that give higher quality pipeline data and improve safety and efficiency standards at our offshore sites.’
Different types of inspections
The inspection comprised a multibeam survey, depth of burial, visual inspection and cathodic protection assessment of pipelines between various offshore operated platforms.
The Blue Essence vessel and eROV also performed remote structural inspections of selected platforms comprising visual inspection, cathodic protection assessment and a scour survey using multibeam.
Lex Veerhuis, Commercial Manager USV and Remote Working at Fugro: ‘At the early stages of our USV development, it became clear that TAQA wanted to be the first in adopting this completely new way of working. Throughout this adoption process they have proven to be a strong partner and crucial to the success of this first project of its kind in Europe.’