TAQA Netherlands partners with Fugro for pilot project utilising uncrewed surface vessels for underwater inspections.
New technology ensures 95% reduction in CO2 emissions, cost savings and safer conditions for underwater inspections
TAQA Netherlands is the first oil and gas operator in Europe to successfully complete an offshore integrity inspections campaign using an uncrewed surface vessel (USV) and electrical remotely operated vehicle (ROV).
The pilot project between TAQA and the developer of remote and autonomous survey solutions Fugro was an opportunity to trial the use of its new uncrewed Blue Essence® vessel ‘Fugro Orca’ and the accompanying eROV ‘Blue Volta®’ for underwater inspections. Both were controlled from a remote onshore operations centre.
The uncrewed integrity inspection of TAQA’s offshore assets and pipelines in the Dutch North Sea resulted in 95% less CO₂-emissions given that it only needed 5% of the amount of fuel required compared to traditional methods.
These inspections are high-risk activities that would typically deploy around 70 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 10% or more.
TAQA’s Netherlands Country Manager René Zwanepol, commented: “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. 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.”
The inspection comprised a multibeam survey, depth of burial, visual inspection and cathodic protection assessment of pipelines between various offshore operated platforms.
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, said: “TAQA and Fugro have had a long relationship regarding the use of innovation to make asset integrity services safer, more efficient and more sustainable. 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.”