Robotics/unmanned systems

Fugro Completes First Remotely Operated Subsea Inspection in the Middle East

The site survey and inspection of an offshore gas platform in UAE waters was executed entirely from an onshore remote operations center without sending personnel offshore.

Source: Fugro

Having commissioned the region’s first government-licensed uncrewed surface vessel (USV) in early 2023, Fugro has completed its first USV operation for a client in the Middle East. The Fugro Pegasus USV was mobilized for Chinese operator Atlantis in early June to perform a subsea survey and inspection of the UAQ3 platform within the Umm Al Quwain gas field.

This operation was executed from Fugro’s onshore remote operations center (ROC) in Dubai using a specialist team of mariners and surveyors. The Fugro Pegasus USV was equipped with a Blue Volta electric remotely operated vehicle, which was used to inspect the integrity of the platform’s structure and generate a detailed map of the surrounding seabed. The data collected was streamed to the ROC, allowing Atlantis to review the data in real time. This enabled the team to quickly identify and investigate areas of further interest to develop a comprehensive risk assessment for the client’s upcoming decommissioning program.

“This is a significant milestone for our Middle East business and demonstrates how novel technologies can play a key part in delivering our clients’ long-term safety, sustainability, and in-country value ambitions,” said Hannes Swiegers, Fugro’s director of inspection, repair, and maintenance services and remote operations for the Middle East and India. “Together with our clients, we are setting a new standard in geodata acquisition and analysis through continuous innovation, reducing time, risk, and carbon emissions.”

Thanks to their economical design and optimized fuel system, the USVs eliminate carbon emissions by 95% compared with conventional vessels and can spend up to 2 weeks at sea without refueling. Furthermore, the ability to remove personnel from the offshore environment significantly reduces health and safety risks and creates the opportunity to build a more localised and diversified workforce onshore.

“Fugro’s remote survey technology aligned seamlessly with our project’s HSEQ [health, safety, environment, and quality], technical goals and was the most attractive commercial choice,” said Patrick Boyce, drilling manager at Atlantis. “The Fugro Pegasus was able to mobilize on time, and, despite difficult sea conditions, it completed the full scope of work in 40% of the allotted time frame.”