Robotics/unmanned systems

Nauticus Advances Relationship With Shell

A recently signed contract lines the company up to provide autonomous ocean robots for inspection of the oil giant’s subsea field developments in the Gulf of Mexico.

Source: Nauticus

Nauticus Robotics signed a service contract with Shell on 14 September that includes inspection services for Shell’s subsea field developments in the Gulf of Mexico.

The contract comes after a feasibility study and successful operational qualification phase for autonomous methods of subsea inspections. The contract acknowledges Nauticus’ successful transition to a fully operational offshore services provider.

“I am incredibly pleased with the progress the team has made in our collaboration with Shell and to embark on this new project with one of the world’s leading energy companies,” said Nicolaus Radford, CEO of Nauticus.

Aquanaut, Nauticus’ flagship autonomous subsea robot, will serve as the project’s workhorse and perform noncontact and contact inspections across an extensive subsea complex.

The project represents Nauticus’ first-to-market method of autonomous subsea manipulation on live subsea assets in water depths greater than 1000 m. A remote pilot will collaborate with Aquanaut during the operation through Nauticus’ acoustic communications link to ensure safe operations.

The project also features what Shell has termed “a force multiplier”—multiple scopes of work being executed simultaneously from a smaller class of service vessel that would not normally engage in inspection, maintenance, and repair (IMR) services. Nauticus not needing an umbilical to control Aquanaut is the key enabler.

“Nauticus now has visibility long-term IMR services work for Shell and the opportunity to become the preferred supplier for this advanced work,” Radford said. “We recognize the significance of this opportunity with Shell and look forward to the execution of this project work.”

Preparations to execute this project required Nauticus to mature its offshore health, safety, and environment solutions and operational expertise. The offshore operational design of the project also involved a collaborative effort with Shell’s marine assurance staff and robotics innovation program.