Saab Robot Helps Turn Rig to Reef

The Seaeye Falcon underwater robot is being used in the decommissioning and repurposing of an oil rig offshore Angola.

The Seaeye Falcon underwater robot was deployed for inspection of an abandoned platform that will become an artificial reef.
Source: Saab

The transformation of an oil platform into an artificial reef is underway in Angola. The platform is the first in Africa to be decommissioned in a project led by environmental quality services company EQS with a Saab Seaeye Falcon underwater robot deployed for the task.

“By operating the Seaeye Falcon and all its related capabilities, EQS is supporting its aim to fulfil specific works in a safe and cost-effective manner, delivering accurate and relevant information,” said Carlos Rodrigues, chief technical officer at EQS.

The Falcon is assisting in the survey and mapping of all underwater components, including checking the wellhead, pipelines, and surrounding maritime environment.

Baseline environmental conditions are determined by taking water and sediment samples at several stations and at different depths, focusing on biological matter, namely zooplankton, phytoplankton, and benthos.

Significant marine growth already exists throughout the structure, and abundant marine life in the area is ready to populate the rig when it is toppled on its side to become an artificial reef.

Once decommissioning is complete, a series of surveys will be scheduled to monitor the evolution of marine growth on the newly created reef.

EQS said it selected the Seaeye Falcon for its ability to handle an array of cameras, sensors, tooling, and complex data-gathering systems that include a digital multifrequency profiling sonar.

Having reached the end of its service life, the rig’s transformation into a reef is being undertaken under the auspices of Angola’s Ministry of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas.

The mission involves a multidisciplinary team from several companies and sectors, including marine biology, hydrographic surveys, quality inspectors, and personnel specialized in survey equipment such as the Falcon.

Work is planned to clear the area of fish nets, restore platform signaling and marking, position signal buoys, and confirm pipeline locations along with the surveys to monitor marine growth.