TAQA, Fugro in Europe’s “First” Uncrewed Offshore Integrity Inspection

Oil and gas firm TAQA has partnered with the Dutch offshore survey company Fugro for a pilot project using uncrewed surface vessels for underwater inspections.

Fugro has completed its first fully remote offshore survey inspection in the North Sea for energy company TAQA using one of its Blue Essence® uncrewed surface vessels (USV) with Blue Volta® electric remotely operated vehicle (eROV).

The complex project, in Europe’s busiest part of the North Sea, involved the inspection of two platforms and over 40 kilometres of pipeline off the coast of the Netherlands.

The inspection investigated the mobility of the seabed, pipeline depth measurements, visual inspections and cathodic protection measurements within the 500-metre zone to ensure the integrity of TAQA’s assets. During operations, both Blue Essence® USV and Blue Volta® eROV were remotely controlled via satellite link by operatives at Fugro’s remote operations centres (ROC) in the Netherlands and Aberdeen. The acquired Geo-data was accessed in near real-time and used to inspect the offshore assets and surrounding seabed environment.

This project forms part of Fugro’s wider strategy towards more uncrewed operations for greater agility, sustainability and safer offshore inspections. Remote operations enable employees to work onshore in ROCs rather than in high-risk offshore environments, the carbon footprint of the USV is up to 95 % less than conventional support vessels and the client has access to near real-time data resulting in faster and more informed decision making.

TAQA’s Netherlands Country Manager René Zwanepol: “We are very pleased to have been able to cooperate with Fugro on this innovative approach and gain experience with a new technology, and to unlock the potential it holds for us. This campaign has proven to bring many benefits, especially environmental, safety and cost savings. It is definitely the way forward for us for future campaigns.”

Gordon Kennedy, Regional Director of Marine Asset Integrity at Fugro, said: “I’m so proud of the successful collaboration with TAQA and the Dutch authorities which made it possible to accomplish this survey. Fugro is committed to developing new remote and autonomous technologies that will accelerate the transition towards safer and cleaner inspections and more efficient Geo-data acquisition. In addition, USVs present an exciting solution for offshore wind farm monopile and cable inspections as well as quay walls and other underwater structures.”

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