Fugro completes fully remote offshore North Sea survey inspection
Fugro has completed its first fully remote offshore survey inspection in the North Sea for energy company TAQA. The project utilized the Blue Essence uncrewed surface vessel (USV) and the Blue Volta electric remotely operated vehicle (eROV). The inspection took place in the busiest part of the North Sea and involved the examination of two platforms and over 40 kilometres of pipeline off the coast of the Netherlands.
The inspection focused on evaluating the mobility of the seabed, measuring the depth of the pipeline, conducting visual inspections and checking cathodic protection within the 500-metre zone. Both the Blue Essence USV and Blue Volta eROV were remotely controlled from Fugro’s remote operations centres (ROCs) in the Netherlands and Aberdeen via satellite link. The geodata acquired was accessed in near real time and used to inspect the offshore assets and surrounding seabed environment, ensuring the integrity of TAQA’s assets.
Towards more uncrewed operations
This project forms part of Fugro’s wider strategy towards more uncrewed operations for greater agility and 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 stated: “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 geodata 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.”