Equinor saves millions using underwater drones

Published: June 4, 2020

One small ROV, developed by cluster member Blueye Robotics, is saving Equinor millions of NOK in inspection costs on the semi-submersible platform “Kristin”.

The seawater intake on the platform’s fire pumps must be inspected three to four times per year. Previously, the inspections were carried out by renting offshore vessels with large ROVs and specialists, with daily rates of about 250 000 NOK per day.

– Equinor saves one million NOK each time we don’t have to rent a large offshore vessel to do these inspections, says Platform Manager Narve Aske to the Norwegian newspaper Adresseavisen.

About a year ago, Equinor bought Blueye Robotics’ Pioneer drone for under 100 000 NOK to do the same job. The drone is operated from the platform deck, unhindered by strong winds and waves.

– They have used the drone many times for inspection, and demonstrated how simple it is to use, says Marketing Director Interim & Software Developer at Blueye Robotics Andreas Viggen, to the Norwegian magazine Teknisk Ukeblad.

The Pioneer can dive to 150 meters depth and is operated through a wire, which also transmits HD images and video. In this case, the seawater intakes are 21 meters below the surface and the drone is operated from a smartphone or tablet.

Earlier this year, Blueye Robotics launched the Blueye Pro, an upgraded version targeted at all professionals with a need for a flexible and easy to use tool to perform their inspections, without being dependent on divers or ROV pilots.

Blueye Robotics was founded in 2015 based on an idea from Erik Dyrkoren, who was working on the concept at MARINTEK and NTNU AMOS. Today the company has over 20 employees from all over the world with expertise in software, robotics, mechanical- and industrial design, underwater technology, graphic design and business development.

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