Offshore energy is a diverse sector of the energy market comprised of more traditional sources such as oil & gas, as well as more modern sources, such as offshore wind and marine energy. What they all have in common is their location, often miles offshore, cut off from the modern conveniences of the mainland. Although less accessible, offshore energy production accounts for nearly 30% of crude oil, and for the first time ever, offshore wind is less expensive than on-shore wind. Offshore energy operations rely on big infrastructure such as oil rigs, floating platforms and a multitude of ships for working and transport. With so much floating infrastructure, underwater inspections are frequent, and fleets of Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) are often necessary to aid in the installation, maintenance and expansion offshore energy production.
Three types of ROVs are typically deployed across offshore energy sites. The first are work-class ROVs, these are the work horses. Large, expensive, complex; capable of performing skilled labor with the use of large manipulator arms and delivering heavy payloads. The second are observation-class ROVs which are smaller, more streamlined and outfitted with high resolution video cameras and underwater sensors to give operators a clear view of ship hulls, underwater cables, monopiles and other infrastructure which needs to be inspected. The third are AUVs (Autonomous Underwater Vehicles) which are designed for continuous operation without a tether; AUVs are programmed with a mission and then perform the task with no further human input.
Offshore observation-class ROVs carry many sensors and auxiliary devices making them capable of a wide range of mission types. The Endura NRG ROV includes 1080p HD Video streaming for real-time underwater inspections, a grabber arm to attach to inspection sites, an innovative new 360 degree rotating camera to look in any direction while driving into a current, high-intensity LED lights to illuminate inspection sites, and an optional side scanning sonar to view the ocean floor.
As offshore energy sites become more automated and better connected, AUVs will be expected to perform routine inspections without human intervention, thereby increasing the amount of data and intelligence being gathered about work sites while reducing the cost of repairs through preventative maintenance and automated reporting. Click here to learn more about ROVs for offshore energy
Photo Credit: Maritime Journal