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Shell and Saipem close partnerships to use AUV's in the offshore branch

Written by Paulo Nogueira
Published 27/02/2018 às 07:58

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Shell and Saipem power in autonomous vehicles

This equipment promises to revolutionize inspections in offshore activities and reduce operating costs with RVO's and support vessels by 50%. AUVs will revolutionize the oil and gas market

Shell and Saipem are now partners on new offshore inspection systems called AUV's (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle) Flatfish, which are autonomous underwater robots. In partnership with Senai Cimatec and which has been developed since 2014, this is a conceptual technology that the Click Petróleo Gás can observe closely at the Brasil Offshore 2017 event. Watch the video below to see how the system works:

The expectation is that in 2020, Flatfish will be operational and available on the market after some tests. It was developed by Shell in partnership with Senai, but Saipem will be responsible for commercialization.

An AUV has the function of inspecting submerged structural equipment with at least half the costs compared to traditional ROV's, which need a support vessel and an entire operational contingent that demand exorbitant costs. Just insert a schedule in Flatfish, and it will navigate the oceans autonomously, inspecting and collecting data without the need to do any kind of mobilization, it will simply return to the base with all the necessary data. It's good for people and the environment.

This project could be so revolutionary for the oil and gas sector that it even won the Technological Innovation award from the National Petroleum Agency (ANP). The companies involved in this project went to Shell with Senai-Cimatec, DFKI and GTR, with co-financing from EMBRAPII, also using resources from the ANP R&D clause and it was developed in Salvador, Bahia.

In these times of crisis, to remain competitive and financially sound, the order is to manage operating costs. Despite the price of a barrel of oil starting to rise, it is still far from what it once was. On the other side of the story, the ROV's modality can have a significant detriment, since the AUV's can carry out these activities without the need to move teams and offshore units to the intervention site.

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Paulo Nogueira

With a technical background, I worked in the offshore oil and gas market for a few years. Today, my team and I are dedicated to bringing information from the Brazilian energy sector and the world, always with credible and up-to-date sources.

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