Saipem’s Hydrone-R Achieves Important Milestone at Equinor’s Njford Field

(Image credit: Saipem)

Saipem’s underwater intervention drone Hydrone-R, currently operating on Equinor's Njord Field development project offshore Norway, has achieved the milestone for continuous subsea residency of 167 days.

The project, for which Saipem’s Hydrone-R is deployed, is part of a ten-year contract signed in 2019 with Equinor. The drone is tasked to carry out inspections and interventions on subsea assets, thus providing valuable information about potential hazards and ultimately improving the overall integrity and safety of Equinor’s subsea systems. This agreement was the first ever worldwide service contract for subsea drones signed in the offshore energy sector.

The Hydrone-R had been operating uninterruptedly for nearly six months, performing remotely operated works as well as autonomous missions. Saipem’s onshore control center, located in Stavanger, Norway, is fully supervising the operations via the communication link to the rig: Saipem’s drone pilots can either command the Hydrone-R or upload purposely designed missions onboard the vehicle for autonomous tasks.

The Hydrone-R is part of Saipem’s Hydrone Program, with a fleet of next-generation drones and advanced ancillary equipment. As further proof of Saipem’s commitment to continuous improvement and innovation, the Njord project will be the location of the imminent first launch of Hydrone-W, the full-electric heavy-duty subsea drone, bringing the electrification process of underwater robotics to the next level. The Hydrone-W will supplement Hydrone-R for tandem operations and simultaneous underwater works necessary to serve the entire Njord field. This makes the Hydrone Program a veritable game changer for the offshore energy industry, resulting in lower costs and a reduced carbon footprint while improving safety and operational efficiency.

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