More offshore operators look set to deploy Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) for Life Of Field Inspection (LOFI) programs, according to Westwood Energy’s World AUV Market Forecast 2018-2022.
One reason is that as developments move to deeper water, the vessels and ROVs needed to inspect subsea infrastructure become more complex, which increases costs.
However, as Westwood analyst Ian McDonald pointed out, the benefits of using AUVs for field inspection go beyond cost savings. They can increase operational safety, lessen the environmental impact of inspection operations, and reduce the number of personnel needed at sea.
The report anticipates strong demand for AUVs through to 2022 as LOFI work scopes become increasingly prevalent and the technology advances.
Offshore reports that soon these vehicles could be constantly patrolling deepwater pipelines and infrastructure, remotely docking on subsea charging stations in-between inspections.
These docking stations should also facilitate downloading of the gathered data, leading to faster diagnosis of problems and thereby increasing the operational efficiency of any subsequent repair work.
Problems offshore could be identified earlier, McDonald concluded, and continuous data feeds analyzed quickly to ensure lengthened production, safely, and cost-effectively