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Saipem wins wireless subsea drone contract for Njord oil field from Equinor

Saipem has bagged a subsea service contract from Equinor for deploying a wireless underwater intervention drone and a remotely operated underwater vehicle (ROV) at the Njord oil field in the Norwegian Sea.

The Njord oil field, which was in production from 1997 to 2016, is slated to resume production next year and will use the services of Saipem’s Norway team. The offshore Norwegian field is expected to be in production until 2040.

The contract to Saipem, which is valued at around EUR 40 million, will make Equinor the first user of the advanced subsea technology.

Anders Opedal – executive vice president, Technology, Projects & Drilling at Equinor said: “This is a historic contract in the oil and gas industry. It is the first contract signed for the use of advanced wireless drone services.

“We are pleased to secure a contract that will bring subsea technology a big step forward. Equinor aims to help shape the development of this type of technology, which this contract underscores.”

Njord oil field - Saipem wins wireless subsea drone contract

Saipem wins wireless subsea drone contract for Njord oil field – Roberto Di Silvestro (left), head of Sonsub at Saipem, Giovanni Chiesa, head of subsea engineering and underwater technologies at Saipem, Sophie Hildebrand, chief technology officer Equinor, Hans Henrik Nygaard, procurement Equinor, and Gry Lindboe, manager procurement Equinor. Photo courtesy of Arne Reidar Mortensen/ Equinor ASA.

The subsea contract is for a period of 10 years and has five two-year options for further extension.

The new subsea technology from Saipem to be deployed at the Njord oil field will include the Hydrone-R underwater intervention drone and an all-electric work class ROV, called Hydrone-W.

The Hydrone-R drone may be autonomous below the Njord oil field for months between scheduled maintenance, while Hydrone-W will be connected to the platform like a conventional ROV.

Hydrone-R and Hydrone-W are electric and can be operated without the need of a surface vessel. As a result, the use of the advanced subsea technology will help in significant carbon reduction, said Equinor.

Additionally, the response time will be reduced and the operations will not depend on weather conditions, said the Norwegian oil and gas company.

Olav A. Godø – operations manager at Njord oil field said: “It is very exciting to be a pioneer for this type of technology offshore. Enabling personnel to plan and perform operations from shore rather than being flown offshore, this pathbreaking technology will also reduce costs.”

Equinor said that its docking station for data transmission and subsea induction charging will be installed under the Njord oil field and will be used by the underwater drone.

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