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17 July 2024

Fugro completes the Middle East’s first remotely operated subsea inspection using a low-carbon emission uncrewed surface vessel (USV)

By E247

Fugro completes the Middle East’s first remotely operated subsea inspection using a low-carbon emission uncrewed surface vessel (USV)
The site survey and inspection of an offshore gas platform in UAE waters was executed entirely from an onshore remote operations centre (ROC) using Fugro’s Blue Essence® technology without sending personnel offshore.  
Having commissioned the region’s first-ever government-licensed USV in early 2023, Fugro has successfully completed its first USV operation for a client in the Middle East. The Fugro Pegasus USV (part of the Blue Essence® fleet) was mobilised for Chinese operator Atlantis in early June to perform a subsea survey and inspection of the UAQ3 platform within the Umm Al Quwain gas field. 
This pioneering operation was executed from Fugro’s onshore remote operations centre (ROC) in Dubai using a specialist team of mariners and surveyors. The Fugro Pegasus USV was equipped with a Blue Volta® electric remotely operated vehicle (eROV), which was used to inspect the integrity of the platform’s structure and generate a detailed map of the surrounding seabed. The data collected was streamed to the ROC, allowing Atlantis to review the data in real-time during the operation. This enabled the team to quickly identify and investigate areas of further interest to develop a comprehensive risk assessment for the client’s upcoming decommissioning programme. 
The Blue Essence® USV fleet forms part of Fugro’s remote & autonomous operations programme to deliver market-leading Geo-data insights to its clients with improved efficiency, safety and sustainability. Thanks to their economical design and optimised fuel system, the USVs eliminate carbon emissions by 95% versus conventional vessels and can spend up to two weeks at sea without refuelling. Furthermore, the ability to remove personnel from the offshore environment significantly reduces health and safety risks and creates the opportunity to build a more localised and diversified workforce onshore.  
Patrick Boyce, Drilling Manager at Atlantis (UAQ) ltd, said: “Fugro’s remote survey technology aligned seamlessly with our projects HSEQ, technical goals and was the most attractive commercial choice. The Fugro Pegasus was able to mobilise on time and despite difficult sea conditions, it completed the full scope of work in 40% of the allotted time frame. The USV operation was managed by the technical team at the very impressive Fugro ROC. Communications with the USV were strong throughout and provided excellent imaging results. Of particular note was the evident expertise and professionalism of the Fugro team, who have obviously dedicated many months to honing their execution procedures.”
Hannes Swiegers, Fugro’s Director of IRM Services & Remote Operations for the Middle East and India, said: “This is a significant milestone for our Middle East business and demonstrates how novel technologies can play a key part in delivering our clients’ long-term safety, sustainability and in-country value (ICV) ambitions. Together with our clients, we are setting a new standard in Geo-data acquisition and analysis through continuous innovation, reducing unnecessary time, risk and carbon emissions. This new era of remote and autonomous technology will define the future of offshore operations in the energy sector and contribute towards a safer and more sustainable world.”