Subsea Inspection Repair and Maintenance (IRM) services have traditionally been vessel-based, relying on Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) or Diver operations. The industry challenge to reduce costs is driving the development of new working practices, leveraging the latest in communications, system electrification and autonomous technologies to enhance underwater vehicle capability.
The initial focus on qualification of ROVs operated from shore based control rooms and high speed survey vehicles is now being followed by investigations into seabed resident hybrid vehicles. The targeted benefits are Cost reduction, enabling Digitalisation and condition based monitoring, reduced Environmental impact (eg. low carbon footprint), reduced HSE Risk and increased production efficiency.
This paper comments on the current status of development and presents an overview of the equipment and technologies (both existing and to be developed) required to be in place to deliver the service benefits targeted.