Saipem adds ‘FlatFish’ underwater drone to boost monitoring, automatic inspections

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Saipem and Oil Spill Response Ltd. announced Monday that they have extended an existing partnership to include utilisation of Saipem’s FlatFish underwater drone robotic technology.

The drone will be used for environmental monitoring and inspection of asset integrity.

The existing contract between Saipem and OSRL provides for the storage, maintenance, training of personnel and readiness including the remote emergency response of OSRL’s Offset Installation Equipment (OIE), which is an industry first system designed to intervene in case of subsea well spills in shallow water (up to approximately 600 metres water depth), when direct vertical access is not possible.

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The expanded Services Agreement encompasses the deployment of FlatFish. The subsea drone was developed by Saipem’s centre of excellence for underwater technologies and robotics, SONSUB. OSRL said it is expanding the agreement as part of its commitment to continuous improvement of its services.

This strategy includes innovative third-party solutions that widen OSRL’s existing response toolbox and add value for its members.

OSRL said its Subsea Subscribers can now access advanced, drone-related capabilities for environmental monitoring.

On Saipem’s side, the Italian multinational will get to enlarge the fields of application of FlatFish, fundamentally expanding its commercialisation on a global scale. Saipem said it is engaged at the forefront of developing such drones and stands out on the Italian scene for its high technological maturity.

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FlatFish is part of Saipem’s Hydrone robotic development program, consisting of a series of subsea drones which can perform fully automatic inspection, surveillance, maintenance, and rescue operations efficiently, safely and in an environmentally friendly manner.

Saipem said that, in particular, FlatFish is able to autonomously perform complex inspections of subsea assets, thanks to the robotic technologies it incorporates from integrated artificial intelligence to advanced navigation functions. The company added that its hydrodynamic shape and electric propulsion allow the FlatFish to travel long distances in deep water with minimum energy expenditure and maximum respect for the environment. The activities related to submarine drones are headed by the Robotics and Industrialized Solutions business line and represent one of the development axes confirmed in the Strategic Plan 2022-2025 by Saipem.

Saipem operates in 70 countries around the world, including Guyana. It is one of ExxonMobil’s prime sub-contractors for the Stabroek Block developments. Recently, it was contracted to deliver a major subsea system for Guyana’s largest oil project to date, at Yellowtail.


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