Eni Norge is testing an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) designed to carry out subsea environmental monitoring along predetermined tracks.
The project is part of investment by Eni Norge in research and development linked to new and improved techniques for monitoring the marine environment.
Together with its subsidiary Tecnomare, Eni Norge completed a research and development project called CleanSea. One of the project's aims was to develop an AUV able to travel independently under water along predetermined tracks, carrying out sampling, an important part of monitoring the marine environment.
Image: Eni and Tecnomare's test AUV
"In contrast to traditional AUVs, this robot is equipped with multiple propellers", says Arild Jenssen, subsea engineer at Eni Norge.
"These enable it to stop, hold its position and adjust its movements as required and in response to sensor data. A further benefit is that we can control the robot without the aid of cables extending from land or a surface vessel. It is pre-programmed and simply carries out the job it is asked to do."
The robot is equipped with a high resolution video camera and lights, a methane sensor, a leakage detection hydrophone, and a fluorescence sensor to detect hydrocarbons and trace substances.
It will also map the sea floor and take water samples. The last of these functions was recently tested in Hammerfest harbour.
Eni Norge is also working on a technology able to utilize subsea systems controlled from land without support offshore.
"Our aim is to expand the existing network used by remotely-operated oil and gas wells with the help of an optical network, which transmits data at high speeds using light," says Jenssen.
Image: Eni Norge is developing the Goliat field, using a new FPSO. It will be the first producing oil field in the Barents Sea. Eni Norge is developing new technology as part of the project.
"This will make it possible to receive live images and data, provided that the vehicle is within range of a transmitter.
"At the moment this technology is at an early experimental stage, but it will open the door for future autonomous robots able to carry out maintenance on remotely-controlled fields."