Swire conducts first autonomous offshore pipeline inspection

Norway-based subsea operations specialist Swire Seabed has completed the first autonomous inspection of offshore pipeline systems utilizing Kongsberg Maritime’s Hugin AUV for Equinor.

Image of pipeline on seabed acquired by AUV multi-beam echo sounder sensor

Swire said on Tuesday that the pipeline inspection was completed in October 2018.

The recent inspections by Swire Seabed were undertaken with the subsea vehicle in autonomous mode.

A small surface vessel accompanied the AUV, however, the vessel’s role was limited to providing positional updates to the vehicle and acting as a communications relay between the AUV and the control center at Swire Seabed’s office in Bergen.

The inspections were performed on three pipelines between Kollsnes and Troll A. In total, 180 kilometers of pipeline were inspected over two AUV dives.

The AUV, operated by Kongsberg, acquired bathymetrical, synthetic aperture sonar, and visual data as part of an operation to verify the continued integrity of the subsea pipelines. Acceptance criteria for data (quality, coverage, density, etc.) were identical to the criteria used for non-autonomous inspection methods.

Swire Seabed’s CEO, Arvid Pettersen, said: “We are excited about the successful completion of this project as it demonstrates the capability of Swire Seabed, together with our partners, to lead and develop technology that will fulfill and extend industry expectations and requirements for safer, more environmentally friendly and cost-efficient solutions while maintaining stringent safety and quality standards.”

Swire added that this inspection was a part of its ongoing work to develop an automated subsea inspection system, covering landfall to landfall.

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