AGR Group's Neptune was successfully launched at an offshore demonstration outside Bergen this week, with a number of major oil companies in attendance. The ROV system maps pipelines down to a depth of 6,000 meters.
"Neptune opens new markets and slashes the cost of pipeline mapping by two thirds. We were very satisfied with this week's demonstration. The Neptune system worked perfectly and was well received by customers taking part in the demonstration," says Åge Landro, Executive Vice President of AGR Group's Field Operations division.
AGR Group is the first company in the world to successfully combine an external, state-of-the-art ultrasound scanner that produces hi-def pictures in real time, with a small ROV. This makes it possible to inspect oil pipelines in deep seas. Until now, that job was done by divers, who require expensive support vessels and have clear depth limitations.
"Neptune can map pipeline corrosion while production is going at full capacity. You no longer have to shut off pipelines for inspection. This used to be a complex process involving the transfer of huge amounts of data from the deep and very costly pipeline shutdowns.
"Transporting analogue signals to the surface also posed challenges. When creating Neptune, we worked intensely on developing a safe way to transfer digital data to the surface in real time. That proved a significant challenge. It is very pleasing to be able to document that this is possible in depths down to 6,000 meters," says Åge Landro.
AGR Field Operations has experienced growing demand for external inspection of pipelines and wells the past year. Last fall, AGR developed Claycutter X, a new technology which efficiently excavates the sea bottom and which can also be used for removing soil away from old pipelines. AGR is now looking to market the Neptune Subsea Inspection system and Claycutter X as a package solution to potential customers.