In a major breakthrough into the Chinese oil and gas industry, Saab Seaeye has sold two Panther Plus electric work ROVs to China's largest off-shore engineering company, COOEC. It follows an earlier sale of a Panther Plus and represents an expanding capability for COOEC who are part of China National Oil.
Of the two vehicles sold to the Chinese off-shore company, one will operate from a Tether Management System, whilst the other is free-swimming.
Technical support will come from Saab Seaeye's distributor in the region, Blue Whale Offshore Engineering Technology Company.
Operators worldwide favour the Seaeye Panther Plus because it offers them a work ROV at a lower cost than can be found in hydraulic work vehicles, with the advantage of lightweight handling, reduced deck space and simpler maintenance and repair routines.
The financial incentive for ROV operators to choose an electric work vehicle is strong. The cost of ownership is much lower than for hydraulic vehicles. The Panther Plus, for example, weighs less than a quarter of the hydraulic equivalent, and the deck space needed is 63 sq meters compared with 150 sq metres for a typical hydraulic system.
With less mass and smaller diameter umbilical the Panther Plus requires smaller launch and recovery systems and can be installed on smaller vessels. It requires a smaller number of crew and mobilisation time is less - typically 12 hours compared with 40 hours for a large hydraulic ROV.
It has smaller surface control equipment and transformers and needs a control container half the size of that used for an hydraulic vehicle. The 'plug-and-go' simplicity of the electric vehicle also makes it easier to operate and easier to maintain and repair.
Users have exploited the versatility of the Panther Plus by stretching the range of tasks it can perform. Hot stab connection and disconnection is now routinely carried out, along with dual point docking and free flying stab-plate connection. The ROV can cut wire rope and soft line up to 1.1/2 inch (38mm). It can carry out visual operations with high quality video systems. Perform pre and post drilling site survey. Undertake guidance and orientation for BOP and riser connection, depth and orientation of wellhead and BOP stack. It can also clean wellhead and bulls eyes, and change out AX wellhead gaskets.
The two ROVs supplied to the Chinese Offshore Engineering Company come rated to 1000 metres. Each is driven by ten DC brushless thrusters for fingertip manoeuvrability, with dual redundancy for security of operation. Each vehicle also comes fitted with dual manipulator arms; brush cleaning and water jetting tools; disc and cable cutting tools: a range of cameras and lights and sonar with bathymetric system.
Saab Seaeye is the largest manufacturer of electrically operated ROVs. Its parent company, Saab Underwater Systems, is a world leader in sensor systems, precision engagement systems, and remotely operated and autonomous underwater vehicles.