Nauticus Robotics Inc. has sealed a contract with Shell plc for inspection services on a Shell subsea field development in the Gulf of Mexico.
Nauticus, a developer of ocean robots and artificial intelligence for autonomous services for offshore industries, said in a news release that the contract has the possibility for future inspection service projects. The contract value was not disclosed.
The contract follows Nauticus’ successful qualification phase for autonomous methods of subsea operations for inspection services, and acknowledges the company’s “successful transition to a fully operational offshore services provider”, according to the release.
Nauticus said its flagship autonomous subsea robot Aquanaut would serve as the project’s "workhorse" and perform noncontact and contact inspections across an extensive subsea complex. The project features Nauticus’ first-to-market method of autonomous subsea manipulation on live subsea assets in water depths exceeding 3,281 feet (1000 meters). A remote pilot will collaborate with Aquanaut during the operation through Nauticus’ acoustic communications link to ensure safe operations, the company noted.
The project also features what Shell has termed “a force multiplier” solution with multiple scopes of work to be executed simultaneously from a smaller class of service vessel that would not normally engage in inspection, maintenance, and repair (IMR) services, Nauticus said, adding that Aquanaut not needing an umbilical is a “key enabler of business case”.
“Nauticus now has visibility long long-term IMR services work for Shell and the opportunity to become the preferred supplier for this advanced work", Nauticus CEO Nicolaus Radford said.
In June, Nauticus signed a contract with Petrobras to deploy Aquanaut to support the oil major’s offshore activities, according to an earlier news release.
Aquanaut will be deployed in Petrobras’ Deepwater Production Field using supervised autonomy for infield inspection services. The contract involves approximately two months of subsea inspection time and is one of the largest awarded contracts of its kind to date worldwide, according to the release.
“A contract with another worldwide leading operator for Nauticus speaks to the state-of-the-art technologies of our autonomous robots as we further penetrate the global markets”, Radford said. “The market opportunity for Nauticus in offshore Brazil is significant, as it is one of the world's most active offshore energy basins; we are pleased to enter this market through a world-class operator. We competed through a rigorous tender process with many well-respected industry competitors to earn this business with Petrobras and eagerly await the deployment of our assets to validate our capabilities. We continue to build our robust pipeline of opportunities, giving us confidence to execute on our mission and deliver long-term value to shareholders”.
In August, Equinor ASA engaged Nauticus and its local business partner Stinger Technology AS for the deployment of Nauticus’ proprietary leak detection technology service. The pilot project addresses the need for improved leak detection technologies, intending to demonstrate and qualify Nauticus leak detection technology from autonomous robots, according to a separate news release.
“The project for Equinor highlights the versatility of our fleet offering and the increasing need for technologies like ours to address the many challenges for subsea operations in Norway and around the globe”, Radford said. “This milestone is yet another example of how we are at the forefront of this technical revolution and are changing how work is done in our precious oceans”.
Nauticus provides customers with data collection, analytics, and subsea manipulation capabilities to support and maintain assets while reducing their operational footprint, operating costs, and greenhouse gas emissions to improve offshore health, safety, and environmental exposure, according to the company.
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