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ROV Pipeline Inspections

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Pipeline ROV Inspection

Guide to Pipeline ROV Inspections & Repairs in Subsea Environments with Invocean





An offshore oil rig, also referred to as an oil platform, epitomizes a colossal construction located offshore and dedicated to the extraction and refinement of natural gas and oil. These marine platforms operate in a manner akin to their onshore equivalents. However, they necessitate additional facilities to function efficiently within a marine environment, which include heliports to facilitate transportation, accommodation for crew members, and cranes to aid the movement of heavy equipment. Upon determining the existence of oil and gas reserves through a 3D seismic survey, wells are drilled several kilometres deep to facilitate extraction. Following this process, pipelines are strategically installed to transport the extracted oil and gas to processing units. The refined products are then distributed to various filling stations or shipped directly to consumers. Offshore oil and gas structures manifest in diverse types including fixed platforms, self-elevating platforms, semi-submersible platforms, drill ships, and drilling barges. Each structure is meticulously designed and constructed to cater to specific operational conditions, depth, and duration requirements.

The Essentiality of frequent Inspections of Offshore Oil Pipelines

There are pipelines still in service that are over 50 years old and these aged structures often develop weak points and minor leaks, which over time, may result in major pipeline failures, potentially leading to environmental hazards, public backlash, and safety compromises. Such aged infrastructures often develop weak points and minor leakages, which may escalate over time into significant pipeline failures. These failures present potential risks including environmental hazards, public disapproval, and safety breaches. Thus, the importance of regular inspections cannot be overstated as they help identify and mitigate these issues early on. The routine collection of pipeline inspection reports is instrumental in monitoring the condition of these assets and assists in economically forecasting routine repairs, thereby promoting operational efficiency, safety, and environmental protection.

Developing potential of ROV’s in Subsea Pipeline Inspection and Repair

Underwater remotely operated vehicles (ROV’s) are increasingly recognized as the most efficient solution for the inspection of submerged structures. These highly manoeuvrable machines possess the ability to dive considerably deeper than human divers, making them an invaluable tool for a variety of general, close, and detailed visual inspections. Depending on the depths and operational conditions, different classes of ROV’s may be deployed.

  • Work Class ROV’s are capable of operating at substantial depths, making them the ideal solution for deep-sea exploration and inspections. These large-scale machines require full topside power generation, potentially a Tether Management System (TMS) and launch and recovery systems or crane systems for deployment to depths of up to 3000msw.

  • Light Work Class ROV’s, though similar to their larger counterparts, are slightly smaller and designed for medium to deep-depth operations. These machines can be launched from vessels for exploratory missions or for carrying out repairs during inspections. These ROV’s are capable of accommodating various extensions such as laser scanners and specialized inspection devices and sensors to a depth of 1000msw.

  • Observation Class ROV’s are smaller in size, and some can be easily deployable by hand, and typically used for pre-dive checks and visual inspections. They can be equipped with manipulator arms, sonar and custom sensors for a variety of applications up to 1000msw.

  • Underwater Drones and Mini ROV’s, the smallest class, are typically used for simple inspections at shallow depths, such as pipe systems and submerged infrastructure. These lightweight and portable machines can operate at impressive depths of up to nearly 300msw.

Invocean offers a range of Navigation Software with thier partner EIVA to be incorporated with Invcoean's Underwater Drones and ROV’s, with the Observation Class being ideally suited for pipelines at depths of 300msw or less. These ROV’s strike an impressive balance between cost-effectiveness, quality of inspection footage, and portability. They serve as a highly economical tool for monitoring entire pipeline lengths, with operators conducting and recording inspection footage safely from the platform or a small suitable vessel of choice.

In addition to pipelines, Invocean ROV’s can contribute significantly to rig inspections. In potentially dangerous open-ocean conditions, they provide a swift, safe, and effective solution for underwater inspections. Common inspection areas include Hulls, Risers, Legs, Moonpool, Water, Cooling and Ballast Tanks, and sea chests.

Invocean ROV’s for Offshore Oil Pipeline ROV Inspection & Repair

Opting to purchase an Invocean ROV or Underwater Drone over consistently outsourcing pipeline inspections offers long-term cost benefits, operational control, and the opportunity for more frequent inspections. Ownership eliminates reliance on the schedules of external companies and precludes potential delays or challenges in emergency response. Conducting inspections in-house yields more insightful results due to familiarity with the structure.

Moreover, owning an Invocean ROV or Underwater Drone, particularly of the Observation Class, permits frequent inspections without the worry of escalating costs. Inspections can be conducted at any time, for as long or as short as required.

Invocean ROV’s can be configured to have a surface supplied unlimited power source or the ROV can be battery powered to allow for quick swap ROV batteries to ensure you can run without a vessel or permanent power source. The ROV or Underwater Drone’s are user-friendly, necessitate minimal setup time, and their innovative design minimizes the need for extensive maintenance training. Additionally, choosing Invocean ROV’s enhances personnel safety. Deploying ROV’s significantly reduces the need for human divers, thereby reducing the risk of accidents.

The Future of ROV’s in Pipeline Inspections and Repairs

The ROV and Underwater Drone technology landscape is rapidly evolving, with advancements in Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Computer Vision, and improvements in materials and manufacturing techniques. These enhancements are rendering ROV’s and Underwater Drones more capable, robust, energy-efficient, and cost-effective. Invocean is at the forefront of these advancements, continually enhancing the capabilities of its ROV’s and their partners ROV’s and Underwater Drone’s to offer superior services in ROV pipeline inspections and repairs. Our ROV’s, powered by advanced technology, are expected to be employed for a broader range of pipeline-related tasks, thereby augmenting the efficiency and effectiveness of pipeline maintenance and repair operations.

A pipeline ROV inspection spread using an Invocean ROV is a complex system that requires meticulous design and efficient operational procedures to ensure a successful inspection. The critical components of this system encompass the ROV with its sensors/tools, the support vessel, positioning systems, data acquisition, and processing systems. A quality assurance system should be applied throughout the project to ensure successful execution of an pipeline ROV inspection.

Invocean ROV’s and Underwater Drones offer a comprehensive, economical, and efficient solution for ROV pipeline inspections and repairs in subsea environments. Utilizing our ROV’s not only guarantees cost savings and improved safety but also contributes to the long-term sustainability of your operations. If you are considering enhancing your offshore inspections and reducing recurring costs, reach out to us for a customized quote today.

If you would like to know more or purchase an Underwater Drone or ROV for Pipeline Inspection, please contact us below or send an email to we will be more than happy to support your requirements.

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