Specialised in robotic unmanned systems for very shallow to ultra-deep water applications, ECA Group produces technological solutions to meet all demands of the constantly evolving Subsea market. In the last 20 years rapid advancement in unmanned technology has unlocked enormous opportunities within this area.
Subsea developments have steadily increased with systems operating in 3000 metres of water. The principle driver for subsea growth is an increasing trend towards deepwater oil and gas and the emerging deep sea mining developments brought about by the continued high oil prices, and the need to replace maturing shallow water basins as well as, the increasing demand for precious metals and marine renewable energy. Unmanned system activity in this market is growing fast.
Since designing the first unmanned underwater vehicle capable of diving to 6,000m and carrying out photographic and bathymetric survey of the seabed ECA Group’s highly capable technicians have designed and manufactured a wide range of unmanned systems which fulfil a substantial part of subsea work. An important aspect of these systems is that they can be tailored and manufactured to the customer’s exact specifications, and are fully supported by an efficient customer service facility.
Their subsea applications range from survey to inspections to mining to tracking of telecommunications and power cables. Their high tech design ensures that they meet the challenges of both the shallow waters of an offshore wind farm as well as the deep water of the deepest oil and gas fields.
Among the solutions proposed by ECA Group, are autonomous and specifically designed systems that carry out a variety of inspection tasks from ultra-deep offshore oilfields to inspection of pipelines, risers and mooring lines. Their main advantages are that they offer greater flexibility, are cost effective and operate faster.
As a result of increased capability, AUVs are more frequently being used for challenging subsea applications. Missions requiring long endurance are best suited for these technologies and include pipeline monitoring, site surveying and environmental surveying. Attributes including long endurance and low operating costs are significant to the oil and gas industry and resulted in the systems being considered for a wide range of applications.
These compliment the remotely operated systems which can be configured with different sensors ranging from cameras, sonar, video, to manipulators to spotlights used for inspection, diver-support tasks, subsea search, object identification, subsea intervention, manipulation and salvage operations. They are further complemented by the multi-purpose hybrid ROVs and crawlers which conduct close inspection and cleaning operations.
A key factor in this development has been ECA Group’s provision of advance simulation training for all their subsea systems and activity.
ECA Group’s unmanned systems offer major technological advances that are at the forefront of the Subsea market. Many of these advances are in software and subsystems rather than the actual vehicle. The potential cost effectiveness of automated systems in particular is the main reason the subsea and especially the oil and gas industry is gravitating toward the technology. Unlike ROVs that require a vessel to hold station during operations autonomous systems are free to roam the ocean and are command controlled by a computer-based command and control system making them a global ocean survey and inspection platform. Given this technological progress ECA Group has much to offer this exciting area of industry.