SANDNES, Norway – The ONS committee has awarded Blue Logic the ONS Innovation Award 2020 for the SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) category, for the company’s open-standard subsea docking station for underwater vehicles.
Blue Logic’s seabed-installed docking station allows permanent deployment of underwater vehicles or drones by providing access to power for charging and communications for upload/download of inspection and assignment data.
Numerous oil companies view long-term or permanent deployment underwater drones as beneficial, as its lessens the risk to personnel, who can operate the vehicles from shore.
In addition, it reduces the carbon footprint and cost of subsea operations, with no support vessel needed on site.
A key feature of the subsea docking station is Blue Logic’s wireless connectors, which provide power and data transmission underwater. Development also involved collaborations with numerous companies and organizations on the docking station’s requirements and specifications in order to achieve a universal result, compatible with different vehicles.
Stig Magnar Lura, general manager at Blue Logic, said: “Equinor has been with us at the front throughout this process. Together, we have jointly developed specifications and requirements.
“By working together in this completely new way, where the focus has been on developing open solutions with a common interface, we believe we have succeeded in a universal solution which all subsea vehicles will be able to utilize.”
Helge Sverre Eide, the company’s head of Business Development, added that Equinor also co-opted some of its subcontractors to contribute to the program, helping to speed up the testing process.
He added: “We have also worked closely with the drone suppliers – Eelume, SAAB, Oceaneering, and Saipem – and held several full-day workshops in order to refine this solution to ensure its functional for the various players.”
And as an API committee member, the company has worked toward API 17H and with the DeepStar program in the US to ensure that its open innovation meets recognized industry standards.
Multiple docking stations have been designed and constructed close to the company’s base in the Stavanger region, with trials at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology underwater test facility in Trondheimsfjorden, near Trondheim, SAAB in Sweden, and by Oceaneering at the Tau Autonomy Center near Stavanger.
Another is due to head to Italy where Saipem will verify its functionality with its underwater vehicles.
Since introducing the first underwater inductive product in 2005. Blue Logic has developed several more inductive products that can make use of and support the docking station, including torque tools for valves, fiber optic cable couplers, inductive couplers for drone tools, and subsea batteries.