Nordic Unmanned and Equinor to commence offshore drone operations
The launch of offshore operations follows a three-week intensive onshore test phase in which the Nordic Unmanned team successfully validated the preparedness for offshore logistics services.
Nordic Unmanned has been selected for the second phase of the Equinor Drone Offshore Logistics contract in Norway. The offshore activities will begin on August 15 from the Gullfaks C offshore site in the North Sea. The operation represents a significant milestone for the drone industry and Equinor, since it is the first operator to use drones for offshore logistical services.
The launch of offshore operations follows a three-week intensive onshore test phase in which the Nordic Unmanned team successfully validated the preparedness for offshore logistics services. The team collaborated closely with Equinor to carry out a number of groundbreaking testing and demonstrations of drone logistics services.
"Through a step-by-step approach, where risk, maturity and complexity are mapped, we have gradually advanced our operations' complexity. Together with Equinor, we are pushing the boundaries of what drones can do for offshore logistics, providing solutions that are more sustainable, scalable, and cost-efficient. Nordic Unmanned has proven its capabilities and is ready to provide offshore drone logistics as a standardised service," said Knut Roar Wiig, CEO, Nordic Unmanned.
The onshore and offshore testing phases are part of Equinor and Nordic Unmanned's offshore drone service contract. The deal, which will be granted in December 2021, is Europe's and the offshore energy industry's largest and most complex drone logistics contract. Numerous daily freight flights between the installations in the Gullfaks field, as well as multiple daily flights between offshore sites and boats in the Tampen region, are part of the scope.
Nordic Unmanned will execute repeated daily flights between sites and from installations to boats during the first stage of the Offshore test at the Gullfaks field. The drones will transport products between Gullfaks A, B, and C, as well as to nearby boats. This will considerably enhance offshore logistics efficiency and cut emissions, propelling the sector toward a more sustainable future.
"We are thrilled with our achievements during the onshore phase of the project and are now eager to start the offshore part of the project. The support from Equinor and willingness to push the industry forward is crucial for developing drone offshore logistics services. It is great to see how we can utilise technology to increase efficiency and get a higher level of autonomy, proving the scalability of offshore drone logistics as a service. One unique example is how we will utilise drones to efficiently transport dangerous goods between offshore installations and vessels. This is one of many examples of how we have matured our solutions to support the offshore industry," Pal Kristensen, Vice President Logistics, Nordic Unmanned.
Nordic Unmanned is able to self-approve operations because to its EASA LUC (Light UAS Operator Certificate) and close coordination with its partners Airbus DeckFinder, Schiebel, Planck, TAU Autonomy Center, Stavanger Airport, Avinor, CAA Norway, and Norwegian Communications Authority (NKOM).