San Donato Milanese (MI), October 2, 2019 - Saipem has signed a subsea service contract with Equinor, worth approximately 40 million Euro, which entails the use of Saipem’s Underwater Intervention Drone (UID) Hydrone-R and the all-electric Work Class ROV Hydrone-W in the Njord Field development, offshore Norway. This agreement is the first ever worldwide service contract for subsea drones signed in the offshore Oil & Gas industry, thus making the Hydrone-based technology an unrivalled pioneer. 


The contract has a duration of 10 years with the option for an additional 10-year extension.

Hydrone-R operations will start from 1Q 2020, immediately following completion of the endurance tests currently underway, while Hydrone-W will be delivered in 2021. Both Hydrones will operate with minimal environmental impact, thus conforming perfectly with Equinor and Saipem’s commitment to green technologies.

The scope of work encompasses ROV and UID services to support drilling activities, as well as the entire plan of inspections and interventions on the Njord subsea assets, namely Pipeline End Manifolds (PLEMs), flowlines, umbilicals and riser bases. Control of Hydrone-R and Hydrone-W will be ensured from both the floating rig Njord-A and onshore via Sonsub’s proprietary remote control protocols.

The Hydrone Program, executed entirely by Sonsub, Saipem’s business line for Life of Field, Underwater Technology and Subsea Processing, is a key workstream of Saipem’s Technology Development Plan associated with subsea robotics.

“Today, we are making the history of subsea robotics: our visionary Hydrone program, launched back in 2015, has proven to perfectly match Equinor’s challenging requirements. Cooperation with one of the key players in the energy market by delivering our top-notch technology in the years to come is a very significant milestone for us”, said Francesco Racheli, COO of the E&C Offshore Division, adding, “The Hydrone Program is the culmination of years of hard work and a perfect example of Saipem’s commitment in technology, constantly seeking solutions which intelligently combine HSE excellence, industry demand, innovation and operational efficiency”.