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Norwegian partnership aims to accelerate remote operations and unmanned vessels in the offshore services sector

A group of Norwegian offshore service providers are teaming up to accelerate the development of remote operations and unmanned vessels in the offshore service industry.

Solstad Offshore, DeepOcean Group and Østensjø Group have launched a partnership to establish two joint ventures; one, named Remota AS, will own and operate advanced onshore remote operations centers; the other will focus on developing, owning, and operating unmanned surface vehicles (USVs).

The companies say the new joint ventures will help support the industry’s push towards remote operations, helping to reduce operating costs and emissions for the marine and offshore industries.

Remota AS will own and operate the remote operations centers, the first of which has been fully operational since 2019 in Haugesund, Norway, from where it manages DeepOcean’s ROVs in European waters in support of underwater installations and inspection, maintenance and repair (IMR) campaigns.

“It’s about taking current experience, history and technology and scaling it up, making it a more powerful offering for ocean industries. Remota will have operations and revenue from day one, and we will immediately double the support capacity of the Remote Operations Center in Haugesund,” said Øyvind Mikaelsen, CEO of DeepOcean.

The center will operate independently of its three owners and will offer its services to all operators, shipowners and service companies worldwide. While it will initially offer its services to offshore shipping companies and ROV operators, the aim is to expand its services to other industries as well.

“With our unique remote operations center and the support of three leading international vendors, we believe Remota can provide its customers with a world-leading remote offering for marine and subsea operations. I sincerely believe this can transform the way traditional ocean industries approach their work offshore,” said Sveinung Soma, CEO of Remota.

The second joint venture, named USV AS, will be a separate company that will focus on investing in USVs equipped with an on-board work ROV. “This type of vessel is capable of significantly reducing operating expenses compared to conventional vessels that are used for underwater inspection, maintenance and repair work,” the companies said.

The USV technology was developed by DeepOcean, with the other two partners participating in the final stage of development. It is estimated that the USV solution can reduce CO2 emissions by more than 90% compared to a conventional offshore vessel when conducting subsea operations.

“By introducing USVs, we are moving the captain ashore who will retain control of offshore operations. It’s a great way to reduce costs and the CO2 footprint. By limiting personnel exposure to offshore operations, it also introduces a whole new aspect of safety. This also represents significant business potential for the JV,” added Mikaelsen.

The three partners will each hold 33.33% of the two new joint ventures.

“Remote operations are key to unlocking huge emissions reductions and cost savings in the marine and offshore industries. The new joint ventures aim to accelerate the adoption of new remote technologies, which, in turn, will make ocean industries even more sustainable,” says Håvard Framnes, Chief Investment Officer of Østensjø, which owns and operates vessels in offshore wind, tug services, offshore oil and gas and offshore accommodation.

“Solstad, DeepOcean and Østensjø already have the technologies, skills and assets, but their combination will further strengthen the capacity, growth prospects and market penetration of our remote operations offering. Operators of offshore energy assets have challenged the supplier industry to provide even more cost effective services. This is our response,” said Lars Peder Solstad, CEO of Solstad Offshore.