LONDON: Visiongain’s analysis indicates that the global market for remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) in the oil & gas industry will reach a value of $2.5B in 2013. The sector will experience strong growth over the forecast period as increasing expenditure in the deep water and subsea construction markets create strong demand for ROVs. ROVs indispensable in deep water and ultra-deep water The lead analyst for the ROV report on the oil & gas industry commented that ‘The market for ROVs in the oil & gas industry is a rapidly growing segment of the global offshore oil & gas market where technological advances of recent years have resulted in increasing installation of subsea infrastructure, and have allowed companies to operate in ever greater water depths. The complexity of subsea equipment and the dangers associated with operating in deep water and ultra deep water areas have made ROVs indispensable to the development and safety of offshore hydrocarbon projects around the world. Demand for ROVs and ROV services will grow as oil & gas companies increase their production from offshore reserves and decommissioning of old fixed production facilities increases. Due to the integral role ROVs play in the offshore oil & gas industry, investment is bound to grow strongly over the next decade’. A decade of remarkable growth The last decade has seen a remarkable growth in the number of operational ROVs in the global oil and gas industry, reports Oil & Gas.com, particularly among the sector?s major independent oil companies, which are looking to replace their depleting reserves with oil and gas developments that have been characterised by exploration and production in ever-deeper waters.
In fact, in a large proportion of these types of modern development the ROV has become the technology of choice, as its ability to work and loiter for long periods of time in depths greater than 3,200 ft. (1000 meters) gives oil companies the opportunity to work in areas previously inaccessible; a vital factor in the continued thrust for energy production. They also eliminate the danger of using divers and trained persons for increasingly dangerous tasks, their endurance allows operators to complete projects in one single effort and the technological capabilities and reliability of the hardware involved makes them an efficient, cost-effective option. Massive future growth potential Latin America represents a potential growth area of massive proportions within the ROV and deep water fields in general, as the exploration in the region exemplifies the exact nature and profile of deepwater demand that desires ROV operation. Of all Latin American developments it is estimated that Brazil will see a sharp increase in ROV operations in the coming years and will be a prolific user of the technology. The country has some of the largest deep water fields in the world, with estimates stating that some 33 percent of its recoverable hydrocarbons are in deep waters up to 1000 metres and another 35 percent are in even deeper water. The nature of some of these fields however is necessitating considerable investment in technology from energy companies, and the difficult subsea conditions mean that ROV developments are essential in order to achieve success. Innovation from ROV builders As far as innovation is concerned, ROV manufacturers such as Canyon Offshore, Deep Ocean Engineering, I-Tech, Oceaneering International, Perry Slingsby Systems and Seaeye have continued to push the boundaries of the technology used in the industry. Indeed, today ROVs are used throughout the energy sector for some of the most demanding and complex tasks including the drilling and development of wells, installation and construction of production facilities, inspection, repair and maintenance (IRM) and decommissioning. It is estimated that globally this fleet comprises some 900 vehicles, with around 200 falling into the light work class category and the remainder being of the more powerful medium and heavy work class variants, which are capable of more demanding task and have a much higher power rating. Emergence of electric vehicles One major development in the ROV market has been the rise in electric powered vehicles as opposed to the more traditional, hydraulic variants, which for some years were the mainstay of deep water oil and gas exploration. However, the previously discussed market demand has seen a significant push by manufacturers in the development of ever more powerful and capable craft that can undertake many of the jobs previously carried out by hydraulic ROVs. The emergence of the electric ROV has been aided by two key factors. Firstly, the dedication of manufacturers and producers that have worked to push the boundaries beyond simple technological developments, and more importantly, the emergence in the global oil and gas sector of a new breed of independent exploration company with a willingness and desire to use the latest breed of equipment to source resources. Of course, with the industry still cautious in terms of investment and many projects being carefully handled in the current climate, the electric ROV provides a number of distinct advantages. Most important among these is that the technology is cheaper to produce and operate, is easier and faster to deploy and needs less on-board deck space and fewer crew to operate. Furthermore, greater power and versatility than hydraulic ROVs gives the electric class a distinct advantage when operating in challenging conditions, including operating in tight places where movement is restricted ? conditions that can be found in many of the more extreme exploration areas Looking ahead, the ROV market is only expected to grow, which means that the ROV will likely be one of the key enabling factors in energy production for many years.Read More