Winter 2012

HydroDigger proves its mettle

Fisher offshore’s advanced underwater excavation system demonstrates its highly flexible capabilities across a range of projects.

The HydroDigger is an advanced form of contactless subsea excavation equipment that can be deployed over a vessel side and operated remotely and safely from the deck using its integrated launch and recovery system. It operates by delivering a precisely controlled column of water onto the seabed, fragmenting the surface and displacing soil, sediments, rocks and other surface materials. By controlling the delivery of the column of water and coordinating the movement of the HydroDigger, for example, a trench can be created. Using the system’s real time sonar monitoring and sophisticated control systems, a range of intricate excavation activities can be carried out. Due to its contactless nature – only the column of water impacts the seabed – HydroDigger minimizes or eliminates the risks associated with physical contact, especially around complex subsea assets.

In a recent project the HydroDigger was mobilized for Integrated Subsea Services for work in the Osprey Field in the North Sea. The work scope was to recover a 40m length of damaged flexible flowline which was buried under 1m of drill mud. The HydroDigger was to be used to dredge the drill mud off of the flexible to expose it for disconnection.

Steve Gray, project manager at Fisher Offshore explains:

“The flexibility of this system is proving to be extremely attractive to customers. It provides a complete package that’s appropriate for a wide range of functions, from excavations for new pipeline systems for example, through to the decommissioning and burial of life-expired installations in accordance with regulatory requirements.”

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