The introduction of autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) technology in the Oil and Gas arena has and continues to demonstrate significant advantages in offshore underwater operations.

In the arctic regions, it is difficult to conduct "Life of Field" inspection operations from a support vessel. This is mainly due to restricted freedom of operation caused by polar lows or winter storms and/or the formation and movement of sea ice. AUV systems by their nature have the potential to significantly reduce this operational difficulty, seabed hosted vehicles have the potential to eliminate it completely.

The hovering Autonomous Inspection Vehicle (AIV), developed by Subsea 7, enables complete autonomous inspection of the subsea assets. The system is deployed using a launch and recovery basket, which can be configured to remain on the seabed for significant periods of time. In the latter configuration, the AIV is operated and serviced from the seabed hosted basket, to carry out missions that meet the ‘Life of Field’ operational requirements.

This paper will describe the advanced features of the AIV technology and discuss how it can be effective in the Arctic regions, under ice operations.

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