AUGUST 28, 2020, Mongstad, Vestland – On the 27th of August, Equinor and Nordic Unmanned created global aviation history when they carried out an advanced long-range BVLOS unmanned flight to supply a 3D-printed component to Troll A. The flight range was 100km (55nm) each way and was carried out from Mongstad.
A CAMCOPTER® S-100 from Schiebel was used, a highly proven unmanned helicopter with an empty weight of 110 kg, a payload capacity of 50kg, and with a typical endurance of up to 8 hours. In addition, there was conducted a close visual inspection of Troll A outside the 500 meter zone and a search and rescue operation together with the standby vessel at Troll A. The entire operation went according to plan to relevant stakeholders.
This is a worlds-first in terms of full-scale offshore drone delivery from shore to an active oil and gas installation. It is a high endurance and long range beyond visual line of sight operation through ordinary airspace. Through this project Equinor takes the lead within unmanned logistics and turns bold ambitions and strategies into actions. Drone operations such as this one has a 55 times lower carbon footprint than cargo delivery with manned alternatives.
Knut Roar Wiig, CEO of Nordic Unmanned highlighted the importance of this operation. “This is a huge milestone, not only for our company, but also for the unmanned aviation industry. With this world’s first operation, Nordic Unmanned becomes one of the world-leading companies in complex unmanned operations. Through a very close and good cooperation with Equinor and Schiebel, we have managed to beat the global technology players drone cargo programs.”
The unmanned industry is evolving rapidly, and the professional part of the industry is starting to adopt the best practice from traditional aviation in terms of safety, regulations, and certifications. By leveraging our experience and highly skilled employees and partners, Nordic Unmanned is continuously working to pursue pioneering projects and untapped potential that moves the industry forward in giant steps. Long-range unmanned logistics is expected to be a large and important market segment as it reduces carbon footprint, risk and cost; Nordic Unmanned is dedicated to continue innovating and improving novel cutting-edge concepts and putting them into action for our bold and visionary clients.
Pål Kristensen, business unit manager, logistics and robotization, for Nordic Unmanned was eager to highlight the teamwork behind such an achievement. “The operation that we have conducted today is an excellent example of how we in Nordic Unmanned work together with a demanding client to implement the latest in unmanned technology. This marks the beginning of a new chapter within unmanned logistics. The technology is proven and robust enough to implement in large scale, and reduces the risk cost and environmental footprint drastically. The good collaboration with Equinor, Schiebel, Avinor, Norwegian Communication Authority and Norwegian Civil Aviation, has made it possible to take this project from end of feasibility study, to end of operation in less than 4 months. I’m honoured to have led this project for Nordic Unmanned”
Troll A is an excellent destination for this record flight, as it is the crown-jewel of Condeep-platforms that also was pioneered in the Stavanger region fjords back in the 1990s. It is 472 m high, has a dry mass of 656 000 ton, and is one of the most complex engineering projects in history. It is the largest concrete platform ever moved offshore, and it is the highest man-made object moved by humans on the surface of the earth. Considering that Nordic Unmanned is from the Stavanger region and the record nature of Troll A, it is a suitable location for this large technological and strategically important leap is carried out to Troll A.