We are the world’s largest manufacturer and operator of work class ROV systems. Our ROV fleet includes deepwater work class systems and ultra-deepwater search and rescue systems.
Top 10 ROV Questions
As the industry leader in ROV systems, we have answered some of the most common questions related to the use of ROVs, training options, operational challenges, and more.
1. How do you become an Oceaneering ROV pilot?
We hire people from a variety of backgrounds, and supplement their past experience with training specific to the ROV systems that we manufacture and operate. A new-hire employee with no previous ROV experience receives thorough training through our training program before going offshore. We look for people who have technical training or industry experience in some mechanical, electronic, or electrical discipline.
2. How many people make up an ROV crew?
A typical ROV crew consists of three technicians: one supervisor, one mechanical technician, and one electrical technician. They generally work a 12-hour shift followed by 12 hours off.
3. Where do we operate our ROVs?
Our ROVs mainly work in deepwater offshore oil and gas operations around the world.
4. What are the challenges to ROV operations?
The ROV crew operates highly technical equipment in a remote location (rig or vessel) under occasionally harsh environmental conditions. The crew executes tasks ranging from simple video monitoring to highly complex tooling interfacing and inspection. The equipment is technically diverse, and requires broad knowledge and training to perform the work scope and keep the equipment operational.
Construction and completions work requires previous knowledge that comes from experience. The more remote the location, the higher the training and experience level needed to compensate for stretched supply chain support and for poor communications, which can cut the crew off from technical support.
5. How many work class ROV systems do we operate?
As of January 2017, we operate 279 work class ROV systems.
6. What is the most important part of an ROV operation?
The crew is the most important part. The purpose of the ROV is to perform a task—it is the means of getting to and from the task location. The pilot flies the ROV, and operates the manipulator and/or specialized tooling to complete the assigned task.
7. Who designs our ROVs?
The designs of our ROVs are based on feedback from over 2,000 offshore ROV technicians and our many customers. We also do extensive failure and repair time analysis.
8. What is the difference between a tophat and a cage?
Both are types of tether management systems (TMSs) and are used to deploy the ROV from the surface to the working depth. A TMS is used to feed the tether in and out when the ROV reaches working depth. The TMS has lighting, an electronic control system, cameras, and an electro-hydraulic system to power the tether drum and latch the ROV during deployment.
A side-entry cage can best be described as a cage in which the ROV is parked and secured while it is raised and lowered in the water column. We have found that side-entry cage systems have less downtime associated with tether and umbilical failures than tophat systems, and provide safer and easier disabled ROV recoveries. The side-entry cage is our TMS of choice, and the majority of Oceaneering systems are of this type.
A tophat sits on top of the ROV and does not encase the ROV as a side-entry cage does, thus enabling the mounting of non-standard skids below the ROV. Nearly 25% of our systems are tophat deployed.
9. Are our ROVs different than ROVs operated by other companies?
For the most part, ROVs tend to be very similar. However, most of our ROVs have redundancies built into them, such as dual independent electro-hydraulic power trains that enable the ROV to continue working in the event of failure of one of the power trains. Most competing ROVs only have a single electro-hydraulic power train.
10. Does a pilot sit in the ROV to fly it?
No. An ROV is controlled by pilots at the surface via an umbilical and tether or, in some cases, remotely via a satellite link from long distances.