AUV & ROV Market Awaits Promising Growth Prospects as Both Technologies Garner Attention at Subsea Sites
Mounting need for effective repair, and maintenance of offshore equipment is likely to drive adoption of technologies like autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), and remotely operated vehicle (ROV). Global AUV & ROV market is expected to receive an impetus as the worldwide oil and gas production is rapidly making a shift to subsea regions, which represents a significant deviation from conventional production methods. Subsea environment is sometimes the most remote and hence the most unexplored part on the earth. Working in this environment makes monitoring, and intervention much more difficult and raises unique challenges. As this trend gains momentum, there have been massive investments in rapid development of AUV, and ROV technologies. Growing usage of AUVs, and ROVs for inspection, maintenance, and repair of offshore equipment, especially those used at subsea sites for exploration, and production. This is projected to predominantly fuel the growth of AUV & ROV market.
Increased Investments in Offshore Oil and Gas, and Wind Power Projects to Boost AUV & ROV Market Growth
Growing investments in offshore oil and gas, as well as wind power industry, followed by the increased number of offshore oil and gas decommissioning activities, ocean data, and mapping remain the key factors strengthening the performance of AUV & ROV market. Technological advancements in offshore systems have opened up new frontiers, enabled safer operations, and increased the capabilities of AUVs and ROVs. Potential oil and gas reserve discoveries in deep and ultra-deep waters are expected to open up new avenues for the participants in AUV & ROV market space.
In the offshore sector, the security of offshore equipment has been tightened while keeping in mind the demands of environmental legislation. Rapid advancements in technology will continue to engineer further growth in the oil and gas unmanned vehicles sector. Smart devices will enable improved operational management, and better risk management. Use of advanced materials will offer safer operations in difficult environments, pointing to another strong opportunity for the leading players in global AUV & ROV market landscape.
Globally, the average size of an ROV is reducing as instrumentation evolves. Smaller ROVs are preferred to large ROVs, keeping everything else constant, as the former offer better manoeuvring ability at lower deployment costs. The increased functionality in AUVs, and demand for floating oil production systems and remote fields have also been identified as key drivers pushing adoption of AUVs, thereby fostering AUV & ROV market prospects. On the flip side, oil and gas companies continue to recover from the project delays, price constraints, and some technological limitations caused due to the COVID-19 pandemic. ROVs have a much bigger, and mature market than AUVs but the latter is expected to grow significantly in the near future. The primary application of AUVs in military and scientific research, and offshore wind in carrying out subsea inspections without the need for divers is projected to bode well for AUV & ROV market.
AUVs Reflect Higher Growth Potential than ROVs
Currently, ROVs lead the market due to their wide application in different phases of offshore oilfield developments such as drilling support and vessel-based services, equipment installation, construction, pipeline inspection, survey and facilities inspection, maintenance, and repair. Hybrid ROVs (HROVs) are an interesting trend in the ROV market, which have tether-optional configurations that allow the vehicle to conduct programmed missions free from the tether. HROV configurations are expected to be an option increasingly offered by ROV manufacturers, particularly in the mini and small ROV markets. On the other hand, AUV market is smaller than the ROV market.
However, the growth potential of AUVs is clearly higher. Reduced power requirements, lower cost due to miniaturisation of onboard instruments and vehicles, increased functionality, and longer mission life continue to be the key factors driving demand for AUVs. The ROVs are thus expected to lose their market share to AUVs. A majority of AUVs sold are rated for water depths less than 200m, illustrating the importance of small, light. and shallow water AUVs for various end-markets. Currently, military and security applications lead in terms of sales, followed by the scientific research, and oil and gas.
Rise of Offshore Oil and gas Interventions in North America, and Europe to Boost Regional Sales
Europe is expected to lead the global market owing to growing offshore oil and gas interventions. Norway, and the UK have been especially witnessing surge in investments offshore wind power projects. In June 2020, Kongsberg Maritime signed its first contract with Ocean Infinity for a new type of ROV launch and recovery system (LARS), designed to handle ROVs and AUVs from unmanned vessels. Furthermore, Europe connected 502 new offshore wind turbines to the grid across 10 projects in 2019. This brought 3,627 MW of new capacity addition.
A series of recent oil well discoveries in offshore eastern Canada has brought in a new wave of E&P spending in the past six months. Oil majors such as ExxonMobil, Chevron, Equinor, and CNOOC are committed to spending $1.7 billion by 2021. BP Canada, Navitas Petroleum, Nexen Energy and Husky have committed to spending $763 million by 2022. Furthermore, by 2024, BHP, Equinor, and Suncor plan to invest $1.4 billion in exploration. These discoveries along with development and investment plans are expected to boost the demand for AUVs, and ROVs in North America over the forecast period.
The prospect for offshore drilling varies by location, yet offshore exploration in Brazil, Nigeria, Indonesia, Australia, and the Gulf of Mexico are expected to be strong. On August 2020, Chevron Australia awarded two new contracts to DOF Subsea to support its North-West Shelf and nearshore subsea assets in Australia. DOF Subsea will provide Chevron with DP vessels, remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs), autonomous underwater vehicle (AUVs), and intervention, inspection, management, and engineering services. This is expected to drive the demand for AUV and ROV in Asia Pacific in the next few years.
In Middle East & Africa, Saudi Aramco inaugurated a torpedo shaped AUV at Dhahran, Saudi Arabia in 2017. The AUV is designed to perform surveys to identify seabed clearance and potential debris around offshore platforms. Collaboration is playing a key role in helping the industry develop technologies and solutions to increase autonomy and remote residency of the subsea systems. Oil and gas giants are also forming strategic alliances with AUV and ROV technology providers to minimise overall spending.
Global AUV & ROV Market: Rise in Number of New Entrants to Increase Competition in the Global Market
The top 10 companies hold more than 50% of global AUV and RV market. Key players involved in AUV & ROV market include TechnipFMC plc, Ocean Infinity, DOF Subsea AS, Subsea7, Forum Energy Technologies, DeepOcean AS., Sonardyne International Ltd., Oceaneering International Inc., Saipem, Fugro NV and Helix Energy Solutions Group Inc. In 2019, Shell awarded Saipem a license to develop technology for FlatFish, a resident subsea autonomous vehicle designed to perform subsea asset inspections. This should be qualified for commercial application by 2020. In the year 2018, Sonardyne International Ltd. started a collaborative project with L3 ASV and the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) to improve the autonomy for long-endurance AUVs.
The AUV & ROV market is segmented as below:
By Vehicle Type
By Vehicle Class
By End-use Industry
Key Elements Included In The Study: Global AUV & ROV Market
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