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ROVs: A High-Tech Win-Win Investment in the Offshore Drilling Boom

An increase in offshore, deep-sea oil drilling and a nod to Shell to proceed in the Alaskan Arctic will drive demand for remotely operated underwater vehicles (ROVs) through 2015.

An ROV is a tethered underwater vehicle often employed in offshore hydrocarbon extraction. ROVs are linked to ships via a tether of cables that carry electrical power and video and data signals back and forth. The more technologically advanced ROVs also employ hydraulics, sonars, magnetometers and other equipment used to take water samples.

The offshore oil and gas industry is the largest commercial user of ROVs, which enable deepwater operations, and ROVs were instrumental in determining the scale of the damage after the April 2010 Deep Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The weeks following the oil spill saw the massive deployment of ROVs in the Gulf of Mexico. But this was after the fact, and that lesson has been learned.

ROVs are also used by deep-water drilling companies to assemble equipment under water and to perform delicate maintenance on that equipment.

The largest Work Class ROV currently on offer is from Oceaneering, which leads the market in manufacturing and supplies to the oil and gas industry, boasting over 250 Work Class ROV systems and more than 2,000 offshore personnel operating them around the world. Of most significance, the company’s current fleet includes a high-tech Ultra Deepwater ROV system. This comes along with a budget of over $10 million…

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