Among Mutual Energy’s assets are two underwater pipelines – a 9.6km pipeline across Belfast Lough and a 3.2km pipeline across Larne Lough, both supplying downstream gas markets. Every two years, these pipelines are surveyed to check for external or seabed damage and, in the case of the Larne Lough crossing, to measure the effectiveness of the corrosion protection systems. The equipment and expertise used to carry out such surveys are very specialist, with technology constantly advancing.

In previous years, this work was carried out by sending out a small crew on a vessel with all necessary equipment onboard to survey the pipelines. However thanks to technological advances, in September of this year for the first time the surveys were conducted largely using an unmanned surface vessel (USV) – an unmanned boat that can be controlled remotely, which is able to record the data that is then processed and reviewed onshore.

This is a first for Mutual Energy and helped carry out this important work while reducing risk from a health and safety perspective and also lowering the overall cost. We are glad to report that as expected no major issues were identified in the survey.

A short video covering the survey can be viewed below.