Oil and gas production in the Arctic poses several new challenges that require new solutions. One such is the use of manned submarines for light intervention tasks. The submarine is completely independent of the surface conditions while adequately submerged, which is their main advantage in the Arctic. This report presents the initial design of an intervention submarine intended for the Shtokman gas condensate field.
The vessel is able to perform structural inspection with an ROV and replace smaller subsea components. The vessel is intended for two week missions to the Shtokman field and is designed for operation at depths up to 537 metres. It carries an array of positioning systems originally developed for the military and offshore industry in order to safely transit within, to and from the field. The vessel is completely independent from the surface and other vessels, and do not need specially adapted infrastructure at the field in order to perform the intended tasks.
The primary power plant is based on the proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells used in the German Type 212 submarines, while the secondary power source is a large battery rack. The battery rack is large enough to enable the vessel to try to perform repairs on-site before an emergency return on battery power if the primary power source is disabled. The primary power plant is fuelled by pure hydrogen and oxygen. The fuel is stored as cryogenic liquids outside the pressure hull.