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Nordic Unmanned and Equinor with world’s first in-field drone logistics test operation at an offshore field

Equinor and Nordic Unmanned have successfully tested the incorporation of logistics drones into offshore operations while simultaneously making history by completing the world’s first in-field drone logistics operation test at an offshore field. The drone operations took place for Equinor at the Gullfaks C offshore installation in the North Sea from August 15. – 29. This achievement marks a new era for the drone and offshore industry.

The success of the operation is a result of close technical and operational collaboration between Equinor and Nordic Unmanned. The team has proven the maturity of the technology and the readiness to include fully automatic drones in offshore logistics operations.

“In partnership with Equinor, we are maturing what drones can do for offshore energy companies. Together our teams have mapped out a complex terrain of risk and complexity to find solutions that exceed expectations. Nordic Unmanned has proven the maturity of its offshore drone services. As the global leading drone operator in offshore drone logistics, we are now able to provide offshore logistics as a standardised commercial service”

Lars Landsnes, COO of Nordic Unmanned.

The offshore crew performed a total of 51 fully automated beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) flights at the Gullfaks field, consisting of flights delivering cargo between the three installations and an emergency response vessel. In addition to the operation, the team has developed the procedural framework allowing for rapid implementation of offshore drone operations for Equinor and other offshore operators. For Nordic Unmanned, this is part of the journey to obtaining full autonomy for the system, allowing operations to be performed from an onshore operational center without crew present offshore.

“We are proud to have achieved so many milestones through our collaboration with Equinor. The use of drones is vital for increasing efficiency, reducing emissions and getting a higher level of autonomy in offshore logistics and in-field cargo delivery. Drones will allow offshore operators to transport critical goods between installations and vessels, for example, items such as dangerous goods or spare parts. In addition, the drones can provide other services such as surveillance, oil spill and emissions monitoring”

Pål Kristensen, Country Manager Nordics Countries at Nordic Unmanned

The operations are made possible by Nordic Unmanned leveraging its EASA LUC (Light UAS Operator Certificate) to self-approve operations and through close collaboration with Avinor, CAA Norway and Norwegian Communications Authority (NKOM).