Oil and gas major Shell has awarded an offshore services contract to Nauticus Robotics, a robots, artificial intelligence (AI) solutions and marine services provider.

Under the contract, Nauticus will provider inspection services on a Shell subsea field development in the Gulf of Mexico.

The offshore services provider will deploy its flagship autonomous subsea robot, called Aquanaut, for the job to perform contact and non-contact inspections across a large underwater facility.

Aquanaut will carry out autonomous subsea manipulation tasks on live submerged equipment in more than 1,000m of water.

The robot does not need an umbilical as it will be operated by a remote pilot during the operation via Nauticus’ acoustic communications link, the company explained.

Nauticus added that the new contract highlights its transformation into an offshore services provider and paves the way for future inspection service projects.

The project also includes a solution allowing for the parallel execution of other work using a smaller class of service vessel that would not typically engage in inspection, maintenance and repair (IMR) work.

Nauticus CEO Nicolaus Radford said: “I am incredibly pleased with the progress the team has made in our collaboration with Shell and to embark on this new project with one of the world’s leading energy companies.

“Nauticus now has visibility [and] long-term IMR services work for Shell and the opportunity to become the preferred supplier for this advanced work. We recognise the significance of this opportunity with Shell and look forward to the execution of this project work.”

Last month, Norwegian oil and gas major Equinor awarded leak detection work to Nauticus Robotics and its partner Stinger Technology.

Around 600 underwater wells and 9,000km of subsea cables, risers and pipelines are operated by Equinor.