SubseaLASE cutting technology for global underwater energy markets

20 May 2020

The need for safe and cost-effective offshore operations is in sharp focus, as many assets require extensive maintenance to remain viable or risk having to accelerate decommissioning plans.

Underwater Cutting Solutions (UCS), an Ashtead Technology company with a strong engineering heritage of developing its own in-house products, recognises that the solution to the problems facing the subsea industry involves a step change in current technologies.

Embodying UCS’ continuous commitment to innovation is the SubseaLASE project; a versatile, high-performance subsea laser cutting tool ideally-suited to both the decommissioning and renewable energy industries. In collaboration with the Technology Welding Institute (TWI), UCS has been developing a subsea laser cutting system for over three years and has successfully completed onshore testing of the concept. With plans in place to conduct a series of offshore trials, the SubseaLASE will soon be ready for commercial use.

UCS estimates that this revolutionary cutting system will be over five times faster than current-generation abrasive cutting technologies. Tested to 200m water depth, the internal pipe cutting system features a laser head which rotates 360° during the cutting process, generating less secondary waste during operation.

The SubseaLASE generates considerable cost savings, reducing support vessel time by as much as 80% compared to current methods. In addition, there are no consumables required compared to abrasive cutting, making it an attractive proposition for operators looking for a solution with unrivalled performance which is harmless to the underwater environment.

This transformative technology is just one part of the wide selection of tooling and solutions which UCS can offer to support decommissioning and IRM scopes in the global oil and gas and renewable energy sectors. As part of the Ashtead Technology group, UCS provides international project support utilizing the group’s global footprint, combining international experience with local support through expertly-trained technicians.

The challenges lying ahead for the subsea industry present forward-thinking innovation led companies such as UCS with opportunities to demonstrate their true value by bringing bold new technologies and services to market.

This article originally appeared in Issue #40 of Decom News, the Decom North Sea magazine, in May 2020.

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