China News Agency, Tianjin, May 2, topic: Underwater robot navigator: Helping "China's footsteps" into the blue and deep sea

  China News Agency reporter Wang Junyan

  300 meters below sea level, a dark area where light cannot reach.

Here, is the limit of the diver's underwater construction: the water pressure is too high, the environment is complex and dangerous, and the work can no longer be completed by manpower alone.

  Here, is the "home" of ROV (underwater robot): it uses the propeller as the "foot", the camera as the "eye", and the mechanical arm as the "hand". , various types of work with large loads, and are widely used in offshore oil, marine scientific research, marine rescue and other fields.

  Their controllers, ROV pilots, are called "deep-sea astronauts" due to the difficulty of training and the scarcity of talents.

Han Chao, ROV director of CNOOC Offshore Oil Engineering Co., Ltd., is one of them.

He is the first-generation ROV navigator independently trained in China, and has now become a leader in China's work-level ROV engineering applications.

  "ROVs have extremely high requirements on the pilot's ability to operate. The pilot needs to 'see six roads and listen to all directions' on the operation vessel to control underwater equipment." Han Chao recently told a reporter from China News Agency that the pilot needs to keep an eye on it at all times. Nine monitors and various sensor data such as sonar, positioning, and oil level, step on the retractable pedal, and operate the left and right hands at the same time, and also know the positions of ships, underwater robots, and underwater facilities.

  In the field of offshore oil and gas, ROVs are widely used in observation, installation, maintenance, etc.

More than ten years ago, for the development of deepwater oil and gas fields, China began to introduce foreign ROV equipment and foreign experts.

Han Chao said that at that time, foreign personnel were responsible for complex operation control, and "the Chinese could only fight."

In order to learn technology, Han Chao helped and learned while foreign supervisors and navigators overhauled equipment.

  His own talent and hard training have made Han Chao's operational skills mature day by day. In 5 years, he has reached the level of a senior navigator that can only be achieved abroad in 8 years, and he has obtained the ROV director certificate issued by the International Maritime Contractors Association, becoming the first in China. Certified ROV Director.

  Since then, Han Chao and his team have traveled to almost every area in the South China Sea and East China Sea of ​​CNOOC, and went to underwater projects in Iran, Thailand, Qatar and other countries, gradually gaining popularity in overseas markets.

Han Chao introduced that the team currently has more than 60 pilots. Through simulator training, training and various projects, the operation technology can reach a leading level in Asia and a high level internationally.

  In March 2021, the team successfully completed the offshore installation of seven umbilical cables for the first 1,500-meter ultra-deepwater gas field "Shenhai No. 1" in China's self-operated exploration and development, 22 days ahead of the planned construction period and cost savings of over 28 million yuan RMB.

In June of the same year, "Shenhai No. 1" was officially put into production, and CNOOC's exploration and development capabilities entered the "ultra-deep water era" in an all-round way.

  From the laying of China's first 1,500-meter submarine pipeline, to the ultra-deep water anchor chain mooring of the world's first 100,000-ton semi-submersible production and storage platform, to China's first deep-water SCR (steel catenary riser) tie-back and main umbilical Cable laying, the team firmly established "China's footsteps" in the depths of 1,500 meters of sea.

  Now, Han Chao looks forward to making progress together with the industry.

"The development of China's ROV industry is relatively late, and there are few people who understand this profession. I know that there are now more than 20,000 ROV pilots in the world, of which only more than 200 are Chinese." He said that among these more than 200 Chinese pilots Among the members, many have not obtained internationally recognized certificates and are "not in line with international standards".

He hopes that the professional system of Chinese ROV pilots can be further improved, an industry association can be established, and international advanced experience can be learned to achieve mutual recognition of domestic and international standards.

  "Due to the complexity of the operating environment, offshore oil and gas is currently the most severe usage scenario for ROV equipment. The stability, reliability and controllability of domestic ROVs have not yet been maturely applied to the offshore oil and gas field." Han Chao looks forward to the future. Many Chinese-made ROV equipment has been invested in various fields, allowing "China's footsteps" to enter a deeper sea.