Italian oil contractor Saipem has been awarded a multi-million subsea service contract by Equinor at its Njord field in the Norwegian Sea.
The deal will see Saipem undertake inspection of the Njord area, using a wireless underwater intervention drone and an remotely operated vehicle (ROV).
The deal is understood to be in the region of £35.6 million.
Saipem Limited Norway will begin the contract when the Njord field resumes production in 2020 and continue for the next decade.
The Njord field was discovered in 1997 and is thought to hold 20 million remaining barrels of oil and 9 billion cubic meters of gas.
The deal has an additional ten year extension option.
Anders Opedal, executive vice president, Technology, Projects and Drilling at Equinor, said: “This is a historic contract in the oil and gas industry.
“It is the first contract signed for the use of advanced wireless drone services.
“We are pleased to secure a contract that will bring subsea technology a big step forward.
“Equinor aims to help shape the development of this type of technology, which this contract underscores.”
Equinor said the new technology will employ an underwater intervention drone (Hydrone-R) and an all-electric work class ROV (Hydrone-W).
It added that the drone may be autonomous below the Njord A pltform “for months between scheduled maintenance”.
Hydrone-W will be connected to the platform like a traditional ROV.
Olav A. Godo, operations manager for Njord, added: “It is very exciting to be a pioneer for this type of technology offshore.
“Enabling personnel to plan and perform operations from shore rather than being flown offshore, this path-breaking technology will also reduce costs.”