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AUV for Offshore Oil and Gas IRM Market Size, Share & COVID-19 Impact Analysis, By Type (Man-Portable, Light Weight Vehicle (LWV), Heavy Weight Vehicle (HWV)), By Water Depth (Shallow Water, Deepwater, Ultra-Deepwater), By Propulsion System (Electric System, Mechanical System, Hybrid System) and Regional Forecast, 2021-2028

Region : Global | Format: PDF | Report ID: FBI105148



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The global autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) for offshore oil and gas inspection repair and maintenance market size was USD 422.4 million in 2020. The global impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented and staggering, with AUV for offshore oil & gas IRM services witnessing a negative demand shock across all regions amid the pandemic. Based on our analysis, the global market exhibited a huge decline of nearly 15.0% in 2020. The market is projected to grow from USD 490.8 million in 2021 to USD 1,818.7 million in 2028 at a CAGR of 20.6% in the 2021-2028 period. The sudden rise in CAGR is attributable to this market’s demand and growth, returning to pre-pandemic levels once the pandemic is over.

Owing to their operational advantages and economic feasibility AUVs are considered to be the most feasible replacement for remotely operated vehicles. The better operating speed, better mobility, bigger spatial range, no manual interruption, excellent navigation algorithms, improved data quality along the reduced cost of operation are some of the prominent factors which have favored the adoption of AUVs over remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) in the inspection, repair, and maintenance (IRM) industry. AUVs can be deployed for integrity management services, inspection, and field surveys.

COVID-19 Impact: Blockades in AUV Deployment and Sales Due to Supply Chain Disruption

The spread of coronavirus has resulted in a blockade across all industrial activities and has caused disruptions across supply chains of many commodities around the globe. Lockdowns and measures to curb the reach of the virus have led to the unavailability of laborers and temporarily cease the research and development activities. As a result, the outbreak has also altered the demand for AUVs for offshore oil and gas inspection. As the market for AUVs at offshore locations is wholly dependent on the trend followed in the parent oil and gas industry, the downfall faced by the oil and gas industry has directly impacted AUVs adoption in a negative manner. Factors such as halt in operations at offshore locations, negative demand shock for fuels have also hampered the AUV for offshore oil & gas IRM market growth.


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Increasing Demand of AUVs for Remote Operations to Promote Business

As the global pandemic has impelled working restrictions, the demand for remote operations has hiked, which has led to an increase in demand for AUVs. Offshore facilities and remote operations have now become a necessity rather than an option for many companies. Also, ample storage due to the demand-supply gap has attracted investments in the market to avoid huge losses. But as the industry players were not ready for this situation and many of the AUV’s are still in the research and development phase, the coming years, i.e., 2021 and 2022, is expected to attract heavy investments for AUVs.

Increased Deep-Water Production Activities to Foster Growth

The technological advancements in exploration activities have enabled the oil & gas operators to carry out exploration activities at higher depths and under harsh environmental conditions, which were not carried out earlier. Also, the unexplored areas with vast reserves of natural gas or crude oil stand as an opportunity for the growth of the oil & gas exploration market that ultimately acts as an opportunity for AUV for offshore oil and gas inspection, repair, and maintenance market growth.


Increasing Investments in Offshore Exploration Sector to Boost Market Growth

The offshore drilling sector has witnessed positive growth since 2016 when the market faced the lowest phase in over decades. Offshor

e drilling activities have gone up in every region around the globe. For example, in Europe, the North Sea has seen a major rise in investment from countries such as Norway, UK, and the Netherlands. Similarly, Petrobras has been one of the leading companies for offshore activities with increasing depths of operation offshore Brazil. China and India have invested heavily in offshore assets to meet the increasing energy demand in their respective nations. Increasing population across the world is also a major factor that will indirectly boost the investments in the offshore exploration sector and therefore drive the AUV for offshore oil and gas IRM market.

Rising Focus On Advanced and Innovative Unmanned Vehicles for Offshore IRM Operations to Aid Development

Autonomous underwater vehicles offer several advantages that include low deployment cost, stability, enhanced data quality, and exceptional navigation algorithms. All these have led to increased utilization of AUV for offshore oil and gas integrity management, inspection, repair, and maintenance services. Enabled by this, the usage of these AUVs has increased in research and military applications. As a result, heavy investments are being made in offshore oil and gas inspection, repairs, and maintenance.  Also, the continuous research and development being carried out to make the functioning of these vehicles more efficient and user-friendly will drive the market growth. For example, the AUV team at the IITB (Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay) is looking to develop Matsya series of AUVs with advanced capabilities. The basic features of the vehicle include light inspection & surveillance up to a depth of 45 m.


Drift Towards Onshore Production and Renewable Energy to Hinder Market

The major factor which can restrain the AUV for offshore oil & gas inspection, repair, and maintenance market growth is the drift towards onshore oil & gas production. The onshore production will certainly decrease the investment being made in the offshore sector, which will have a negative impact on the market. Also, the increasing percentage of power generation using solar and wind can hamper the investments being made for offshore oil and gas as solar and wind require relatively less capital than offshore exploration. Also, the need to curb carbon emissions has fueled the adoption of renewable energy with incentives being granted by governments around the world. Further, the growing efficiency of renewables for power generation with long-term benefits can result in countries preferring these over conventional fuels.


By Type Analysis

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Owing to Maximum Offshore Activities Currently Being Carried Out at Moderate Depths Light Weight Vehicles Hold a Significant Share in the Market

Based on type, the global market is segmented into man-portable, lightweight vehicles, and heavyweight cars. Currently, lightweight vehicles hold the maximum share owing to maximum exploration activities being carried out at moderate depths. The depth of operation and the type of AUV deployed is an essential factor to be considered as the cost of deployment for different kinds of AUVs differs in parallel with the depth of operation. Heavyweight vehicles are preferred for higher depths. The increasing ultra-deepwater exploration activities in every region will drive investments for heavyweight cars during the forecast period.

By Water Depth Analysis

Rising Deepwater Exploration Activities Will Drive the Segment Growth

The global industry can be primarily bifurcated into shallow water, deepwater, and ultra-deepwater based on water depth. Currently, the maximum portion of the exploration activities is carried out in shallow and deepwater locations. But with the rising energy demand and potential unexplored resources at ultra-deepwater locations hold immense opportunities for leading exploration companies to gain huge profits. This trend has been witnessed in the last few years with activities in the North Sea, Red Sea, and the Atlantic Ocean.

By Propulsion System Analysis

Introduction of Hybrid Vehicles Which Hold Operational Advantages Will Drive Their Adoption 

The propulsion system in the global AUV for offshore oil & gas inspection repair and maintenance market is divided into the electric system, mechanical system, and hybrid system. The hybrid systems capable of using the best characteristic of AUV and ROV, such as data transmission and the ability to cover larger areas, are expected to have healthy growth during the forecast period. Among the other propulsion systems that include mechanical and electrical systems, the electrical systems are currently preferred due to batteries, which can be varied as per the requirement of the duration of the unit deployment.  


North America AUV for Offshore Oil and Gas IRM Market Size, 2020 (USD Million)

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North America dominates AUV deployment for offshore oil & gas inspection repair and maintenance services due to rigorous research and development activities. Besides, the U.S. has been a hub for AUV deployment and development for many years. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has led the pathway in enhancing the operational characteristics of AUVs to enable their use in offshore oil and gas.

In Europe, the North Sea is the major attraction for offshore oil and gas investors, as unexplored oil reserves pose the opportunity to gain huge profits. The region also has an alliance of European marine research infrastructure to meet the evolving needs of the research and industrial communities named Eurofleets.

In the Asia Pacific, China has been the undisputed leader for oil & gas productions. In terms of offshore assets, China has the largest fleet of oil & gas closely followed by India that has also witnessed steady growth. Further research and development projects are being carried out in many countries by various institutions to improve the operating time and induce better data acquisition techniques.  In the Middle East and Africa, offshore activities have increased over the years which acts as an opportunity for market players to have a stronghold of the AUV for offshore oil and gas IRM market.


Fugro, and Schlumberger to Lead with their R&D Investments and Wide Customer Reach

Among the present service providers for inspection repair and maintenance in offshore oil and gas, very few players have developed their autonomous underwater vehicles. Much of the AUV’s are undergoing testing to be ready for the market with the required capabilities. MIT has developed the fleet of AUV’s which is currently deployed across various sectors such as military and research. The fragmented market for the industry has seen numerous new technological advancements coming up to keep pace with the top-performing players. Considering all the scenarios Fugro, Technip, Schlumberger which are the leading IRM service providers for oil and gas fields and are investing in research and development of AUVs expected to lead the market in coming years.


  • Forgo (Netherlands)

  • Bluestream (Netherlands)

  • James Fisher and Sons plc (United Kingdom)

  • Boskalis (Netherlands)

  • Starke Marine (Malaysia)

  • Sapura Energy Berhad (Malaysia)

  • Petrofac (Jersey)

  • TechnipFMC (United Kingdom)

  • Oceaneering International (United States)

  • Schlumberger (United States)

  • Baker Hughes (United States)

  • Aker Solutions (Norway)

  • Houston Mechatronics (United States)

  • Forum Energy Technologies, Inc. (United States)

  • Saipem (Italy)

  • Subsea 7 (United Kingdom)

  • Saab Seaeye (Sweden)

  • Sonardyne International Ltd (United Kingdom)


  • In February 2021 - Kongsberg Maritime launched its next-generation advanced HUGIN Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) named HUGIN Endurance. The new vehicle has an enhanced operational duration of approximately 15 days, making it capable of undertaking extended survey and inspection missions far from the base without a mothership's support. Further, the vehicle is equipped with Kongsberg’s Maritime Broadband Radio (MBR) communications system, which allows it to surface and rapidly share large quantities of data with any suitably equipped installation, such as shore station, another vessel, or a wind turbine fitted with an MBR antenna.

  • In January 2021 - Dive Technologies announced the selection of Sonardyne navigation, tracking, and control technologies for its large displacement DIVE-LD autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) program. DIVE-LD AUV is a long-endurance platform that is being developed to meet the needs of a variety of mission types in the commercial, research, and defense sectors.  DIVE-LD AUV has a diameter of 48 inches and is 19 feet long, designed for operations at depths of up to 6000 m. Additionally, DIVE-LD AUV has also been equipped with Sonar dyne’s AvTrak 6, a combined transponder, modem, and emergency relocator beacon.


An Infographic Representation of AUV for Offshore Oil and Gas IRM Market

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The report on the global AUV for offshore oil & gas inspection repair and maintenance market highlights leading regions worldwide to offer a better understanding to the user. Furthermore, the market research report provides insights into the latest industry trends and analyzes technologies deployed at a rapid pace at a global level. It further highlights some of the growth-stimulating factors and restraints, helping the reader gain in-depth knowledge about the industry.

Report Scope & Segmentation



Study Period


Base Year


Forecast Period


Historical Period



   Value (USD Million)

By Type

  • Man-Portable

  • Light Weight Vehicle (LWV)

  • Heavy Weight Vehicle (HWV)

By Water Depth

  • Shallow Water

  • Deepwater

  • Ultra-Deepwater

By Propulsion System

  • Electric System

  • Mechanical System

  • Hybrid System

By Geography

  • North America

    • By Type

    • By Water Depth

    • By Propulsion System

    • By Country

      • The U.S.

      • Canada

  • Europe

    • By Type

    • By Water Depth

    • By Propulsion System

    • By Country

      • UK

      • Norway

      • Netherlands

      • Rest of Europe

  • Asia Pacific

    • By Type

    • By Water Depth

    • By Propulsion System

    • By Country

      • China

      • India

      • Australia

      • Southeast Asia

      • Rest of Asia Pacific

  • Latin America

    • By Type

    • By Water Depth

    • By Propulsion System

    • By Country

      • Brazil

      • Mexico

      • Rest of Latin America

  • Middle East & Africa

    • By Type

    • By Water Depth

    • By Propulsion System

    • By Country

      • Saudi Arabia

      • UAE

      • Iran

      • West Africa

      • Rest of the Middle East & Africa

Frequently Asked Questions

Fortune Business Insights says that the global market size was USD 422.4 million in 2020 and is projected to reach USD 1,818.7 million by 2028.

In 2020, the North American market stood at USD 127.0 million.

The market is likely to grow at a CAGR of 20.6%, exhibiting substantial growth over the forecast period (2021-2028).

The lightweight vehicles (LWV) segment is anticipated to dominate this market during the forecast period.

Rapidly increasing adoption of unmanned underwater vehicles for offshore IRM services is the key market driver.

Fugro, Schlumberger, and Technip are some of the key participants operating across the industry.

North America dominated the market in terms of share in 2020.

The technological advancements in exploration activities have enabled the oil & gas operators to carry out exploration activities at higher depths and under harsh environmental conditions, which were not carried out earlier. This has ultimately driven the demand for precise inspection and management services and therefore augmenting the growth.

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AUV for Offshore Oil and Gas IRM Market Size, Share and Global Industry Trend Forecast till 2026
  • May, 2021
  • 2020
  • 2017-2019
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