Seafloor Production Tools

There are three Seafloor Production Tools (SPTs), the Auxiliary Cutter (AC), the Bulk Cutter (BC) and the Collecting Machine (CM). Nautilus' Seafloor Production tools combine existing technology from the offshore oil and gas sector with rock cutting technologies used in land-based operations. The SPTs were designed and built at Soil Machine Dynamic’s facility in Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK. To read more on the current status of the SPTs click here

How they will work?

Rock is disaggregated on the seafloor by the AC and the BC. They excavate material by a continuous cutting process, not unlike coal or other bulk continuous mining machines on land. The AC is a preparatory machine that deals with rough terrain and creates benches for the other machines to work. It will operate on tracks with spud assistance and has a boom mounted cutting head for flexibility.

The second machine, the BC, has higher cutting capacity but will be limited to working benches created by the AC. Both machines leave cut material on the seafloor for collection by the CM. The CM, also a large robotic vehicle, will collect the cut material (sand, gravel, silt) by drawing it in as seawater slurry with internal pumps and pushing it through a flexible pipe to the Riser and Lifting System.

The SPT design is an extension of existing subsea trenching equipment combining hard rock mining technology with that of subsea remote system technology. The SPTs will be deployed from the Production Support Vessel (PSV) using a lifting frame and operated via a power and control umbilical.

To read more on the current status of the SPTs click here

To see more of the seafloor production equipment click here

To see an animation of how it will work click here

Auxiliary Cutter

Auxiliary Cutter
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Bulk Cutter

Bulk Cutter
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Collecting Machine

Collecting Machine
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Auxiliary Cutter

Bulk Cutter

Collecting Machine