Aberdeen-registered Unmanned Production Buoy has signed a memorandum of understanding with AMEC, covering the supply of engineering and construction management services for three unmanned platforms in the North Sea.
Owned by entrepreneur Richard Selwa, the company believes its buoys could be used to make big savings on the costs of developing offshore oil and gas fields.
"Our UPB solution makes many late-life and marginal field offshore assets economically viable," said Mr Selwa. "The UPB concept provides an attractive solution when capital intensive options such as Floating Production Storage and Offload vessels, and manned installations are uneconomic."
The company's first planned project is the redevelopment of the Angus and Fife fields in the UK North Sea. It was awarded licences covering three fields in the most recent UK offshore licensing round.
It is also considering using the system in fields around Ireland and Denmark.
AMEC said it was delighted to be working with UPB to "help push the boundaries of offshore oil and gas technology".
UPB faces competition from Enegi Oil, which intends to use unmanned buoys supplied by AB Technology to produce from North Sea fields.
In July, Manchester-based Enegi and ABT Technology signed their first development deal in the North Sea by agreeing to acquire a 50% stake in the 10 million barrel Fyne field off eastern Scotland from Antrim Energy.
In 2011 AB Technology signed a strategic partnership with Wood Group, the oil services firm, to commercialise technology for an unmanned oil production buoy.