Driving productivity using robotics in the O&G pipelines

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July 5, 2023




Driving productivity using robotics in the O&G pipelines

Managing and maintaining pipelines is one of the most critical aspects of the oil and gas (O&G) industry. While the upkeep of O&G pipelines is fundamental for worldwide monetary development, they are inclined to catastrophic events and outside factors. Companies are shifting to embrace technologies such as robotics, drones, modern testing methods, non-destructive testing (NDT) tools, and several other techniques to minimize downtime and increase productivity. The use of robots in O&G pipeline applications both in onshore and offshore conditions has reduced troublesome undertakings. Also, it has an impact on improving the efficiency of a task, ensuring higher and more consistent quality.
Robots and drone technologies make exploration, drilling, production, operation, and decommissioning much easier. With different types of robots for different pipeline operations, the use of robotics has set a safety precedent with its innovative features. Robotics may also make use of other emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), autonomous technologies, analytics, and other hardware, and software tools to enable safe, efficient, and faster work processes.
Many companies are opting for robotics to help them with sustainability-related disclosures, reporting, and data auditing by providing automated consolidation and intelligent monitoring features. Experts claim that robots, being highly advanced technologies, can be first responders to safety incidents.

Improving efficiency and safety in the O&G workplace.

The rising use of robots in the O&G area has reduced the possibilities of life risk for laborers and has expanded work fulfillment. Robots contain advanced frameworks, sensors, and actuators that permit a more secure way to deal with performing errands while managing risk factors. Robots have applications across the oil and gas pipeline industry in various tasks including conducting aerial or seismic surveys, monitoring, and maintenance activities in remote and underwater locations. The most obvious safety benefit of using robots is the reduced chances of exposure to mechanical hazards during the maintenance of oil and gas pipelines. Robotic technologies can also eliminate other risks to workers such as loud and excessive noise, high levels of dust, extreme temperatures, or chemical exposure. This allows workers to focus on value-added activities. Robots can also help automate repetitive tasks, pick-and-place operations, assembly applications, etc.

Role of AI in the development of the O&G pipeline industry

From establishment to execution of drilling, artificial intelligence innovation helps O&G sectors to find ways to forecast faults and anomalies. A few million dollars are spent every year on pipeline maintenance by oil and gas organizations. Small robots capture videos using conical and hyperbolic mirrors and examine the inner surface of the pipelines to help improve the pipeline inspection process.
The deployment of many new robots is underway in the O&G industry, including terrestrial crawlers, quadrupeds, aerial drones, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs), and remotely operated vehicles (ROVs). AI-based robots are the designed tools for inspecting various asset structures, equipped with multiple onboard NDT sensors that detect corrosion and cracks. Additionally, drones play a crucial role in conducting surveys, refining equipment, detecting leaks caused by corrosion, and performing material handling tasks.
Many organizations are working on multiple projects to digitally transform exploration and production operations. Aker solutions partnered with SparkCognition to identify suboptimal operations and impending failures before they occur. Shell has partnered with Microsoft to incorporate IoT into offshore operations. JettyRobot is one of the leading companies that develop pipeline inspection robots and HVAC systems to work in any pipeline or duct. These cutting-edge technologies share insights, bring in data sets and enable target analysis for pipelines.

Autonomous robots in O&G pipelines

Almost all O&G pipelines are located underwater or in undeveloped regions, which presents engineering challenges. Robots are autonomous machines that provide unimaginable capabilities and do what humans take more resources and time to complete. Digitizing oil and gas pipelines with robotics technology can help organizations to do better decision-making with accurate data. Multiple sensors collect data and detect and transmit information such as movements, vibrations, leakages, corrosion, and others. Leading companies like TotalEnergies and IBM are collaborating to develop predictive drilling analytics robots. This will aid in the accurate and precise drilling of pipelines no matter what environment it is operating in. These drilling systems identify the Rate of penetration (ROP) during drilling to measure trips, bit change, and downtime in a pipeline.
Similarly, Equinor developed Echo with predictive maintenance features to suit various use cases of the oil and gas pipeline value chain in the North Sea. It provides real-time analysis of pipeline installations and aims to provide safety in various oil and gas industry operations.
Many companies such as Pipetel Technologies Inc, Digital Surveillance Inc (DSI), and HoneyBee Robotics are working on individual robotics projects, making intelligent excavation systems and autonomous drills and sampling systems which helps diversify robot use cases within the industry.

The Bottom Line

A recent report states that the robot industry was worth $52.9 B in 2021 and experts anticipate a 10% CAGR growth in the upcoming decade. In spite of the way that the utilization of robots in the O&G business has been for quite a while now, the use of present-day technologies is extending its jobs.
Today, the O&G industry utilizes robots for various purposes, including conducting surveys on remote locations, testing materials, and maintaining pipelines. Industry pioneers like ANYbiotics, Applied Effect Advanced mechanics, Cyberhawk, Nauticus Mechanical technology, and Rigarm are creating robots to assume control of more than a few high-stake oil and gas undertakings across the value chain.
Robots are currently turning out to be further developed with the Internet of Things (IoT) and are extending their contribution in the O&G business’ development motor. With the AI-based developments in the O&G pipeline sector, the industry is continually investigating how to address the current difficulties and challenges of the industry robots.

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