Robotic and drone technology could transform the offshore oil market

Oil businesses are now exploring the potential of utilising robotic technology and drones to perform difficult and hazardous tasks in offshore locations. These devices can reduce costs, improve overall performance and safety by minimising the amount of exposure to dangerous conditions.

The oil major, BP, is currently using a robotic system to inspect the Thunder Horse platform in the Gulf of Mexico. The magnetic device is equipped with an innovative camera system. The inspection robot is also supported with additional drones and cameras that can record every specific detail. Executives at BP have suggested that this technology can reduce inspections by nearly fifty percent and also eliminate the need for people to work in hazardous conditions.

Since the implementation of the robotic-drone project at Thunder Horse, BP has now been looking at developing additional projects at several other nearby platforms. At Cherry Point refinery in Washington State, robotic devices inspect systems by using ultrasound technology to identify any faults or splits on the surface. The robot system has decreased inspections times to approximately one hour, from a previous figure of 23 hours generally spent to physically inspect the units…

 

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