The robotized ﬁeld operator
Trends suggest there will be new solutions to
build on existing infrastructure and to develop
new oil and gas ﬁelds
By Arne Ulrik he aim, in almost all industries, is to have Camera mounted on robots
Bindingsbo, a high level of automation to increase pro- An orange robot moves around the process site,
Charlotte Skourup, ductivity and efﬁciency. performs a combination of routine inspections,
and John Pretlove Industrial robots, which have been one im- and replaces a safety valve. This robot works
portant technology enabler in achieving this along side two others.
aim, perform repetitive, heavy, dirty, and dan- A human operator located hundreds of miles
For an extended
version, go to
@ gerous tasks.
Within the oil and gas industry, robots have
away in the process control center supervises all
three. The human supervisor has deﬁned and
intech/20091002. worked in very speciﬁc niche applications initiated the maintenance tasks in response to
where the main driver has been safety, but this a condition-based monitoring report generated
trend is now changing. by the automation system. With overall respon-
Oil and gas companies have started to explore sibility for safety, the operator instructs the au-
broader applications where robots may also tomation system to reschedule the subtasks.
have a positive impact on productivity and ef- Using the 3-D camera mounted on one of the
ﬁciency. One such application is the remote op- robots, the operator inspects the machinery
eration of oil and gas ﬁelds, particularly those in and identiﬁes further components that require
hazardous environments. removal and replacement.
Although this scene is set sometime in the fu-
ture, it is not far from reality. Some aspects of
it are already happening in space and deep be-
neath the oceans, where humans cannot easily
perform tasks. The scenario shows how robotics
technology could take a step further and move
into oil and gas facilities to improve health,
safety, and the environment (HSE) and increas