All Eyes On Safety

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Oil & gas industry eyes robots and drones for safety

Autonomous machines such as unmanned autonomous vehicles (UAVs) and robotics are the newest tools in various stages of research and implementation for addition to the oil and gas industry’s safety arsenal. Not only will these remote operators be able to function in environments that might pose a danger to humans, they will also be able to collect data that will transform the way energy companies monitor their operations, leading to improved safety, reliability and operational efficiency.

On unmanned platforms advanced drones and a variety of robots could make it possible to more effectively keep tabs on oil and gas operations both onshore and offshore.

By inspecting pipelines and infrastructure such as tanks, rigs and power lines, autonomous machines will help protect workers, communities and the environment. And as they enhance safety, they will also streamline inspection processes.

Top Image: Puma AE (All Environment) small unmanned aircraft system. Bottom left: A bird's eye view using drone technology.

Top Image: Puma AE (All Environment) small unmanned aircraft system. Bottom left: A bird's eye view using drone technology.

On unmanned platforms advanced drones and a variety of robots could make it possible to more effectively keep tabs on oil and gas operations both onshore and offshore.

By inspecting pipelines and infrastructure such as tanks, rigs and power lines, autonomous machines will help protect workers, communities and the environment. And as they enhance safety, they will also streamline inspection processes.

UAVs and robots go where humans can’t

Unmanned vehicles can inspect and monitor areas that are potentially dangerous or inaccessible to workers. Here’s a glimpse of where they could have an insider view:

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  • Flare systems, heat exchangers and reactors

    Use HD cameras, infrared sensors and other technologies to conduct inspections

Robots save the day

With advances in sensor and camera technology, robots are opening new vistas in the efficacy and timeliness of safety monitoring operations. They could:

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  • data collector

    data collector

    Collect a volume and range of data impossible to access by human inspection

  • digitized data

    digitized data

    Provide digitized data that can be interpreted by analytics

  • replication

    replication

    Permit historical review and replication of events

  • minimize preparation

    minimize preparation

    Minimize preparation time that would be required for human inspection

  • inspection

    inspection

    Frequently avoid process shutdown as part of inspection

  • data collector

    Collect a volume and range of data impossible to access by human inspection

  • digitized data

    Provide digitized data that can be interpreted by analytics

  • replication

    Permit historical review and replication of events

Tiny robots, tiny apps

Contactless sensors on UAVs and contact sensors on robots are more useful than ever now that more are miniaturized.

Infrared sensors will be able to detect minute temperature changes that show potential equipment failure or maintenance needs, and the latest camera technology will be able to image detail that indicates leaks in joints and valves.

Robot scientists augment human brains

In addition to monitoring conditions, sensing devices on robots will be able to gather physical data useful to the oil industry:

  • Metal ion count

  • pH measurement

  • Fluoroscopy

  • Meteorological conditions

  • Microbiological and ultrasonic testing for corrosion control

  • Environmental monitoring and leak detection

  • Metal ion count

  • pH measurement

  • Fluoroscopy

  • Meteorological conditions

  • Microbiological and ultrasonic testing for corrosion control

  • Environmental monitoring and leak detection

More and better data enhances inspection and monitoring

Autonomous machines increasingly can gather better data in less time to facilitate a timely and appropriate inspection and maintenance process.

  • Uniformity of data gathered from different locations allows comparative analysis

  • Less interference from weather or operational delays means
    fewer data gaps

  • More ability to combine digitized data from different sources and locations to enhance knowledge level and predictive capabilities

Multi-eyed monitoring

Thanks to data that can be supplied by autonomous machines, oil companies are gaining the ability to more effectively inspect and monitor their infrastructure:

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The growing capability to more quickly monitor and analyze enhanced data streams will boost safety and increase efficiency.

Robots and drones: Up to the task

In challenging conditions and remote locales, autonomous machines will be able to bring the right tools for the job.

Tools
  • Wireless tech and sensitive collection devices
  • Redundant and overlapping systems
  • Continuity and integrated data flow
Benefits
  • 24/7 monitoring, timely and appropriate responses
  • Reduced downtime
  • Closer scrutiny of safety and operations

Assuring the safety and reliability of operations is a key priority for the energy industry. Autonomous machines are bringing new technologies to bear that allow oil and gas producers to keep a closer eye on their infrastructure. UAVs and robotics will facilitate a wider range of data collected in a timely fashion to enhance safety through improved inspection and monitoring capabilities.