Equinor recently completed a logistics operation with a drone to an offshore installation. The drone flew a 3D-printed diesel nozzle holder for the Troll A lifeboat system from the Mongstad base to the North Sea.
The test flight, which spanned around 80 km to the Troll field, took about one hour at an altitude of approximately 5,000 ft. It was the first of its kind, where an actual freight operation was conducted over a lengthy distance to an operating offshore installation.
This type of drone used, a Camcopter s-100 model, has already logged around 70,000 flying hours from other types of operations. The drone is more than 4 m long and weighs in excess of 100 kg. It has a cruising speed of more than 150 km/hr and can carry cargo weighing up to 50 kg.
In addition to conducting logistics operations, airborne drones can also be used for inspections and observations of the technical condition of offshore installations and onshore facilities.
Equinor said it chose a 3D printed part for its first drone transport offshore because 3D printing is another rapidly growing technology that will transform the way offshore companies work.
Researchers from the Offshore Robotics for the Certification of Assets (ORCA) Hub – the largest academic center in the world for research into robotics technology for offshore energy infrastructure – have unveiled a new method of communication that allows machines and humans to speak the same language and understand each other’s actions in real time.
Named MIRIAM, which stands for Multimodal Intelligent Interaction for Autonomous Systems, the communication method enables people to work with autonomous robots. Users can ask robots questions, understand their actions and receive mission status through a digital twin. MIRIAM uses natural language, allowing users to speak or text queries and receive clear explanations about a robot’s behavior in an intuitive way. By improving how robots communicate, MIRIAM will help build user confidence and help companies to overcome potential adoption barriers.
MIRIAM will be used by a team that will integrate Heriot-Watt University’s research with the expertise of Phusion, an engineering software firm, and Merkle Aquila, a data science firm. They are the latest additions to Total’s multimillion-pound research consortium that is working to develop autonomous capabilities with multiple robotic systems for work on offshore energy installations.
MIRIAM will initially work with a tracked robot that will be deployed at Total’s Shetland Gas Plant.
Aker BP recently worked with DNV GL to remotely perform inspections on three of its offshore cranes on the Valhall Flank West and Skarv field. On both installations, crane operators and technicians onboard the platforms used tablets to take video and photos based on an agreed checklist.
DNV GL says it has seen increased demand for virtual verification and certification services for topside and subsea equipment. So far this year, the organization has undertaken more than 4,000 remote inspections for the oil and gas industry.
Reelwell recently completed a full-scale demonstration of its DualLink powered and wired drill pipe on the NORCE Ulrigg test rig in September. The drillstring, consisting of 96 joints/3,058 ft of DualLink pipe, performed without failure for more than 80 hours operating in hole, drilling granite down to 4,213 ft. The test demonstrated:
- High-speed bi-directional telemetry greater than 61,000 bps;
- Power transmission of up to 500 W from surface to the batteryless BHA downhole; and
- 100% uptime reliability of telemetry and power transmission.
DualLink was used to power and communicate with downhole tools provided by a major service company, along with Reelwell’s along-string measurement and high-speed MWD replacement tools.