Aker BP to Test Robots and Drones at Skarv

Spot, the quadruped robot developed by Boston Dynamics, is one of the technologies slated to be tested on Skarv. (Photo: Aker BP)
Spot, the quadruped robot developed by Boston Dynamics, is one of the technologies slated to be tested on Skarv. (Photo: Aker BP)

Aker BP said it plans to trial robots and drones for autonomous inspection, data capture and automatic report generation on its operated Skarv installation in the Norwegian Sea during 2020.

The Norwegian focused exploration and production firm announced Tuesday it is working with industrial artificial intelligence (AI) software-as-a-service (SaaS) company Cognite to explore how robotics systems can be used to make offshore operations safer, more efficient and more sustainable.

The robotics systems will be tested to gauge their performance tasks such as aerial and underwater inspections, responding to leaks, performing work that takes humans out of harm’s way, and providing onshore operators with telepresence on offshore installations.

Among the robots involved in the initiative is Spot, the quadruped robot developed by Boston Dynamics, showcased at Aker BP’s Capital Markets Update on Tuesday. Cognite and Aker BP have tested Spot’s mobility in simulated oil and gas environments to ensure that it can access locations in these facilities too difficult to access through traditional automation.

“Digitalization will be one of the differentiators between the oil companies of the world, in order to be able to deliver low cost and low emissions. Our vision is to digitalize all our operations from cradle to grave in order to increase productivity, enhance quality and improve the safety of our employees. Exploring the potential of robotics offshore underpin our digital journey,” said Karl Johnny Hersvik, CEO of Aker BP.

“We’re excited to see innovative partners such as Cognite validating Spot’s ability to reduce risk to humans and provide value for the energy industry,” said Michael Perry, Vice President of Business Development at Boston Dynamics.

Cognite’s main software product, Cognite Data Fusion (CDF), will serve as the data infrastructure for the initiative. CDF, a cloud-based industrial data operations and intelligence platform, integrates seamlessly with existing information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) applications in the cloud, edge, and on-premise. CDF contextually enriches industrial data, providing an open, unified industrial data model that is easily accessible for humans and applications, enabling better analytical operations and data-driven decisions.

“The key to Aker BP and Cognite’s robotics initiative is that it combines industry-leading hardware and software. By ingesting data collected by robots into Cognite Data Fusion, Aker BP engineers will be able to see it in context with data from across the company’s operations and make data-driven decisions that improve efficiency and safety,” said Dr. John Markus Lervik, CEO of Cognite.

Skarv FPSO (Photo: Aker BP)

Aker BP’s northernmost producing field, Skarv is located in the northern part of the Norwegian Sea, approximately 210 kilometers off the coast of Sandnessjøen, in 350-450 meters water depth.

The field came on stream in December 2012 and is developed with a floating production, storage and offloading unit (FPSO) and has one of the worlds’ largest gas processing plants offshore. Subsea wells are tied back to the FPSO from the subsea templates.

Aker BP is operator with 23.84% stake. Its partners in the field are Equinor (36.16%), Wintersall DEA (28.08%) and PGNiG (11.92%)

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