Photo: Taurob's autonomous robot; Source: Taurob

Equinor to use Taurob robots for offshore inspection

Norwegian oil major Equinor has teamed up with inspection robotics specialist Taurob for the use of autonomous robots on its oil and gas installations.

The Austria-based Taurob said on Tuesday that it would use its autonomous ATEX-certified robots for routine inspection and maintenance tasks on Equinor’s offshore oil and gas installations.

The company’s Taurob Inspector robot is the result of an intensive two-year collaboration between Taurob, French energy giant Total, and UK’s OGTC.

Total was the first energy major to implement robotic inspection on their offshore Alwyn platform and onshore Shetland Gas Plant.

Matthias Biegl, managing director and co-founder of Taurob, emphasizes his company’s focus on safety: “Our goal is to build trust with operators and raise acceptance on site.

Going through thorough certification procedures with the customers and their HSEQ and electrical departments is as important as the development process itself. Our goal is to build trust with operators and raise acceptance on-site“.

Equinor decided in 2019 to join Total, OGTC, and Taurob in the ARGOS joint industry project to develop a completely new robot, capable of performing autonomous manipulation operations.

The robot is able to work in gas environments without risk of ignition, can perform visual inspections, read dials, level gauges and valve positions, navigate through narrow pathways and up and down stairs, measure temperature and gas concentration, and detect as well as and navigate around obstacles and humans. The robot can also be operated by workers offshore without the requirement for onsite robotics experts.

We expect the result to be a robust and reliable robot, with maintenance intervals of up to only once per year; ideal for normally unmanned facilities where human intervention is rare. As a so-calledwork-class robot, it will physically interact with the installation”, Biegl said.

According to the Austrian inspection robotics specialist, the first tests will be performed this year.