Photo: Illustration; Source: Wood

Wood collects funding for autonomous robotics project

UK’s oilfield services company Wood has secured nearly $3 million in funding in Canada for an autonomous robotics project, which is expected to support the oil and gas industry recovery and create new work opportunities for locals, thus, boosting the firm’s headcount.

Nowadays, robotics – not just subsea and aerial but also onshore both in upstream and downstream processes – can be seen as a game-changing technology, which is continuing to revolutionise the oil and gas industry as industry giants such as BP, Aker BP, Equinor, ExxonMobil and Shell are increasingly testing autonomous robots in their facilities. Wood is another industry player, who uses advanced software and combines robotics with engineering to enable facilities’ automation.

In its latest statement on Thursday, Wood confirmed it had received funding from the Canadian Province of Newfoundland and Labrador to maximise employment for residents and support the recovery of the offshore oil and gas industry in the area.

Wood informed that the project, which aims to establish an autonomous robotic inspection and maintenance offering in the region, was secured under the Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Oil and Gas Industry Recovery Assistance Fund.

Paul Leonard, Wood’s President for Operations in the Americas, remarked: “Wood is partnering with clients to adopt digital solutions to drive innovation and shape the future of our industries. We are delighted to receive funding from the Newfoundland and Labrador government to accelerate our autonomous robotic inspection program and value the opportunity to provide new employment prospects to the residents of the province.”

The firm’s proposal for the development of autonomous robotic inspection service for land and topsides oil and gas facilities was one of 26 proposals to successfully receive funding under the program and Wood received nearly $3 million from the fund, which totalled approximately $35.5 million.

At the time, Andrew Furey, Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, commented: “As we prepare for the transition to renewable energy, we do it knowing that oil and gas will be needed for the foreseeable future. Our government will continue to work to support the women and men who work in the oil and gas industry as we collaborate with industry to support new innovative ideas to further reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Furthermore, the robotics project’s primary focus is on supporting onshore and offshore oil and gas infrastructure assets while its successful completion could result in the deployment of multiple robots, enabling Wood to support future developments in the province.

The company revealed that the robotic inspection offering will create a variety of new technical roles to customise the robots and develop inspection software to analyse the visual, thermal, methane, and acoustic data they collect.

In addition, the detailed data will enable the team to monitor the integrity of the assets, allowing for earlier detection of leaks, corrosion, and anomalous vibrations and temperatures, which will provide an opportunity to make timely decisions on maintenance and repairs.  

Wood expects this capability to improve the safety of personnel offshore, reduce carbon emissions, and drive low-cost sustainable operations.

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When it comes to Wood’s plans to increase its headcount, it is worth noting that the firm also revealed earlier this month that a recruitment drive is underway for an additional 200 roles due to a year of strategic growth in the Middle East region following a suite of contract awards and strategic framework renewals.