Robot Removes Operators From Extreme Environments

Source: NREC.

Robots have the potential to move human operators away from uncomfortable, potentially risky environments and into comfortable, safe control rooms. Remotely operated vehicles have already achieved this for subsea fields; however, before this approach can be extended to surface facilities, the robots must be reliable and safe in potentially explosive environments. The Sensabot robot has addressed these challenges and could be the foundation on which future generations of robots are built.


In 2010, a technology plan was prepared that focused on the specific challenges facing projects in the Kashagan Field in Kazakhstan:

  • Climatic temperatures typically ranging from –25°C to +35°C
  • High hydrogen sulfide concentrations in produced gas
  • Raw-gas-injection pressures as high as 690 bara
  • Ice-bound unmanned artificial islands in the winter

These challenges require operators to wear breathing apparatuses and cumbersome insulated clothing in winter that hampers their movement. In summer, the breathing apparatus creates the risk of heat exhaustion.

One contribution to the technology plan was the concept of remotely operated robots. These could remain permanently on location and could be driven by operators located in a safe environment.

This article, written by Special Publications Editor Adam Wilson, contains highlights of paper SPE 181409, “A Robot That Removes Operators From Extreme Environments,” by Ian Peerless, SPE, IPKA Consultancy, and Adam Serblowski and Berry Mulder, Shell Global Solutions International, prepared for the 2016 SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition, Dubai, 26–28 September. The paper has not been peer reviewed.
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Robot Removes Operators From Extreme Environments

01 August 2017

Volume: 69 | Issue: 8