Autonomous Systems and the Digital Oilfield

Autonomous Systems and the Digital Oilfield

Sean Halpin — October 19, 2017

Onshore, we have shown that semi-autonomous robots have a place in industrial automation. These robots are present in automated warehouses and are generating buzz in the transportation industry.

Offshore it’s a different story. It’s much harder, and much more expensive to instrument and monitor an offshore oilfield. Often, the equipment on the seafloor must be physically interrogated by Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs), which is expensive. Increasingly, regulatory bodies and multi-national oil companies are requiring smarter oil and gas fields, and this is leading the industry towards the Digital Oilfield.

The idea is pretty simple: “smarter” oilfields will be safer to operate and will increase production, thereby lowering costs. Making the Digital Oilfield a reality is more complex. It requires:

  • Instrumenting the structures in the oilfield
  • Monitoring the instruments
  • Analyzing the data and applying the results in a meaningful way

We think technology like the Wave Glider plays an important, critical role in monitoring offshore instruments, providing a safer and more cost-effective alternative to vessels or data loggers.

In the October issue of Offshore Engineer, we contributed an article on the role of autonomous vehicles in the Digital Oilfield. It is an important topic for the international energy industry, and I invite you to read the article to find out how Wave Gliders can help make the Digital Oilfield a reality.