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Oil and gas industry gearing up for robotics adoption, says GlobalData

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Oil and gas industry gearing up for robotics adoption, says GlobalData

 

The oil and gas industry is gearing up to deploy robotics across a wide range of applications in the upstream, midstream and downstream segments, primarily to drive productivity and efficiency amid volatility in crude prices, according to GlobalData.

Oil and gas industry gearing up for robotics adoption, says GlobalData

The company’s latest thematic report: ‘Robotics in Oil & Gas’ reveals that the complex challenges, particularly in the exploration and production of hydrocarbons, are prompting companies to explore the potential of complexly engineered robotics solutions to work autonomously or in conjunction with field operators.

According to GlobalData, the global robotics industry is set to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 16% from US$98.2 billion in 2018 to US$277.8 billion in 2025.

GlobalData’s thematic report identifies oil and gas companies such as Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, Gazprom, Repsol, Equinor, Total, Saudi Aramco, Sinopec and ADNOC, as having considerable exposure to the robotics theme.

Ravindra Puranik, Oil and Gas Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Recent technological advancements are enabling operators to deploy robots in terrestrial, aerial and underwater configurations to carry out tasks that may be too risky to be undertaken by field personnel. Moreover, ageing infrastructure is necessitating regular inspection of these assets, and autonomous drones are being used due to their sheer number and issues related to accessibility.”

However, the two major challenges in deploying robotics technologies in any industry are cost and reliability. Robotics are proving to be fairly reliable in enhancing operational efficiency in certain applications, such as material handling and preparation of land for drilling, especially when they are remotely managed by field operators. Nevertheless, it is yet unclear if the total cost of ownership of robots and drones has a positive effect on overall operational expenditure.

Puranik concludes: “To overcome this concern, robotics technology providers and oilfield service providers are devising new business models, such as Robotics-as-a-service (RaaS) to drive the deployment of these technologies in field operations and reduce uncertainty over the total cost of ownership of robots.”

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I have a 'feeling' that a large part of this push for robotics is simply the firms providing the robots going out of their way to develop robots for every single task presently performed by a human being. I have no doubt that they can, but is it necessary or even worth the effort?

Taking the human out of the loop has certain risks besides the obvious downside of putting people out of work.

I imagine that in many instances robots are great manufacturing tools, but the post mentions exploration of oil and gas. Most of this takes place in remote locations or offshore where the daily spreadcost is significant. What do you do if a robot fails? Chances are the entire process gets shut down as each process is interdependent. 

Now you have a rig shutdown costing you money and you need a tech, and possibly parts, to get it up and running. An 'old school' rig would keep running while the problem was fixed by the trained rig crew, with parts from the warehouse.

What I am trying to say is that perhaps we are trying to make applications for robotics where they really are not applicable....forget the human cost of jobs lost.

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https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkoetsier/2018/04/23/usa-ranks-9th-in-global-robotics-automation-job-loss-report-after-korea-germany-japan-canada/#68b1f63b3f62

This is the human cost of robotics. I would think that the richer, developed countries are embracing robotics due to their aging populations, but suggesting that developing countries should embrace them is fraught with social costs.

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On 6/24/2019 at 6:18 AM, Douglas Buckland said:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkoetsier/2018/04/23/usa-ranks-9th-in-global-robotics-automation-job-loss-report-after-korea-germany-japan-canada/#68b1f63b3f62

This is the human cost of robotics. I would think that the richer, developed countries are embracing robotics due to their aging populations, but suggesting that developing countries should embrace them is fraught with social costs.

Where a task can be automated, robots produce higher quality products at a lower price point than any human labor.  That leaves developing nations with two options:
1)  Automate, and retain some jobs.
2)  Don't automate, and retain no jobs.

One could argue that they should insulate their economies from developed nations and grow naturally.  I would argue that if they were capable of that, they would have done so already.

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