• 5 minutes Rage Without Proof: Maduro Accuses U.S. Official Of Plotting Venezuela Invasion
  • 11 minutes IEA Sees Global Oil Supply Tightening More Quickly In 2019
  • 14 minutes Paris Is Burning Over Climate Change Taxes -- Is America Next?
  • 9 hours U.S. Senate Advances Resolution To End Military Support For Saudis In Yemen
  • 2 hours Let's Just Block the Sun, Shall We?
  • 2 hours Alberta govt to construct another WCS processing refinery
  • 9 hours Waste-to-Energy Chugging Along
  • 14 hours What will the future hold for nations dependent on high oil prices.
  • 13 hours Venezuela continues to sink in misery
  • 17 hours Contradictory: Euro Zone Takes Step To Deeper Integration, Key Issues Unresolved
  • 22 hours UK Power and loss of power stations
  • 8 hours Regular Gas dropped to $2.21 per gallon today
  • 22 hours EPA To Roll Back Carbon Rule On New Coal Plants
  • 1 day No, The U.S. Is Not A Net Exporter Of Crude Oil
  • 1 day Zohr Giant Gas Field Increases Production Six-Fold
  • 5 hours Sane Take on the Russia-Ukraine Case
  • 3 hours Sleeping Hydrocarbon Giant
Alt Text

Are Floating Reactors The Future Of Nuclear Energy?

Russia’s Rosatom is a world…

Alt Text

The Next Big Development In Offshore Oil & Gas

German tech company Siemens announced…

Alt Text

OPEC Surprises Markets With Last Minute Deal

Oil markets appeared to have…

Irina Slav

Irina Slav

Irina is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.

More Info

Trending Discussions

Oil Pipelines To Be Inspected By Robots

The robots are coming to oil and gas. This message is something we’ve been hearing a lot lately, what with autonomous trucks, piloted by Canada’s Suncor, to automated drilling rigs, robots that collect seismic survey data, and even self-sufficient, remotely operated entirely submerged oil production platforms. And that list is likely to grow in the future.

Besides all these major robotic applications for the oil and gas industry, there are also robots that can conduct pipeline inspections from the inside. An array of four such robots will later this year be used to inspect a 40-year branch of the Trans-Alaska pipeline system at the Valdez terminal.

The robots were developed by a Russia-based company, Diakont, which says that its pipeline crawlers—Remotely Operated Diagnostic Inspection System or RODIS crawlers—supply highly accurate data and they do it in real time, which helps with timely decision-making. From a single access point, the company says, its robots can examine up to 1,800 feet of pipes with diameters ranging between 8 and 55 inches.

Alaska Dispatch News reporter Alex DeMarban writes that the four robots, all with human names, by the way, will use lasers and a technology similar to ultrasound to check a 350-foot underground pipeline section for signs of corrosion. The pipeline branch feeds crude from the Trans-Alaska pipeline to storage tanks at Valdez.

This is not the first-time robots will be used for internal pipeline inspection, replacing the so-called smart pigs, or pipeline inspection gauges, that rely on magnetic sensors to detect corrosion and cracks. However, the smart pigs are quite long and cannot be used to inspect branches off the main pipeline.

DeMarban quotes a spokeswoman for the Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. as saying that in the last few years, the likes of Alice, Dee, Fiona, and Gary have been deployed to several underground branches of the Trans-Alaska pipeline that were never before inspected internally because of the impossibility of access for the smart pigs. All the robots need is a clean pipe, flushed with hot water and detergent or diesel fuel. Related: Is $75 Oil Still Possible?

The robots have retractable legs that allow them to basically circle the diameter of the pipeline, go into vertical sections and turn other corners. They are not wireless, however – they are connected to their operator by a cord via which the data they receive from their surroundings is transmitted. And here’s one fun fact from Diakont’s U.S. management: the three robots with female names got them because they are a bit smarter than the “male” one. They can crawl through changing diameters mid-pipe, the company’s director of pipeline services Brian Carlson told DeMarban.

Diakont says that its robots can be used for all sorts of pipelines, including offshore ones – an application that should have a bright future in light of all the worries around underwater oil and gas pipelines. A robot inspection could quench these worries—albeit temporarily—much better than a company statement full of verbal assurances.

Could all these robots one day combine into an almost completely automated supply chain? It’s not impossible. Automated rigs will drill the wells, extraction will also be automatic and so will field maintenance. How soon this will happen, however, is another question.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:




Back to homepage

Trending Discussions


Leave a comment

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News