The trends of using digitization and robotics are increasingly being seen as a way to meet the requirements of the industry to make step-change and permanent reductions in cost, while improving asset integrity.
There are many challenges involved in introducing new technology like this, however. These include managing changes in legislation and traditional working practices, and training or retraining managers, engineers and technicians (both in service users and providers) so that they can manage and implement any changes required by the new technology.
Many forward-thinking organizations are already investing in training facilities and programs to tackle these challenges. For example, EM&I uses a technology center in Cumbria, near Sellafield, which it believes is the ideal location for developing and validating new methods and training personnel.
Training is the key for the successful introduction of new technologies and we work closely with our clients, and the class societies, to ensure that we all learn together.
In order to deal with the introduction of new technology within the oil and gas sector, a lot of training and certification organizations will need to develop more programs and facilities to deal with these new requirements. Competency standards will also need to be agreed between innovators, regulators and certification bodies.
The days of sending a multi-person inspection team using rope access to inspect tanks, piping, or hazardous area electrical equipment, or a twenty-man dive team to inspect hulls, are becoming obsolete.
Instead we will see inspection used as leading-edge tool to confirm condition, accurately predicted by onshore engineers using statistical digitized methods, verified by a team of engineering inspectors with robotic tools. Much less time will be spent offshore, and a greater proportion onshore planning and analyzing data.
EM&I has a track record of introducing new technologies to the oil gas sector over the 35 years the company has been involved in the asset integrity business.