Pilot project to introduce robot to workforce on North Sea oil rig

Published: 03 Apr 2018 By Matt Cook

Tests are underway into how automated machines can be utilised for dangerous offshore operations. An automated robot is set to be transferred to an offshore oil platform in the North Sea this year. The innovative project, valued at around £4m is aimed at eliminating humans from dangerous and ‘tedious’ jobs and ultimately transform the future of the oil and gas sector.

Offshore Jobs

The pilot project will involve a robot being introduced at the gas plant on the Shetlands, operated by French oil company Total. The robot will join 120 workers on the Alwyn platform, located approximately 400 km north of Aberdeen.


The robot technology has been developed by Austrian based business Tauron and the software maintained by German University TU Darmstadt. The primary role of the machine is to carry out visual inspections and detection of gas leaks.


The publicly funded Oil and Gas Technology Centre has emphasised that automated robot technology will not be used to reduce the wages paid to offshore workers. The Centre has stressed that it is not a case of technology taking their jobs but providing the ability for people to choose different jobs. 
This pilot project is part of the long-term investment into the industry and the center suggests that it will be at least five years before this type of technology becomes more common in offshore working environments.

The pilot project operated by Total will involve a single test robot, and how it will work alongside people and in an offshore environment.

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