Australia’s Woodside uses robot to inspect offshore platforms

Australian LNG player Woodside said it has collaborated with industry to create an offshore caisson cleaning and inspection tool (CCAIT system) that allows remote inspection of critical equipment on its offshore platforms.

A collaboration led by Woodside and incorporating Perth-based expertise from Nexxis, Monadelphous, WOMA, and Fugro designed, developed, and deployed the “one-of-a-kind system” in less than 12 months.

Human-sized robot

According to Woodside, the CCAIT system incorporates a human-sized robot, designed to inspect the inside of caissons – vertical carbon steel pipes up to 70 meters long and up to 1.2 meters wide.

These structures house critical equipment such as firewater and seawater lift pumps on offshore platforms.

Woodside developed the new tech with local experts in response to possible Covid-related supply chain risks.

Also, Woodside said skilled technicians remotely control the CCAIT system from a safe location on an offshore platform.

The firm first lowers the tool inside the caisson via a tether and winch arrangement. Wheels are then extended to centralize the tool within the caisson, and probe arms extend to enable ultrasound inspection.

A series of high-definition cameras stream video back to the technicians, with the data used by the asset team to define the forward plan, the firm said.

Slashing costs

Woodside’s executive VP for technical services, Daniel Kalms, said the system removes the
costs of mobilizing tools from international locations, including the cost of delay in fractured supply chains.

“These can represent up to 50 percent of the total cost of an inspection campaign,” Kalms said.

Woodside recently completed its merger with BHP’s oil and gas business, becoming a top 10 global independent energy company by hydrocarbon production and the largest energy company listed on the ASX.

The company revealed in November last year it had signed a binding merger agreement with BHP’s petroleum business. On the same day, it also took a final investment decision on the Scarborough and Pluto LNG Train 2 developments worth about $12 billion.

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