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ANYbotics provides four-legged robot to inspect offshore oil rigs in Europe

Aker BP, Cognite, and ANYbotics are partnering to pioneer offshore remote inspections with ANYmal X on the Valhall platform (main picture) in the North Sea, the large body of water between the UK and Scandinavia. 

ANYmal X, the only Ex-certified legged robot, was tested for integrated robotic inspections in offshore Ex-rated zones, showcasing the benefits of Cognite’s real-time digital twins and comprehensive AI-powered data platform. (See video below.)

This is a significant step in Aker BP’s aim to implement remote inspections as an enabler for unmanned operation of complex offshore processing platforms by 2027-2029.

Valhall, situated 300 kilometers offshore, is a complex with manned central platforms connected by bridges and multiple normally unmanned support platforms accessed regularly by helicopters.

It features multiple levels and numerous Ex-zones and experiences diverse weather conditions like direct sunlight, heavy rain, and high winds.

A key part of the deployment on Valhall was to integrate ANYmal X data via the ANYmal API, enabling operation from onshore as a step towards fully unmanned future platforms.

ANYmal X enhances digital twins in real time through automated live data and event streaming, facilitating equipment location, analytics, and reporting.

Cognite consolidates and contextualizes this data along with all operations, engineering, and traditional (IT) data within its user-friendly, secure, and scalable platform, Cognite Data Fusion.

This makes it easy for all decision-makers to access and use complex industrial data to increase operational excellence, maximize production efficiency, and ensure safe and sustainable operations through AI and robotics.

This first integration of ANYmal X and Cognite Data Fusion showcased the benefits of remote inspections in Ex-Zones using a digital twin.

The tests at Valhall took place at two of its decks, including 70 inspection points, enabling offshore operators to plan missions with ANYbotics Workforce and analyze data in Cognite Data Fusion.

The onshore control room could also take over inspection missions for manual investigation in first responder scenarios via Cognite Data Fusion.

Elias Bjørne, product manager, Cognite, says: “By connecting ANYmal to other, contextualized, operational data using Cognite Data Fusion and the ANYmal API, industrial organizations can make better use of their data and robots.

“This helps increase safety, enable remote work, and enhance efficiency overall.”

ANYmal X, the sole Ex-certified legged robot, is transforming the oil and gas industry. Its deployment is driving companies to accelerate robotic inspections.

With prior robot experience, Aker BP – jointly owned by Aker, BP and Det Norske – tested ANYmal X for autonomous, integrated inspections in offshore Ex-rated zones.

Test cases covered mission launches, mission interruption for remote onshore control, remote investigations, and resuming inspections.

The evaluation included reliability, initial responses to false alarms, ad hoc monitoring deployments, 4G connectivity, and operator access to ANYmal X data feeds.

ANYmal X conducting autonomous inspection missions on the Valhall platform in the North Sea.

This offshore deployment was another first and demonstrated the capabilities of ANYmal X and the progress ANYbotics is making in realizing its vision of an autonomous and integrated robotic workforce.

The results of the ANYmal X and Cognite Data Fusion integration are an essential step for Aker BP’s progress in implementing remote inspection in Ex-Zones on unmanned platforms by leveraging digital twins built on top of a secure, open, comprehensive data foundation to run autonomous integrated robots such as ANYmal X.

Insights gained from this deployment bring Aker BP closer to its goal of reducing the number of offshore helicopter transfers and enabling fully unmanned future for selected platforms by 2027-2029.

Terje Hammer Meling, senior project engineer, Aker BP, says: “Aker BP produces offshore oil and gas in Norway, and we plan to run some of our assets as unmanned installations in the future.

“It was a good test on Valhall, giving us a qualified experience to build on going forward. Our team learned a lot. We need Ex-certified robots like ANYmal X to be able to use robots offshore.”

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