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Meet the robots that help prevent oil spills



In 2010 a natural gas explosion killed eight people in San Bruno, Northern California. Needless to say, managing 2.6 million miles of pipelines can be a dangerous job due to ageing and deteriorating pipelines. 

Diakont robot RODIS crawler oil pipes inspection
Image via Diakont

Data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration reports that since 2010, an average of about 200 crude oil spills a year are reported with 8.9 million gallons spilled during that time.

Traditionally energy companies have inspected the pipelines by sending pressurised water to test the lines strength, inserting devices called pigs into the pipes or simply by digging into the ground and performing spot inspections. 

But the way in which we inspect these pipelines is changing… 

Diakont has announced plans to develop a robot called Stringray that will examine the floor of tanks and provide a more accurate insight into the sustainability of pipes. The robot is a Remotely Operated Diagnostic Inspection System (RODIS) and will be able to inspect the pipelines for wear, tear and corrosion. 

Diakont robotic crawler oil pipeline inspection
Image via Diakont

The robot will work by crawling through the pipelines using a horizontal set of traction wheels whilst using its arms to trace the circumference of the pipeline, measuring thickness and structural integrity. A cable connects the robot to an operator, commonly stationed in a truck a safe distance from the pipeline. The pipeline's integrity is determined by sound pulses, lasers and video that check for defects such as cracking.

Interested in progressing your career in the Oil & Gas industry? Browse our vacancies online today. 

Recent Comments
I'm currently working in the upstream Coal Seam Gas Industry where we have long pipe lines. How long will it take for the robot to inspect these kind of pipe lines? How will the inspection effect operations/ production?
Conrad Blignaut, 01 August 2017
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Meet the robots that help prevent oil spills - Time to read 2 min
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