OPEC, Russia and other National Oil companies have been unable to perform oil drilling due to political restrictions on international oil drilling and hence they have shifted base to drill in the more extreme environments, where the giant oil fields are most likely to be found.
Energy operations, especially in extreme environments need not only competency but also minimal intelligence, so that disaster could be averted. In most of the areas where the richest oil fields lie, the people have very low IQs thereby needing outside workers to complete the tasks. However, locating competent workers is also very difficult. In spite of better conditions in offshore rigs, human manning is still required. In some complicated operations disaster is always hovering overhead. Hence, the oil industry has been developing robotic seafloor drilling equipment, which would eliminate most of the dangers for the rig workers. These equipments would also decrease the numbers of well trained and gifted technicians needed to handle the operations.
These new robotic rigs would be used for production and exploratory purposes. They have been designed to operate on the ocean floor, for safe exploration of ultra-deep water and also for exploring the arctic regions that are inaccessible by traditional rigs. Seabed Rig AS has created highly intelligent robots, which are controlled by software, coded by Energid Technologies, a Cambridge Massachusetts firm. According to Neil Tardella, Energid’s COO, the software had been developed for the National Science Foundation and NASA for controlling complex robots, and this was then used to construct the most intelligent robotic rig.
Roald Valen, Seabed Rig’s Robotics and Control System Manager has stated that an automated rig would ensure the safety of the workers and also eliminate human errors, which cause major incidents. According to Valen, robots never get tired, they never make mistakes and also do not get hurt, unlike their human counterparts. A pressure compensated and a patented encapsulated design has been employed by the Seabed rig for safety purposes, which would ensure minimal discharge to the sea, along with being environmentally-friendly. Kenneth Mikalsen, Seabed Rig’s CTO has revealed that their aim was to create an exploratory rig that was much more effective and safe than the other available rigs. Similar rigs would be made use for mining oil and gas and minerals.