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Wood and NERA to develop AI subsea inspection tool

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Oilfield Technology,

Wood and NERA (National Energy Resources Australia) have announced a new partnership to develop and deliver a solution for the inspection of critical industrial equipment, particularly for subsea oil and gas infrastructure.

By leveraging the power of cutting-edge artificial intelligence (AI) technology, Wood’s Augmented Machine Vision Solution provides a real time inspection device capable of autonomously detecting and categorising equipment anomalies.

The solution has the potential to revolutionise the way asset inspections are conducted in challenging and high-risk environments across a range of industries while increasing the speed and accuracy of issue detection, response and resolution. The solution will minimise safety risks, enhance asset integrity and create potential savings of AUS$$2.8 billion per year for the Australian offshore energy industry alone. Improvements from better connected operations will also be realised through faster turnaround times and reduced cost for crew and vessels.

Azad Hessamodini, strategy and development president of Wood’s Technical Consulting Solutions business, said: “We are delighted to partner once again with NERA on a project that aligns with our focus on using innovative solutions to enable more connected operations that set customers up for future success.

“Outcomes from this project could potentially transform an industry where inspections are susceptible to human-error and inconsistencies. By combining Wood’s deep domain knowledge with cutting-edge AI technology, we create a safer and faster inspection approach and provide operators with more accurate and up-to-date information to help maximise the output of their assets.

“The project will not only tap into Wood’s expertise in asset performance optimisation, but apply learnings from a hackathon hosted in partnership with the University of Western Australia. It is fantastic to see that the energy industry is embracing new ways of solving problems.”

This is the latest collaboration between Wood and NERA who have previously worked together on the Transforming Australia Subsea Equipment Reliability (TASER) project, which aims to improve subsea equipment design and reduce the requirement for costly and time-consuming interventions in Australia’s challenging offshore warm water environment. As part of the project, ‘living laboratories’ were created to assess the effectiveness of innovative coatings, materials and technologies against calcareous deposition and marine organism growth on subsea equipment.

The AI inspection tool is helping build local capability and recognition that Australia is a global centre of expertise in emerging data science, robotics technology and artificial intelligence, particularly in natural energy resources.

NERA chief executive Miranda Taylor said the project exemplified Australia’s capacity to lead a new energy technology decade that can strengthen Australia's position as a global hub for excellence in energy resources innovation.

“Through this new project funding announcement, we continue the important work of enabling Australian energy innovators build their capacity and capability in fields of robotics and artificial intelligence, which are critical to improving the future productivity and safety of the energy resources sector, as well as developing transferable skills and technologies with benefits across the Australian economy,” Ms Taylor said.

“This project joins NERA’s energy innovation network of sector-wide initiatives that together are unlocking more than $10 billion in new value for the Australian economy and helping us achieve our vision of Australia as a global energy powerhouse, a sought-after destination for investment and the leading source of knowledge and solutions.”

The project is due to be completed by the end of 2020.

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