An offshore platform with no living quarters! not even a toilet!, yes Equinor’s platform is the world’s first fully automated rig, built by the Norwegian energy giant.
The rig since completion has sent waves of discomfort to young Petroleum engineers as they wonder if their jobs and career will be taken by automation.
Over the last few years, the energy industry seems to be rapidly evolving, with numerous application of emerging technologies, such as robotics, blockchain and advancement in wireless transmission of electricity amongst others.
Automation on the other hand has increased the efficiency of production, and increased the safety of workers in the energy industry, while reducing the cost of production.
A closer look at Equinor’s Oseberg Vestflanken H
Equinor’s facilities are called Oseberg Vestflanken H, which cost the company more than £600m, though it was actually delivered in October 2018 20% under-budget.
“Oseberg Vestflanken H is the first platform of its kind on the Norwegian Continental Shelf with no facilities, not even a toilet,” said Anders Opedal, Equinor’s executive vice president for technology, projects and drilling.
Located 8km north-west of the Oseberg field centre in the North Sea, the platform’s build time was particularly expedient as it had no living quarter requirements.
“The topside weighs only a good 1,000 tonnes, another example of simplification in practice. This platform only has the bare essentials.”
Equinor claims the offshore platform Oseberg Vestflanken H will be capable of producing oil at a price below $20 (£16) a barrel for the next 22 years at a minimum.
It has a total predicted volume capacity of 110M BOE (Barrel of Oil equivalent) and will extract the resource from deposits hundreds of metres below sea level, to be accessed by 11 wells.
Mr Opedal explained: “The fully automatic, unmanned and remote-operated platform is digitalisation in practice, and I am proud of Equinor and its partners for having chosen this in-house solution.
“Oseberg Vestflanken H is a pilot and our first unmanned platform. We are further developing the concept and believe that the next version will be even more competitive.”
Automation and you
Although equinor’s rig took away jobs it, however, created jobs, the platform will still need routine maintenance.
A valid skill is therefore required for one to stay relevant in this age of technological advancement.
as an offshore platform, it will be subject to corrosion, hence skilled individuals are still needed to maintain it.
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The big question is this: What happens when people lose their jobs to computers? Will they get another job to replace it? Or, will computers ultimately suck up that role as well?
lets conclude this article with the words of Andrew Haldane, chief economist of the Bank of England:
Technology may be set to change jobs and wages more fundamentally than in the past. Job displacement and creation may come thicker and faster than ever previously. “Hollowing out” may become more pervasive. And gaps between those with and without skills, or with and without jobs, may widen as never before.
those word may scared you or build your confidence in the future depending on how old you are and how relevant your skills are.
Andrew went futher to say:
“Those most at risk from automation tend, on average, to have the lowest wage. In other words, technology could act like a regressive income tax on the unskilled. It could further widen income disparities,”
Upskilling, training and retraining oneself is therefore very import to remain relevant in this dynamic energy industry, learn to combine manual skill with digital skill.