Maintenance at Norway’s three main plants, Nyhamna, Kollsnes and Kaarstoe, is conducted annually and the country’s gas output, vital for British and central European customers, is reduced as a result, affecting fuel prices around the continent.
The new robots gather information that Gassco can use to optimize its maintenance plans, while inspection robots can replace time-consuming and costly inspections by humans and significantly cut downtime for certain plant assets.
“The pre-work and after-work you need to do to prepare the vessel to be safe and send an inspector in there take time and are costly … Now we have reduced this time by 50-80%,” said Haakon Hilmar Ferkingstad, senior engineer at Gassco.
The new equipment includes Bike, a small magnetic robot that Gassco has started using at Kaarstoe’s and Nyhamna’s pressure vessels, and the snake-like machine, which will inspect pipelines at Nyhamna later this year.
The robots were invented by a European Union co-funded program called Petrobot and adapted for Gassco’s needs by General Electric.
Norway last year piped 114.2 bcm of gas to Europe, the second highest level on record.