Norwegian oil exploration and development firm Aker BP has formed a strategic partnership with global industrial artificial intelligence (AI) software-as-a-service (SaaS) firm Cognite to explore the potential of robotics in the offshore oil and gas platform.

The two firms will focus on the use of robotics systems to carry out safer, more efficient and sustainable offshore operations.

According to Aker BP, Cognite’s Cloud-based industrial data operations and intelligence platform Cognite Data Fusion (CDF) will serve as the data infrastructure for the initiative.

The CDF software platform will provide open and unified industrial data model. This allows for easy access to enable analytical operations and data-driven decisions.

The two firms will conduct several tests using robots and drones on the Aker BP-operated Skarv installation in the Norwegian Sea this year.

Aker BP said that it will test the robotics systems for their performance in autonomous inspection and high-quality data capture. Other testing tasks may include the system’s response to leaks and gauge the performance in automatic report generation.

Aker BP CEO Karl Johnny Hersvik said: “Digitalisation will be one of the differentiators between the oil companies of the world, in order to be able to deliver low cost and low emissions. Exploring the potential of robotics offshore underpin our digital journey.”

Boston Dynamics-built quadruped robot Spot and other robots have involvement in the initiative.

Cognite and Aker have already tested Spot’s mobility in simulated oil and gas environments. This ensures that the system can operate in locations in the facilities that are difficult to access through traditional automation.

Cognite CEO John Markus Lervik said: “The key to Aker BP and Cognite’s robotics initiative is that it combines industry-leading hardware and software.

“By ingesting data collected by robots into Cognite Data Fusion, Aker BP engineers will be able to see it in context with data from across the company’s operations and make data-driven decisions that improve efficiency and safety.”

In August 2018, Aker BP signed a smart service contract with Cognite and Framo Services to digitalise its Ivar Aasen platform in the North Sea.