NORTH Sea oil services heavyweight Wood has been enlisted to help harness the potential of robots to boost the profitability of the industry in Canada.

The Aberdeen-based giant has won $3 million (£1.8m) official funding to support work on the development of an autonomous robotic inspection service for use on oil and gas infrastructure.

Wood said successful completion of the project, which it proposed, could result in the deployment of multiple robots and position the company to support future developments in Canada.

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The company reckons the data gathered by the robots will make it easier for firms to monitor the integrity of assets and to make timely decisions on related maintenance and repairs.

“This capability will improve the safety of personnel offshore, reduce carbon-emissions, and drive low-cost sustainable operations,” said Wood.

The company won the funding under a scheme developed to support the recovery of the oil and gas industry operating off Newfoundland and Labrador in eastern Canada.

HeraldScotland: Picture: PAPicture: PA

The outcome of the project will be studied with interest in areas such as the North Sea as firms grapple with the fallout from the pandemic.

This triggered sharp cuts in spending and prompted oil and gas firms to redouble efforts to increase the efficiency of operations. Sector watchers have noted the potential to use robotics to help cut the cost of developing and running North Sea facilities.

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Under chief executive Robin Watson, Wood has expanded in markets related to the transition to a lower-carbon energy system, such as solar power and carbon capture and hydrogen fuel production, to reduce its reliance on the oil and gas industry. However, Mr Watson said recently that Wood expects oil and gas to remain part of the energy mix for years.

HeraldScotland: Wood chief executive Robin WatsonWood chief executive Robin Watson

The company aims to help firms reduce emissions associated with production operations.

The project in Canada is expected to lead to jobs being created for residents of Newfoundland and Labrador, in fields such as robotics and software development.