Wood and NERA (National Energy Resources Australia) have formed a partnership on May 5 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 categorizing equipment anomalies.

The solution has the potential to revolutionize 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 minimize safety risks, enhance asset integrity and create potential savings of AUD $2.8 billion (US$1.8 million) per year for the Australian offshore energy industry alone. Improvements from better connected operations will also be realized through faster turnaround times and reduced cost for crew and vessels.

 “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 maximize the output of their assets,” Azad Hessamodini, strategy and development president of Wood’s Technical Consulting Solutions business, said.

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 center of expertise in emerging data science, robotics technology and artificial intelligence, particularly in natural energy resources.

NERA CEO 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.

“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,” Taylor said.

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