Seabed Rig Taps Energid Technologies to Create Innovative Drilling Robots

Seabed Rig AS has licensed technology and contracted with Energid Technologies Corporation to create a robot control system for its next-generation automated drilling and exploration platforms.

Seabed Rig AS is developing a new autonomous drilling rig that operates in ultra-deepwater and arctic environments. Unlike traditional surface operations, the new rigs will lie on the ocean floor and connect to a surface vessel for power and communication. This breakthrough patented approach will make it possible to explore and tap the estimated 40% of world oil reserves yet to be found that are in these extreme areas.

Practical operation on the hostile ocean floor is only possible using robotics. The robots maintaining the rig must be versatile and able to perform many tasks, from drill pipe insertion to maintenance and repair. They must be mechanically advanced and intelligently controlled.

Energid Technologies will use its premier robotics software, Actin(TM), to simulate and control the complex robots used by Seabed Rig. Actin will be responsible for coordinating the motion of multiple robots, each with many moving parts.

"We developed Actin for NASA robots," said Neil Tardella, COO at Energid, "for the harsh environment of space. With it, we can bring to reality Seabed Rig's startling vision of undersea robots."

Drilling oil wells from the turbulent ocean surface can cost more than $600,000 per day, with progress stopped by bad weather. And it can be very challenging to reach potentially rich resources in arctic and deep water. Seabed Rig has developed the safe, economical technology that will allow wells to be drilled under ice and at the bottom of the sea.

"Our approach is to remotely control the sea-floor drilling system from a surface ship," said Kenneth Mikalsen, Chief Technology Officer of Seabed Rig. "We encapsulate the system to make it environmentally friendly with no discharge to the sea."

Actin will allow the undersea kinematically redundant robot arms to reach around obstacles, optimize for strength, and smoothly avoid joint limits. "Actin will maximize performance and make control from the surface easier by allowing direct control over hand placement," said Mr. Mikalsen.

"Energid is going to help Seabed Rig change the way people think about offshore oil drilling," said David Askey, Chief Business Development Officer at Energid.