Oil and gas drilling contractor Nabors Industries has drilled its first well in West Texas' Permian Basin using its Pace-R801 autonomous rig.
The rig, which combines robotic hardware and automated software, uses a robot arm to manipulate drill pipes while an automated "roughneck" on the floor links and tightens the pipes.
Nabors' Travis Purvis said the Pace-R801 is designed to make drilling safer by removing some workers from the process, although operators such as drilling managers, control engineers, and maintenance workers remain essential.
Purvis sees rig automation opening up opportunities for workers to reskill as electricians, mechanics, and maintenance workers, since "It does require human intervention to move and maintain these rigs, so there will always be a human element."
From Houston Chronicle
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