China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC), China’s biggest offshore hydrocarbons producer, made a step towards digitalising the manufacture of marine gas and oil extraction equipment by opening its first intelligent factory in Tianjin municipality of northern China.
Covering an area of 575,000 square metres, all phases of production are covered by some 400 groups of intelligent machines, according to the Global Times, which spoke to sources at CNOOC. This reportedly improves production efficiency by over 20% and reduces risk to workers by automating the vast majority of steel cutting and most welding.
Three production centres form the core of the facility, with these being supported by eight stations for final assembly and seven auxiliary workshops. In addition, the factory has a 1,631-metre-long dock for accommodating liquefied natural gas carriers, floating production storage and offloading (FPSO) vessels and big offshore engineering ships.
While CNOOC is based in China, it also has stakes in operations around the world, such as its 25% stake in the Stabroek Block of Guyana, which is operated by ExxonMobil, the maker of Mobil lubricant products.
A CNOOC executive for offshore engineering, Yu Yi, suggested to the Global Times that the facility could serve as an example for production facilities outside China:
“The digital, intelligent operation management mode realized in the Tianjin factory can be promoted and used in the entire marine oil and gas extraction equipment manufacturing industry.”
CNOOC said that the factory’s development involved more than 200 engineers and some of the country’s leading institutions and universities.