The robot on an oil drillship in the Gulf of Mexico made it easier for Mark Rodgers to do his job stringing together heavy, dirty pipes. It could also be a reason he’s not working there today.
The Iron Roughneck, made by National Oilwell Varco Inc., automates the repetitive and dangerous task of connecting hundreds of segments of drill pipe as they’re shoved through miles of ocean water and oil-bearing rock. The machine has also cut to two from three the need for roustabouts, estimates Rodgers, who took a job repairing appliances after being laid off from Transocean Ltd.
“I’d love to go back offshore,” he says. The odds are against him. As the global oil industry begins to climb out of a collapse that took 440,000 jobs, anywhere from a third to half may never come back.
Read more: Robots Are Taking Over Oil Rigs – Bloomberg