Skip to content

The TotalEnergies ARGOS robot project has a twofold objective: to simplify operations on site and reduce human exposure. By 2030, the new Oil & Gas platforms could be operated by autonomous robot fleets, thereby reducing the risks for humans.

"The robotics laboratory at the CSTJF tests new versions of the robots, qualifies the equipment, experiments with future operating procedures and prepares the pilots performed in the affiliates. Research on remote operations focuses on the development of land and subsea robotic solutions. It involves the qualification of autonomous robots and an entire robotic ecosystem adapted to our activities".

Jean-Michel Munoz,
Manager, Remote Operations R&D



The ARGOS (Autonomous Robots for Gas and Oil Sites) challenge, the first surface robots

Kicked off in 2014 by TotalEnergies and the French National Research Agency (ANR), to confirm the feasibility and potential of surface robots for Oil & Gas facilities, the ARGOS challenge served to create the first surface robot in 2017, able to operate autonomously on oil & gas sites.


An inspection robot, able to hear, see and smell!

In 2018, TotalEnergies, Taurob and NZTC (Net Zero Technology Center in Aberdeen) launched an autonomous inspection robot project, ATEX certified (explosive atmosphere). The Inspector-robot uses sensors to perform different tasks such as anomaly detection (gas leaks, fire), recording images and audio data, temperature, monitoring parameters and 3D acquisitions, etc.

Several qualification and demonstration tests have been performed on sites since the end of the development in 2020. On the Shetlands gas plant to begin with, where two robots perform inspection rounds to monitor the operating parameters of a process module. After a year, the robots’ reliability level reached 97%. Then between 2020 and 2022, on a platform in the North Sea, in a more complex environment. The campaign confirmed the possibility of controlling and guiding two robots, from an onland control room. Other tests are being performed on an oil & gas platform offshore Abu Dhabi as part of the inspection robot qualification program. And in Qatar where it comes up against a hot and humid environment.

In 2023, a new, six-month pilot, and the most complex conducted to date, has begun on Pazflor (Angola) with two autonomous robots and two ATEX charging stations operated by on-site personnel. Some 1,700 check points are regularly inspected on two separation modules, each with four stages. The instructions are supplied directly by our planning and maintenance tool, modified for this purpose. It’s a first for West Africa.

The robots tested on Pazflor are a sign of significant progress, and they incorporate all the elements of the robotic ecosystem over a wide perimeter: ATEX robots and charging stations, a robotic supervision system, Artificial Intelligence, etc. All these elements are deployed in an environment compatible with the architecture of our current information systems, in compliance with cybersecurity requirements.


The Operator-robot springs into action

The operator-robot doesn’t just settle for seeing, hearing and smelling, it’s also able to act. Developed as part of the ARGOS JIP (Joint Industry Project), the new operator-robot is able – thanks to its robust arm – to perform simple actions: turning, pushing, pulling, etc. For example, it can open or close manual valves.

Delivered to TotalEnergies in early 2024, the operator-robot will be taking its first steps on the robot test sites in TADI, in Lacq, before being deployed on the sites. The project is backed by a partnership between TotalEnergies and ADNOC, Equinor, Petrobras, NZTC (Net Zero Technology Center in Aberdeen), Taurob and Saft.

The Robotics team

As part of the Deep Offshore "Remote Operations" program, six R&D engineer work, at the CSTJF and in Norway, on future onland or subsea robots and on the Inspection-Maintenance-Repair of deep offshore equipment .

TotalEnergies Anomaly Detection Initiatives