First intelligent factory for marine oil, gas extraction equipment opens

China’s first intelligent factory producing extraction equipment for marine oil and natural gas was put into operation on Sunday, marking a major step toward manufacturing digitalization in the marine energy field, according to China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC), the largest offshore oil and gas producer in China.

The 575,000-square-meter factory, located in North China’s Tianjin Municipality, will increase production efficiency by more than 20 percent through over 400 sets of intelligent machines that can cover all phases of production, CNOOC told the Global Times on Sunday.

Core facilities include three intelligent production centers, seven auxiliary workshops and eight final assembly stations, with a designed annual capacity of 84,000 tons of structural steel. 

The factory also has a dock of 1,631 meters long that can handle ships including large offshore engineering ships, floating production storage and offloading platforms, and liquefied natural gas carriers.

Intelligent machines decrease the use of labor and avoid risks during the processing of metal parts, as the factory realizes 90 percent automatic steel cutting and 70 percent automatic welding.

Yu Yi, chairman of the board of Offshore Oil Engineering Co under CNOOC, said that the Tianjin factory is using advanced technologies, including 5G, industrial big data and artificial intelligence.

The intelligent factory has integrated smart systems, including smart manufacturing, smart warehouse management, intelligent security, monitoring and logistics.

“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,” said Yu.

The factory, developed by a research team with over 200 engineers along with China’s top universities and institutions, applied about 10 cutting-edge technologies, according to CNOOC.