TSTC Robotics oilfield automation

Automation offers enhanced safety, efficiency and control

(ROSENBERG, Texas) – Oil and gas drilling contractor Nabors Industries made history in October 2021 as the company announced that its PACE-R801, the first fully automated land drilling rig, reached total depth on its first well, located in Midland, Texas.

While the company retained a similar number of workers on the automated rig, none of them were in “red zones” — work areas around heavy machinery that are often rife with safety risks.

Automation is increasing safety and efficiency in the oil and gas industry. These advancements are coupled with the growing necessity for workers to enhance their technical skills — and Texas State Technical College can provide the education and training to keep pace with a swiftly growing industry.

“TSTC’s Robotics Technology program teaches students the skills needed to enter the workforce,” TSTC Robotics instructor Charles Sparks said.

TSTC Robotics graduates have gone on to work for companies like National Oilwell Varco, Baker-Hughes, Weatherford International, Seadrill, General Electric and many more — including Nabors Industries, which created the fully automated land drilling rig.

According to National Oilwell Varco’s website, “drilling control systems and drilling automation enhance and improve the driller’s control over rig equipment, improving drilling efficiency and increasing safety for all personnel.”

Texas-based Insight Consultants observes that new technology gives operators and technicians increased access to detailed technical information on performance and conditions of their equipment.

Automation is a major driver in oil and gas industry today,” the organization’s website reads.

Insight Consultants adds that there are a number of areas of influence for automation in the oil and gas industry, including drilling operations, diagnostics and inspection, and monitoring of weather, pipelines, and pressure and flow.

As automation continues to influence positive change in the industry, more workers with the proper training are needed.

Technicians are a fast-growing necessity in the world of oil exploration, drilling and production,” Sparks said.

TSTC offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Robotics Technology at its Fort Bend County and Waco campuses.

This program is part of TSTC’s Money Back Guarantee. If graduates do not obtain a job in their field within six months of earning their degree, the college will refund their tuition.

In Texas, robotics technicians can earn an average annual salary of $52,010, according to onetonline.org, which projects positions in the state to grow by 13% through 2028.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Texas employs the second-highest number of robotics technicians in the country. The Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metropolitan area has the fourth-highest employment level of robotics technicians out of all other metropolitan areas in the nation.

Learn more about TSTC by visiting tstc.edu.

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