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Robots Could Replace Hundreds of Thousands of Oil, Gas Jobs by 2030

Human workers on an oil rig.

Rystad Energy estimates robotic drilling systems can potentially reduce the number of roughnecks required on a drilling rig by 20% to 30%.


Norwegian energy research firm Rystad Energy predicted robotics and automation could replace hundreds of thousands of oil and gas workers worldwide and sharply slash the industry’s labor costs by 2030.

The company said at least 20% of drilling, operational support, and maintenance jobs could be automated in the next decade, replacing more than 140,000 workers in the U.S. alone.

Rystad calculated robotic drilling systems can potentially cut the number of roughnecks on drilling platforms by 20% to 30%, with U.S. wage costs reduced by more than $7 billion by 2030.

The company expects technical issues like long-term reliability, and labor organizations' opposition, will delay full robotic adoption.

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