Using Drones in the oil and gas industry enables safe operations and efficient processes. Through unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), also known as drones, oil and gas firms are able to boost inspection quality and improve safety. Drones can be used in many oil and gas applications and benefit energy operators. Whether it is for upstream monitoring, or for downstream maintenance, drones are among the most efficient, cost-effective ways to do business in the oil and gas industry.
Field Operation Monitoring
Thanks to their operational capabilities and outstanding flexibility, drones are gradually proving to be beneficial in oil and gas exploration, especially in hazardous remote areas, enabling operators to mitigate the risks and avoid sending their employees to unsafe spaces.
Oil and gas companies use drones to monitor the performance of their different assets, including fields, infrastructure, equipment, trucks, components, and tankers. This comes as UAVs are able to observe and access difficult areas and capture different angles. “Drones are able to deliver 360-degree views of subjects for the monitoring of field operations, keep an eye on the development of new facilities, and detect encroachment on pipelines, railways, and other valuable company property,” Council of Petroleum Accountants Societies (COPAS) said on a report on Drones.
With their capabilities, drones make it possible to remotely monitor and perform efficient inspections of automated offshore rigs. Using UAVs helps in providing “real-time images and video analytics delivered by drones can also assist in plotting the progress of oil spills or fires, which can help companies better manage emergency response activities and channel resources appropriately while guaranteeing workers’ safety and wellbeing,” according to COPAS. This ensures the safety of assets and employees throughout the process.
Inspection and Maintenance of Hard Accessed Assets
Aside from monitoring and observation, drones enable oil and gas companies to advance in imaging and sensing technologies. Accordingly, UAVs allow carrying out maintenance in critical oil and gas infrastructure. “Merging drone data with AI-driven data analytics helps predict the functionality status of the equipment and identify potential malfunctions,” Rabih Bou Rashid, Managing Director at FEDS (Falcon Eye Drones), previously said.
UAVs can successfully be used in maintenance as some include ultrasonic sensors as well as high-tech visual inspection tools. Some drones have thermal imaging devices and infrared cameras, which enable detecting system deficiencies, structural defects, and potential hazards.
Moreover, putting drones provided data together with advanced data analysis allows oil and gas companies to assess their assets and foresee the possibilities of leaks or breakdowns.
UAVs can further perform inspection and maintenance of hazardous and hard-to-access places, saving employees from getting exposed to unhealthy components. “Drones can eliminate traditional methods of inspecting areas like essential production components in oil refineries, chimneys, smokestacks, storage tanks, jetties, and other potentially hazardous environments,” according to COPAS.
Drones are beneficial to oil and gas firms in many ways as they “help companies increase their reporting turnaround by 25% and cut down site time wastage by 18.4% as they conduct activities at a more accurate and stauncher pace than manual labor. These UAVs can also slash project value costs by up to 11.8% as they can do repeat flights that help detect issues regularly, which can become exorbitant problems later on,” Bou Rashid explained.
Using drones comes with a great value for the oil and gas sector. It does not only protect the safety of employees and access to hazardous locations, but it also brings the energy companies huge turnarounds in a cost-efficient process. Drones also guarantee to inspect and maintain the good status of assets as well as oil and gas fields.