Drones in Oil&Gas industry


Recently drone business has gotten to Oil&Gas industry in order to conduct inspections of oil rigs. One knows that those inspections are dangerous and expensive work involving workers hanging from the bottom of an oil platform to visually log damages. Drones usage naturally has its positive aspects and could easily reduce costs of expensive traditional inspections.

Nowadays, when crude price stays below 30$/bbl it is obvious that not economics but common sense forces big companies to cut costs and it is a good impetus to implement effective solutions without compromising safety. There is a significant demand for such services and this trend is likely to thrieve in the near future.

London-based Sky Futures, which opened an office in Houston in 2015, said that last week the company flew its drones on inspections of an oil platform, a helicopter deck and four cranes on a drillship. Sky Futures did not name which oil company contracted them to perform the inspection.

Sky Futures grew its business in the North Sea for years before getting approval by the Federal Aviation Administration in March 2015 to operate in the United States. According to the date of the FAA’s exemption, Sky Futures was among the first companies to get approval to start flying drones for commercial activities in the U.S.

There are now more than 3,000 businesses or individuals in the U.S. with approval to fly drones for commercial reasons, according to the FAA’s database on exemptions. At least 994 of those exemptions went to applicants performing various types of inspections: electric transmission lines, solar power installations, chemical plants, commercial and residential real estate and farms, as well as oil and gas equipment and a host of other facilities.

A few major energy companies also received exemptions, among them Chevron, Marathon Petroleum, NextEra Energy and Duke Energy. Most have listed safety inspections of oil and gas facilities and power infrastructure as reasons for new drone launches.

Watch video below taken by a Sky Futures drone of the underside of an oil platform in the North Sea.



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