For the visual inspection of facilities and the processing of detailed data, drones are the ideal solution. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are also known as drones. They are currently used by some of the leading oil and gas firms worldwide to overcome a wide range of operational challenges.
With advancements in big data and artificial intelligence, this rapidly improving technology is poised to change the O&G industry in the upcoming years. Drone-provided aerial intelligence has some primary advantages. That includes safer inspections and helping enterprises meet compliance standards, saving them millions of dollars in manpower, remediation, and other costs.
Let’s learn more about the use of aerial inspection drones in Oil and Gas industry.
#1 Pipeline Inspection & Monitoring
Drones enable inspectors in the field or engineers remotely to access tubing, either in real-time or later, by taking photos and videos of above-ground pipelines. To obtain additional information, the operator will zone in on areas of interest and, if appropriate, request that a ground crew visually inspect the location.
Drones take pictures of pipeline corridors to identify possible underwater spills. These images are combined by user-friendly software, providing high-resolution vegetation maps that define plant kill-off areas, suggesting a leak. An alternative way to analyze pipelines is to outfit a drone with an infrared camera. Thermal imaging of pipeline routes shows hotspots that may signify potential defects in pipeline insulation or leaks invisible to the human eye.
#2 Oil Well and Testing of Rig
O&G firms also use drones in the initial drilling process to capture oil fields and offshore platforms. Drones track activities until the well is running. For example, when it’s in operation, they have a close-up look at a flare stack. That gives the conventional solution a real advantage: shutting down the flare device and appointing an investigator to mount the pile to investigate it. In this scenario, an aerial drone inspection saves weeks of planning for human assessment. It removes significant efficiency and income reductions due to an operating shutdown.
Drone checks allow businesses to avoid health and safety (HSE) events, helping them solve organizational challenges without taking staff to unsafe areas. Drones also provide basic tracking, such as storage tanks, of remote or hard-to-reach properties.
#3 Surveying and Construction Monitoring
In both the oil discovery and development phases, drones are playing a growing role. Without the time and cost of conventional surveying techniques, they survey prospective drilling areas and capture necessary details. Drones deployed during the construction process of wells, rigs, pipelines, and refineries perform critical as-built assessments until a well site is ready for production. It enables managers to keep track of a project’s progress and provide quality assurance of the build-outs.
Drones provide highly reliable aerial information that simplifies a wide variety of O&G processes and strengthens them. Agile and versatile UAVs have rapidly become a go-to platform for operators worldwide, whether they are checking hundreds of miles of oil pipelines for spills, helping workers maintain operations in compliance with legislation, or encouraging enterprises to develop facilities more effectively.