Drones have entered the oil and gas field recently as a dynamic and cost effective technology that allows inspections. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) allows oil companies to reduce high costs of the traditional man conducted maintenance and reviews while improving the quality of investigation and increasing workers safety.
Drones are being used in various environments, both closed and opened ,for daily checkout to complex operations such as checking pipeline integrity. This technology offers a decrease in the working hours and allows a gain up to 50% in inspection costs reduction.
Advantages of Drones in the Oil and Gas Industry:
- UAVs allow companies to remove the risks associated with humans entering confined spaces or other dangerous areas. Drones can complete inspections of areas such as chimneys, smokestacks, storage tanks, critical production units of petroleum refineries, jetties, and hazardous environments without human entry. In addition, the unmanned aerial devices collect more comprehensive data compared to what a human can do.
- Reduction of the need to travel to the facilities since it only requires an operator to send a drone and monitor the structures remotely from a control room or an inspection vehicle from a safe distance.
- The drone enables the technical teams to quickly identify defects and take the necessary measures before leakages or other serious occurrence. Managing repairs in less time or predicting them prevents the spills which can lead to fires, environmental degradation and contamination and health problems by collecting data and using it to find solutions in a control room in a short period.
- Since deploying a drone to perform inspection tasks is relatively easy, they can greatly increase the safety of the employees of the public by fast analyzing the conditions in a certain location before sending an individual. In addition, they can check a leakage, spill or fire, hence improving the evacuation activities for the public easily and in a fast manner.
- Less downtime, manual inspection in the oil and gas industry typically require halting production, creating significant downtime that is expensive. With the UAVs, companies get to have a more detailed view of damaged areas without incurring the downtime.
Besides improving safety, the drones come with other benefits. These include;
- Improving the response time to fix problems and saving time to carry out the inspections.
- Saving the inspection costs for the oil and gas companies
- Provides valuable and comprehensive inspection data
- No need to put risk on workers by sending them to dangerous terrains.
- Reducing insurance costs of the employees since they perform less risky jobs
- Improves the operations, productivity, and efficiency.
- Reducing the operational and maintenance cost.
- Improving productivity by fewer shutdowns of operations.
The Future of Drones in the Oil and Gas Industry
The drone technology is still new in the oil and gas field, many companies are still learning how to adopt the technology efficiently. Drones offer benefits such as reducing inspection time and cost, but still, companies are yet to grasp how to use it at its full potential.