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Drones Services in Oil & Gas

Some of the largest oil and gas companies around the world deploy unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), better known as drones services, to address a wide variety of operational challenges. This rapidly improving technology, along with advances in big data and artificial intelligence, is poised to transform the O&G industry.

That’s because the aerial intelligence provided by drones offers several key benefits, including making inspections safer and helping companies comply with regulatory requirements — while saving them millions of dollars in labor, remediation, and other costs. Drones services provide practical, economical solutions for upstream, midstream and downstream operations.

Drones Services in Oil & Gas
Drones Services in Oil & Gas

These rugged, remote-operated birds can maneuver effortlessly around flare stacks, oil rigs and underdecks, as well as above new construction sites and along miles of pipeline.

They enable companies to discard reactive measures and adopt proactive approaches to leak detection and other maintenance and compliance processes. Drones services are an indispensable high-tech tool for O&G operators, streamlining many current industry practices. In this article we will learn:

• The key workflows where drones provide value

• The benefits drones deliver oil and gas companies

• How today’s oil and gas innovators are putting drones to work

• How to get started with drones

Putting Drones to Work in the Field

Drones Services are the perfect solution for making visual inspections of infrastructure and gathering extensive data. An increasing number of O&G companies use drones to perform three basic industry functions — pipeline inspection and monitoring, oil well and rig inspection, and surveying and construction monitoring — at a significantly lower cost than ground, manned aircraft or helicopter inspection crews.

Pipeline Inspection and Monitoring With Drones

By taking photos and videos of above-ground pipelines, drones services allow inspectors in the field or engineers in a remote location to view pipes, either in real time or later. The operator can zero in on areas of concern to gather additional information and, if necessary, recommend that a ground crew visually check the area.

Drones Services
Drones Services

To detect potential underground leaks, drones take photos along pipeline routes. User friendly software combines these images, creating high-resolution vegetation maps that identify plant kill-off zones, which may indicate a leak. Equipping a drone with an infrared camera provides an additional way to inspect pipelines: Thermal imagery of pipeline routes reveal hotspots, which may indicate potential defects in pipeline insulation or leaks invisible to the human eye.

Drone images also detect anomalies along a pipeline network or any encroachments, such as construction or roadwork, on a right-of-way that could threaten the integrity of the pipeline. In case of significant leaks, explosions or other emergency situations, drones provide real-time video to help emergency response teams assess the situation before sending in crews.

Oil Well and Rig Drone Inspection

O&G companies also use drones to photograph oil wells and offshore rigs throughout the initial drilling process. Once the well is operating, drones efficiently monitor operations. For example, they provide a close-up look at a flare stack while it’s in service. That provides a real benefit to the traditional approach: shutting down the flare system and assigning an inspector to climb the stack to examine it. In this case, a drone inspection saves weeks of physical inspection preparation and avoids significant loss of productivity and revenue due to an operational shutdown.

Drone inspections help companies prevent health, safety, and environmental (HSE) events, allowing them to address operational issues without sending employees into dangerous zones. Drones also provide easy surveillance of remote or hard-to-reach assets, such as storage tanks.

The Benefits of Drones Services on the Job Site

Drones Services provide O&G companies with many benefits, including cost savings, improved communication, a safer work environment, and more accurate data. Read on to explore the key ways drones can transform your workflows.

Cost-saving Inspections With Drone Services

Inspecting O&G infrastructure and gathering critical data with drones costs substantially less than traditional inspection methods that require ground crews or manned flights. Many drones can even withstand harsh temperatures, winds, and other conditions. They get much closer to infrastructure than a helicopter or airplane, providing better visuals and data.

Drones Services also minimize downtime by avoiding the need to shut down operations for inspections and by catching leaks and other maintenance issues early, lowering remediation costs. Drones enable employees to conduct inspection and monitoring tasks without exposing themselves to the typical dangers of O&G operations. As a result, work hours lost due to injuries decline, medical expenses and insurance costs shrink, and the number of workplace events reported to OSHA and other regulatory agencies drop.

Drones Services Make For Safer Work Environments

Manual infrastructure inspections are often dangerous.4 Inspectors at wells and offshore rigs must climb up and down ladders and along catwalks — and even use cranes or harnesses and rappelling equipment to reach equipment. Inspectors often work in close proximity to harmful chemicals and dangerous machinery. Drones perform inspections without risking employee safety. They’re particularly useful for inspections after blowouts or natural disasters — or when sending a ground crew to a site may be difficult, costly, or unsafe.

Drones Services Provide Faster, More Accurate Data Collection

Drones Services provide a flexible platform for a wide range of cameras and sensors. They can collect data needed for situations requiring real-time solutions or store data for analysis downstream. Businesses can easily integrate imagery and other data from drone flights into analytical and AI solutions for advanced processing. For example, software solutions use topographical and geological data gathered by drones to create models that help identify promising oil and gas drill sites.

Not only do drones gather information more efficiently than human inspectors, the digital data enables employees to make better, data-driven decisions. This drastically reduces downtime, catches conflicts and issues faster, and helps keep your operation running at peak efficiency.

Increase Communication With Drones

The remote nature of oil and gas work often requires operators to communicate with workers on sites around the world. This can present a challenge to managers and engineers working from the headquarters and collaborating with the boots on the ground. But drones Services can make things easier.

Workers on the ground can fly drones on their site and upload the data to the cloud where back office managers can review and coordinate further inspection or follow ups—all without leaving the desk chair. Using specialized software will make it easy for the back office to markup maps or drop in annotations in real time so that inspectors can check on pressure points, leaks, or other potential issues.

Drones Services provide extremely precise aerial intelligence that simplifies and improves a wide range of O&G workflows. Whether inspecting hundreds of miles of oil pipelines for leaks, helping employees keep operations in compliance with regulations or enabling companies to construct infrastructure more efficiently, agile and flexible UAVs have quickly become a go-to tool for operators around the world.

Drones Services automate inspection workflows, making them faster, safer and less expensive. They enable O&G companies to spend fewer resources on surveying and monitoring, so employees are able to focus their time and efforts on deeper analyses of data from drones and other sources.

Drones Services are part of the larger trend toward the automation of tasks in the O&G industry. Automation will allow companies to make better decisions, reduce costs and produce energy products more efficiently.

More Drone Services Resources

Aerial Drone Inspection Operators & Photography Services (AdiOps), is an industrial drone solutions provider in the NJ-NY metro market. AdiOps offers clients high-end drone-based solutions, with the latest cutting-edge technologies embedded and supported by industry professionals. Aerial Drone Inspection Operators & Photography Services (AdiOps) is focused on providing solutions in the oil & gas, mining, construction, infrastructure and power sectors.