Commercial drones have been used to great effect across many industries, from mining to construction to industrial inspections. Cost- and time-efficient, easy to use, and suitable for surveying all kinds of terrain, they are able to provide swift surveying and scanning services, delivering real-time monitoring and data collection. It is for all this and more that drones are a smart choice for use in the oil and gas industry.
The oil and gas industry poses a number of different challenges when it comes to safety adherence, site and stock inspections, and operations monitoring. And drones can help to mitigate certain risks, reduce downtime, and save costs.
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Potential uses for drones in the oil and gas industry
1. Safe and swift inspections
Using drones to inspect site operations, stockpiles, or volatile areas can save valuable time and money and, most importantly, protect human life. Inspections by drone can be carried out quickly (at high mobility) and with little-to-no downtime. They remove the need for human inspectors to climb flare stacks or high-risk structures such as stockpiles and are able to operate in difficult conditions. Aerial inspections allow for detailed data collection revealing potential flaws, inconsistencies, and hazards, necessary to producing proactive maintenance and prevention plans.
2. Early fire detection
Where there’s gas or oil, there’s the potential for fire. Using thermal imaging sensors, customised drones have the ability to detect abnormal thermal signatures in electrical systems, pipes, and pumps before a blow-out occurs. They can also help to detect fluctuations in temperature that could lead to equipment failure.
3. Crisis support
Drones can be used to monitor and report back on critical situations such as rig fires or structural collapses. From assessment to the detection of individuals in trouble, this information can be of great use to fire fighting and emergency response teams on their way to deal with a crisis.
4. Making the most of the latest tech
From Wi-Fi connections that direct data to shared cloud systems to gas sensors, the latest drone technology allows drones an even greater scope when it comes to monitoring and reporting. The latest methane gas sensors, for example, can be used to detect gas leaks on oil rigs in place of inspectors who face the risk of methane poisoning.
5. Security surveillance
When it comes to stockpile and storage tank thefts, drones make for a superior surveillance tool. From rigs to pipelines, they can be particularly effective in monitoring and recording oil thefts and illegal activities. Plus, they might act as a deterrent as well.
Want to implement the use of drones in your industry? We can help! Licensed and experienced drone operators, we offer a wide range of commercial and turnkey drone surveying and mapping services. We work with professional organisations and government bodies across Africa and aim to help our clients achieve the best possible results while reducing industry-specific risks and saving on project costs.