In particularly hostile and challenging deep water environments offshore, it is crucial to ensure asset management is effective, efficient and safe. Knowing the condition of assets is a pre-requisite for successful structural integrity assessments and to support risk based inspection strategies. UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) inspections gather HD imagery, video and thermal data for both General Visual Inspections (GVI) and Close Visual Inspections (CVI) akin to traditional rope-access inspection techniques. The fundamental benefit of UAV inspections are the vast savings in time and cost to perform in comparison to rope access and the significant reduction in consequent risk to inspectors. These savings will be analysed and compared with traditional techniques using a typical UAV inspection case-study where an oil and gas client saved 90%+ compared to traditional inspection techniques including rope-access inspection work. This representative case study will be used to investigate how a structural inspection of an offshore rig saved the equivalent of 392 days of rope access inspection work, 40 days of support vessel hire for supporting rope access inspection work and 28 days of work that would have been required during a shutdown by comparing and contrasting to traditional inspection techniques. Themes explored will include data capture, speed, safety and cost. More data can be gathered by the UAV in optical (video and stills) and thermal formats, from vantage points otherwise inaccessible to rope-access inspectors physically constrained to the platform. However, the data must be of high quality to add more value to decision-making. UAV pilots can be deployed offshore within a matter of hours to do emergency inspection work as and when required, freeing up bed space offshore. UAVs can typically inspect five structures (e.g. flare boom/tip, telecoms tower, helideck, bridge, under deck) within one week and all inspection reports and imagery can be delivered two weeks later. Rope-access inspections cost more than UAV inspections due to taking longer to complete and being man-power intensive. In the traditional model a 6 week shutdown would be planned periodically for major maintenance work. UAV inspections establish whether shutdowns are needed before they occur. Inspections of live flares before shutdowns can also allow replacement parts for flares to be ordered before shutdowns, minimising downtime and allowing the correct flare parts to be ordered. The key to better maintenance across the lifecycle of a rig is better flexibility, availability and speed of inspections. This paper will assess the best means of achieving this.

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