Commercial use of drones – inspection drones to be specific – in Oil & Gas sector has been on the rise since around 2010. Leading Multinationals and some North American companies managing petroleum assets are among the first to tailor their inspection procedures incorporating the use of inspection drones. This inevitable switch is based on a rationale – safety of inspection personnel including ease of access to hazardous locations. Other factors that incentivize the use of inspection drones include time savings, lower costs, early warnings, improved data collection and sometimes the only viable option to get first hand information about an emergency event.

Petroleum industry assets are high-value-long-life assets which are built to process / handle hazardous fluids. Operation & maintenance of these assets is a carefully regulated activity under the dictates of regulatory guidance, codes & standards. These compliance obligations burden the operators of these assets to optimize operations based on reliability centered maintenance philosophy. Consequently, inspection drones have in a very short span of time (5 – 10 years), have succeeded in proving their utility to support the operators and asset managers in meeting responsibilities related to the following:

  • A-1. Operational Responsibility

  • A-2. Corporate & Social Responsibility (CSR)

  • A-3. Environmental Responsibility

  • A-4. Security Responsibility

This paper is an effort to collect and present data signifying the utility of inspection drones for asset management as well as optimized operations – onshore operations related to exploration and production as well as oil transportation.

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