Nowadays, across the Energy Industry, there is no longer any discussion on the ‘Return of Investment’ for using drones for specific use cases such as Asset Integrity Inspections.
Given the time saving, the amount of data gathered, the better use of resources and worker safety benefits, using drones for several fields of application is a ‘no brainer’ for Eni.
In the last years Eni interest in using drones raised, paying now more and more attention to new fields of application such as HSE, Security, Seismic and Logistics in order to support several needs.
New Hardware and Software allows performing new types of operations as listed below, but not limited to:
Beyond Visual Line Of Sight (BVLOS) operations.
Fully autonomous operations.
Light Material transport
Long range pipeline surveillance
In order to achieve above targets Eni put in place several processes:
A continuous market trends analysis in order to identify technologies, providers and services to perform new types of operation in a proper and safe manner. Analysis results are shared inside Eni and between Eni HQ and ENI Business Units with the aim to improve internal know – how.
A continuous communication between Eni HQ and Eni Business Units allows identifying technologies to design in-house because of not satisfied by the market.
Development of new competence and skills. Thanks to new technical competences inside Eni LOGIS Aviation competence center, Eni improves day by day the knowledge of national and international regulatory system and the collaboration with local Aviation Authorities.
Release of internal regulatory documents based on international regulatory system, to define rules, guidelines and procedures with the aim to manage, standardize, support and guarantee safe, healthy and secure UAS Operations.
Issue of dedicated feasibility study with cost/benefits/constraints evaluation
Technical acceptance document for service providers
In light of above, Eni looks to use drones in the workplace just like any other ‘tool’, don't just think of drones in terms of what we see today but think about tomorrow with interest on combination between UAS and Artificial Intelligence and UAS and IOT.
The implementation of UAS operations to several fields of application and in autonomous manner can really change the way to operate in O&G industry. This will facilitate not only operations at height but also operations offshore and in remote areas, with an improvement of safety for both operators and assets, reducing time and costs.