Unmanned Vehicles (UV) can be classified by the environment in which they operate. The vehicle may or may not be autonomous.

  • Sea: Unmanned underwater vehicles (UUV),

  • Land: Unmanned surface vehicles (USV)

  • Air: Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), popularly known as drones

The life cycle of oil and gas fields can be broadly divided into four phases: Exploration & Appraisal, Development, Production, and Decommissioning. Unmanned vehicles are increasingly finding applications in all these four phases. The use of unmanned vehicles in air, sea and land, can minimize exposure of personnel to dangerous environments, monitor the environment, improve efficiency of operations, improve asset integrity, and assist site reconnaissance and data gathering.

Key enablers to the recent wide-spread applications of unmanned vehicles in the industry are advances in remote sensing technology, artificial intelligence, data analytics as well as the decreasing costs. Unmanned vehicles and robotics offer opportunities to the oil industry to make a step change to the way we do things.

This paper presents an overview of the current and potential applications of the emerging technology of unmanned vehicles in the oil and gas industry.

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