How Drones are playing an important role enabling Internet of Things (IoT) for Oil and Gas industry

"Rarest Challenges of Oil & Gas industry can be addressed by introducing the Drones / Underwater Drones technology"


Drones are changing the way oil and gas facilities and infrastructure are being inspected and monitored by enabling the rapid and safe collection of high-resolution imagery and video of plants, platforms, and pipelines.

Since it’s an era of digital transformation in oil & gas industry and we are aware of many challenges of oil & gas industries those are still cannot be addressed automatically even by the most advanced technologies in existence as of today. Committing for everything related to infrastructure or processes to be auto-repairable or auto-corrective may not be less than a joke in today’s time. Oil & gas industry being an applied industry has grown up with the inventions in several scientific and engineering areas like electronics, optics, kinematics, radioactivity, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering etc. With the advancement on technologies oil & gas industries take initiatives and do the experimental tests after getting successful results of these tests technologies are implemented. So a good amount of delay or time-leg can be expected in the advanced technologies and oil & gas latest technologies.

Drones have proven their worth in multiple industries wherever they have been tested even just for the experimental purpose. It’s been around half a decade continuous improvement of drones is in progress whether in their functioning, dynamics, imagining or controlling etc.

Key Benefits of Drone for Oil and Gas Industry (Upstream, Midstream, Downstream):

  • Safer and quicker inspections: Perform faster inspections and improve worker safety by minimizing use of scaffolding, cranes, or helicopters.
  • Better inspection information: Spot issues earlier by using visible light and infrared sensors to inspect flare stacks and chimneys while operating.
  • Minimize facility downtime: Maintain production goals by avoiding shutting down equipment for routine facility inspections.

Surveyors and geoscientist working on the projects of land/ marine seismic data acquisition may fix-up the multiple issues arising during the acquisition operations like monitoring of geophones/ hydrophones, keeping watch on the noise at the time of shot in land operations or in place of the safety boats in marine operations.
bilfinger-salamisAt the time of drilling operations drones can be used for the regular inspections/ monitoring of different parts of the drilling rig and even at the time of laying offshore platforms or in the regular inspection of corrosion in the different water touching areas of offshore platforms. As we know the offshore platforms are very sensitive and half of the working stuff on the platforms is only meant for the monitoring and inspections so by introducing drones in offshore drilling & production platforms a lot of efforts, time and money can be saved without compromising any quality on the other hand more elaborated record of the condition of the platform could be maintained.

Thorough surveillance efforts of the drilling/production operations in unconnected remote areas on-land/ marine can be optimized multifold with the help of drones where the experts teams are sent on regular basis.

Most widely used mode of transportation of the hydrocarbons is pipeline. Midstream companies spend millions every year only for the surveillance of pipeline in the remote areas as well as on the regular inspections for rusting in pipeline on-land and underwater. These companies maintain the separate teams for different areas only for surveillance and monitoring to assure the safety, security and proper functioning of the pipelines. Use of drone for the surveillance and monitoring will reduce the efforts and cost multifold with the better reliability otherwise 90% of the times human ignorance gives rise to the major accidents. Pipeline maintenance team could reach to the exact spot immediate for the maintenance.
image2There are shallow underwater drones as well those can take the pictures of pipeline underwater and can carry out the surveys for producing a detailed image of the sea floor to lay the pipelines as well otherwise such inspections/surveys are done with the help of geophysical instruments like side scanning sonar, echo sounder and sub-bottom profiler etc.

Refining, selling, storage and distribution operations can also be tracked using drones with the highest accuracy without any scope of negligence.

Though it drones are new for the common peoples but continuous advancement of drone technology is underway now the fusion of drone images is possible with the GIS and satellite images and underwater drones have also been invented.
dst_52826There are many operations those can be made easier and far more reliable if the drone technology supposed to be introduced like – seabed mapping for the accurate water depth, underwater pipeline leakage, prediction of accurate location of rusting in underwater portion of the oil wells, during marine acquisition surveys for cable locations monitoring or oceanic bottom cable(OBC) locations monitoring and gives the exact information of the causes of rear anomalies in recording instruments like fresh water gayer, whale talking, debris hitting to the hydrophone/ acoustic ponders, birds in specific streamer or locations of tail-buoy etc.

Drones with some robotics have also come in existence which could solve many of the problems of oil & gas industry like collecting core samples from multiple locations (on-land/ marine) or controlling the operations according to conditions.

Petro-physicists will wait till the drones could be sent under the drilled wellbores and could take picture of borehole walls and could take out the core samples from the desired locations in the well.

Expecting drone geophones, hydrophones and whole seismic data acquisition infrastructure controlled through the drones or in the form of drones, drone rigs and supply at the remote onshore/ offshore locations through drones in near future shouldn’t be surprising.