Drones can provide a number of benefits for companies in the oil and gas industry, from reducing costs to improving safety. By integrating drones into their operations, oil and gas companies can improve their surveying, regular maintenance checks, and safety and business processes. Here are some of the hidden benefits of using oil and gas drones.
1. Provide Detailed 3D Models for Superior Planning and Accuracy
During pipeline development, drones can be used to produce accurate high-resolution surveys. As pipeline development becomes increasingly complex, it becomes necessary to produce increasingly detailed surveys. Drones can be used with technology like LiDAR to get detailed information about terrain, even if that terrain is overgrown and covered with brush.
Better planning and accuracy leads to fewer delays, which can be extraordinarily costly during the process of development. It also leads to fewer incidental issues; finding out that a survey is incorrect or incomplete after the fact can lead to the project needing to be dramatically revised. Altogether, drones speed up and improve upon the process of conducting a survey.
Detailed 3D models can further be used to simulate further development or to test out developments before ground is broken. These 3D models are accurate enough to be used to predict how buildings and structures will interact with future changes.
2. Maintain Safety Inspections for Improved Environmental and Worker Safety
Oil fields and oil and gas pipelines may not be inspected very often due to the prohibitive cost of ground inspections. Drones can be used for regular aerial inspections, to identify potential issues with work sites, and to improve environmental and worker safety. These inspections can be done faster and more regularly than ground surveys, and so may catch potential safety issues before they become problems.
A single environmental issue can cause millions of dollars in damages, and worker safety issues can damage morale. Having drone safety inspections will increase accountability around a work site and improve its safety record. In addition to surveying for worker safety, drones can inspect locations that would otherwise be prohibitively difficult or unsafe for crew to inspect, due to remoteness, rough terrain, or suspected leaks of hazardous material.
3. Complete Surveys and Inspections for Lower Costs of Maintenance
Surveys and inspections completed through drones cost less, thereby improving an oil and gas company’s bottom line. Lower costs of maintenance can relate directly to the profitability of an oil and gas project, which is important given the fact that oil and gas companies can often fluctuate dramatically in terms of revenue.
In addition to surveying for worker safety, drones are also able to survey for issues related to damage, repair, and maintenance. Commonly, drones can be used to survey a pipeline for visible overgrowth, which can break down the pipeline over time and cause costly issues. Through proactive repairs and maintenance, an oil and gas company can reduce the chances of more serious, costly issues.
4. Improve Equipment Maintenance through Integration with IoT
In addition to regular pipeline surveying services, drones can be connected directly with sensors and IoT devices to automatically detect issues with equipment. Heat sensors, for instance, can see whether equipment may be running too hot, while communications with IoT devices could discover whether there are meters that are running too high.
By integrating drones with advanced, new technology, an oil and gas field company can create an intelligent network that can identify potential issues with its equipment early, using big data to determine when equipment may fail before it shows signs of failing, and creating better business processes through its analytics.
These are only some of the major benefits to using oil and gas drones; there are many more besides. Professional drone services have a wide array of benefits for oil and gas companies, from pipeline development to the maintenance of oil rigs and sites. For more information on how drone surveys and inspection can be a critical asset to your next oil or gas project, contact Landpoint today.