UK association issues guidelines for use of drones offshore

Offshore staff

LONDONOil & Gas UK has issued new guidelines for use offshore of unmanned aerial systems (UAS), otherwise known as drones.

A specially assembled work group developed The Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Operations Management Standards and Guidelines, including industry and aviation safety specialists and UAS operators.

Mick Borwell, the association’s health, safety and environment director, said: “A small but increasing number of oil and gas operators are using UAS for inspections predominantly, but also for aerial photography, surveying, and security.

“The technology is particularly attractive for its use in improving safety. For example, sending unmanned aircraft instead of people into confined spaces to conduct inspections reduces risk, and is also effective and efficient. We expect their usage to grow.”

The new guidelines aim to achieve consistency with safety and operating standards already in place on the UK continental shelf for offshore oil and gas production and helicopter flight operations.

“The intention is to encourage offshore operators planning on using this emerging technology to think about the whole operating and safety system offshore and not just the air vehicle,” Borwell explained.

“The guidelines have evolved from lessons learned in recent years and provide information about best practice, procedures, and the certification needed to be compliant with UAS regulations. They are an important piece of work addressing the application of a new technology to the offshore environment which will help to ensure operations on the North Sea remain as safe as they can be.”

01/11/2017

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