London-based Sky-Futures, which provides drone inspection services for the oil and gas industry, last week completed what the company says is the first-ever oil and gas inspection by drone in the Gulf of Mexico for a global oil and gas service and drilling company.
The inspection is believed to be the first-ever legally carried out in the Gulf of Mexico by a drone for the oil and gas industry. It comes just over 10 months after Sky-Futures received the 46th Section 333 Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) Exemption Certificate to operate drones in the US, and opened its first North America office in Houston, Texas.
The inspection scope requested by the client included a derrick, a heli-deck, and four cranes on a drillship and was completed in two days. Current inspection methods would have taken 17 days to inspect the same scope of work. Offshore, Sky-Futures provided a crew consisting of an inspection engineer and remote pilot, who had both completed oil and gas drone inspection training at Sky-Futures specialist training center in the UK.
The planning, execution and work flow was supported by Sky-Futures’ five years of oil and gas experience delivering work offshore globally in the North Sea, offshore Malaysia, and in the Baltic Sea. This experience, including 1,760 hours of drone inspections delivered offshore in 2014, has seen Sky-Futures deliver work globally for companies such as Apache, ConocoPhillips, Shell, Statoil, and Petronas.
This inspection marks Sky-Futures first inspection offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, following onshore work completed in the US for an American oil and gas company in September 2015.
Sky-Futures says that inspections completed by drone are safer, faster, and more cost-efficient than other inspection techniques used at onshore and offshore installations, including rope access and helicopter fly-bys. Inspections prevent personnel being put at risk and allow savings to be made by preventing unnecessary shutdowns.
Sky-Futures now delivers drone inspection services in the North Sea, Middle East, South East Asia, North Africa, and in the Gulf of Mexico. The business is headquartered in London, with offices in Houston, Abu Dhabi, Kuala Lumpur, and Aberdeen.