Sky-Futures’ Offshore Drone Inspection Marks its First in Gulf of Mexico

Posted by Betsy Lillian on January 21, 2016 4 Comments
Categories : Utilities

Global unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) inspections provider Sky-Futures has completed what it says is its first offshore oil and gas inspection legally carried out in the Gulf of Mexico.

Conducted for a major oil and gas service and drilling company, the drone inspection took just two days to complete. Current inspection methods for the same scope of work would typically take 17 days, according to the company.

Offshore, Sky-Futures’ crew included an inspection engineer and remote pilot, who have both completed oil and gas drone inspection training at Sky-Futures’ training center in the U.K.

In addition to the Gulf of Mexico, Sky-Futures delivers drone inspections for oil and gas clients in the North Sea, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and North Africa. The business is headquartered in London and has offices in Houston; Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; and Aberdeen, Scotland. Through its Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) exemption issued in March, Sky-Futures USA, the Houston-based division, completed its first UAV inspection in September for another major oil and gas client.

“Since receiving our FAA exemption 10 months ago, we have made considerable progress: opening our office in Houston, growing our team by hiring and training remote pilots and engineers, and completing our first onshore contract in September 2015,” says Jay Forte, vice president of operations.

James Harrison, co-founder and CEO, adds, “We are now proven in providing safe and efficient inspections in the world’s largest single market, both on and offshore in the USA. We are focused on aggressively expanding our operations in the Gulf of Mexico and North America in the coming year.”

Sky-Futures, founded in 2009, says its team conducted 1,760 hours of drone inspections offshore in 2014 and has done offshore work globally for companies such as Apache, ConocoPhillips, Shell, Statoil and Petronas. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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  1. You may want to check your source, I know for certain other 333 exempt companies have been conducting oil platform inspections in the Gulf of Mexico for years know.

    • You might want to double check your source…

      The FAA just started accepting petitions for a 333 exemption in September 2014, with the first being approved months later. Any drone operations in the US or Gulf of Mexico prior to that were outside of the Federal regulations.

    • Considering the first 333 exemption issued for anything related to oil and gas was 12/10/2014 (barely 13 months ago), I don’t see how other companies have been operating in the Gulf of Mexico legally for ‘years’….

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