Livingston, Scotland-based drone inspections provider Cyberhawk Innovations says it has completed an offshore unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) inspection in North America for an oil and gas supermajor.
The project was completed over the course of two weeks in Newfoundland. Cyberhawk used UAVs to inspect the live flare, the platform underdeck and the roof of the giant concrete gravity base, as well as conduct a number of thermal surveys.
Cyberhawk says UAVs – or remotely operated aerial vehicles (ROAVs) – were the preferred method of inspection for the project in order to reduce safety risks posed to personnel in the notoriously hazardous, foggy conditions off the east coast of Canada.
Malcolm Connolly, technical director and founder of Cyberhawk, says even with “eight years of rope-access inspection experience and seven years using ROAVs, this was one of the most challenging projects [he had] been involved in.”
“Carrying out the underdeck inspection work scope alone would have taken weeks of complex overside work for a rope-access team – or months for scaffolding to be erected. Add to that the challenging weather conditions on the Grand Banks, and this would realistically have resulted in an inspection campaign spanning over the whole summer,” Connolly explains.
“The main advantage that the ROAV had over other access techniques in this instance was its speed and its ability to capture large amounts of inspection information in short periods. Although the ROAV is able to operate safely in 30 knots of wind, during this project we were only able to fly on five out of 15 days due to either fog or gale-force winds. The number of areas that were inspected in five productive days proves the speed and efficiency of ROAV inspection,” he adds.