Sky-Futures, a UK-based provider of drone inspection services for the oil and gas industry, last week used its drones to carry out what they claim to be the first ever inspection by a drone in the Gulf of Mexico.
The oil and gas service and drilling company which had its drillship inspected was left unnamed.
The news comes just over 10 months after Sky-Futures received the 46th Section 333 Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) Exemption Certificate to operate drones in the USA, and opened their first North America office in Houston, Texas.
The inspection scope requested by the client included the derrick, a heli-deck and 4 cranes on a drillship and was completed in 2 days. According to Sky-Futures, current inspection methods would have taken 17 days to inspect the same scope of work. The company said it provided an inspection engineer and a remote pilot to do the job.
Sky-Futures says it has been delivering its services offshore in the North Sea, offshore Malaysia and in the Baltic Sea for five years, doing business with companies such as Apache, ConocoPhillips, Shell, Statoil and Petronas.
James Harrison, Co-founder and CEO said: “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 focussed on aggressively expanding our operations in the Gulf of Mexico and North America in the coming year.”
The company further explained that inspections completed by drone were safer, faster and more cost efficient than other inspection techniques used at onshore and offshore installations, including rope access and helicopter fly-bys. Furthermore, Sky-Futures said in a statement, inspections prevent personnel being put at risk and allow savings to be made by preventing unnecessary shutdowns.