There's no escaping the fact that since the crude price crash oil companies have been under pressure to cut costs and find innovative methods of unleashing efficiency gains. As one commentator puts it "when oil prices were high and rising, being cost-effective became less of a priority than making sure that the oil would keep flowing. Not any more. The industry was chasing barrels; now it's chasing efficiency."
The increasing use of drones to carry out oil rig inspections is a perfect example of the oil companies embracing innovation to achieve efficiency gains.
Until recently the traditional form of oil rig inspection involved the lowering of a roughneck by a wire to manually inspect and log damage and wear and tear to the girders and legs of the rig. Factor in gale force winds and gigantic waves and it becomes clear how dangerous and time consuming this method of inspection could be.
But now a new generation of drones are replacing the roughnecks and speeding up the inspection process with advanced tools such as high-definition cameras, lasers and thermal imaging equipment. The result is a significant reduction in costs, increased safety and vastly improved efficiency. To put this into context, Chris Blackford of Sky Futures (a leading operator of drone oil and gas inspection services) claims that drones can achieve in 5 days what would have taken human inspectors eight weeks.
We've these points in mind we have created an infographic which takes a closer look at the rise of drones within the oil and gas industry and the various uses to which they are being put.