• 4 minutes China 2019 - Orwell was 35 years out
  • 7 minutes Wonders of US Shale: US Shale Benefits: The U.S. leads global petroleum and natural gas production with record growth in 2018
  • 11 minutes Trump will capitulate on the trade war
  • 14 minutes Glory to Hong Kong
  • 11 mins PETROLEUM for humanity 
  • 43 mins Disenfranchised people are angry people - map of global electoral systems
  • 36 mins Why don't the other GOP candidates get mention?
  • 6 hours Brexit agreement
  • 5 hours Yesterday Angela Merkel stopped Trump technology war on China – the moral of the story is do not eavesdrop on ladies with high ethical standards
  • 3 hours Bloomberg: shale slowing. Third wave of shale coming.
  • 2 hours China's Blueprint For Global Power
  • 6 hours ABC of Brexit, economy wise, where to find sites, links to articles ?
  • 5 hours Spain Is On The Edge...Clashes Between Catalonia And "Madrid"
  • 9 hours Erdogan Holds All The Cards ... 3.6 Million Of Them
  • 6 hours 5 Tweets That Change The World?
  • 7 hours Philadelphia Energy Solutions seeks to permanently shut oil refinery - sources
Alt Text

Will OPEC+ Cut Production Even Further?

The outlook for oil markets…

Alt Text

Tesla's 5 Most Inspiring Inventions

While Elon Musk garners most…

Irina Slav

Irina Slav

Irina is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.

More Info

Premium Content

Oil Jobs Under Threat From Drones

The drones are coming to oil and gas and they may soon be intelligent enough to replace humans in on-site inspections. That’s what the latest experiments carried out by drone makers in the oil field suggest, with the drone makers boasting much shorter inspection times and comparable inspection accuracy.

Right now, time and accuracy of inspections are the top priorities. “If we could do that [facilities inspections] much more quickly and in many more sites at the same time using drone technology, then we're giving these companies an unprecedented level of visibility that they previously would have struggled to achieve at the same rate with the same ease,” one drone maker told Forbes’ Mark Venables.

Renner Vaughn, from drone software company Cape, also said the company is now working on boosting the machines’ “intelligence” to boost the accuracy and comprehensiveness of the inspections. Also, there is the possibility of oil company inspectors to do the inspecting themselves from their offices, via a real-time feed from the drone.

Another company, aerial intelligence supplier Measure, recently gauged the accuracy of drone inspections on a solar power facility compared to the accuracy of human inspections. The result was a near tie at 99 percent accuracy for both humans and UAVs. There was one big difference, however. The human inspection took two days. The drone inspection took just two hours.

Sure, solar installations are not oil fields, but they are energy facilities nonetheless, so the results of Measure’s study could be extrapolated and applied to the oil industry as well. It’s all about attention to detail, so to speak, and knowing what to look for, combined with the very pro-drone fact that they could get to the facility to be inspected much more quickly than humans who have to drive there. Related: The Regulation That Could Push Oil To $200

Drone use is on the rise in pipeline inspections as well. “Examples include looking for signs of a leak by examining vegetation that appears stressed, high-accuracy mapping and location of pipeline infrastructure, looking for vegetative encroachment, erosion or other concerns in hard-to-reach areas, and we are also working on some NDT testing by drone, to include material thickness testing of vessels and pipelines,” according to Jason Worley, CEO of another drone-using company, Asset Drone.

The oil and gas industry, however, has a long way to go to fully utilize the opportunities provided by drone technology. That’s no surprise: it is a notoriously wary industry, after all, used to doing things the way they have been done for decades. Also, drone inspections do not work 100 percent of the time for 100 percent of facilities in the wider energy industry: Measure’s study found that manual inspections bested drone ones in wind farms, for example.

Yet things are changing. Drone technology is new and there’s plenty of space for further innovation. Cost-efficiency, speed, and accuracy will continue to be top priorities for both the oil industry and its aerial intelligence services providers, so facility inspection could soon become yet another segment of oil and gas where machines begin to replace people.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

More Top Reads From Oilprice.com:




Download The Free Oilprice App Today

Back to homepage



Leave a comment

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News
Download on the App Store Get it on Google Play