Drones are flying devices that capture live images of places that are difficult to reach. Drones have transformed the way inspection and aerial surveys are carried out. Technological advancements in battery technology and sensor have expanded the capacity of drones. The energy industry uses drones for inspecting remote areas where oil and gas are found and can get real-time observation for unconventional resources of energy. Drones have transformed the traditional pattern of monitoring oil wells, oil and gas pipeline and wind turbines that were done manually.
Recently world’s largest provider of drone based services Sky-Futures have announced their strategic partnership with Global Energy Group, Scotland, they will collectively provide end to end UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) inspection services to a wide variety of industries including oil and gas, utilities, renewables (onshore or offshore winds), civils and many others. These services will provide time efficient solutions and is equally price efficient. The inspection capabilities include experienced inspectors, drones, and artificial intelligence powered data platform, and data analytics tools. This inspection services will improve the capacity of drones and help energy industry to grow better.
Drones can benefit energy industry on multiple grounds. Some of these are:
In the oil and gas industry, drones are used for surveillance and inspection of drilling rigs during onshore and off shore operations.
Integrity checks can be done on crude oil pipelines that are spread out in thousands of kilometer of land.
Leakage identification, pipe failure, and stealing of crude oil can be done with the help of a drone, which otherwise is a manual and an expensive task.
Power and utility industry can also use drones for inspecting cables and site surveillance. Solar power plants, renewable energy industry, and wind turbine farms that are spread across huge land masses can also be protected through drone checks.
Management, Surveillance, and quick checks has helped various industries to protect their resources and have saved cost and time that was not possible through regular procedure.
Drones are available in various designs in the market, but few players also provide customized drones on specific demands. Generally for surveillance and inspection hybrid, nano, rotary blade, and fixed winged drones are used. Ease of operation, cost effective nature, high definition camera technology, and easy accessibility of remote areas are some of the aggregators that have increased the demand for drones in the energy industry. But these simple yet extremely important tasks can be misused for terror activities by antisocial groups. Furthermore, norms and regulations for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) usage can also restrain the drones market to grow.
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Drone market for energy industry will significantly gain from emerging nations and from countries that have high dependence on natural resources, driven highly on agriculture, and have renewable sources of energy. At the same time, extensive investments in UAV services are defining the market landscape, refining line-of-sight applications such as surveillance of inspection of offshore platforms & refineries, ocean-going ships, and watching of power lines, wind turbine, solar panel all can come under purview of drones.