Sky-Futures completes first ever drone oil and gas inspection

A sign of the changing technology as Sky-Futures carries out its first ever drone inspection
A sign of the changing technology as Sky-Futures carries out its first ever drone inspection

Sky-Futures, the leading provider of drone inspection services for the global oil and gas industry, has completed the first ever oil and gas inspection by drone in the Gulf of Mexico for a leading global oil and gas service and drilling company.

The inspection is the first ever legally carried out in the Gulf of Mexico by a drone for the oil and gas industry. It 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 Drill ship and was completed in 2 days. Current inspection methods would have taken 17 days to inspect the same scope of work. Offshore, Sky-Futures provided a highly experienced crew consisting of an inspection engineer and remote pilot, who had both completed oil and gas drone inspection training at Sky-Futures specialist training centre in the UK.

The planning, execution and work flow was supported by Sky-Futures 5 years of oil and gas expertise delivering work offshore globally in the North Sea, Offshore Malaysia and in the Baltic Sea. This experience, including 1,760 hours of drone inspections delivered offshore in 2014, has seen Sky-Futures deliver work globally for leading companies such as Apache, ConocoPhillips, Shell, Statoil and Petronas.

This inspection marks Sky-Futures first inspection offshore in the GOM, following on from highly successful onshore work completed in the USA for a leading American oil and gas company in September 2015.

Jay Forte, Vice President Operations said: “Since receiving our FAA Exemption 10 months ago we have made considerable progress; opening our office in Houston, growing our team by hiring and training Remote Pilots and Engineers, and completing our first onshore contract in September 2015. We have now established ourselves as the leading drone inspection service provider in the Gulf of Mexico. We have proven that drones can be successfully used for more efficient and safe inspections in the gulf, just as we have already done across the world.’’

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.”

Inspections completed by drone are safer, faster and more cost efficient than other inspection techniques used at onshore and offshore installations, including rope access and helicopter fly-bys. Inspections prevent personnel being put at risk and allow savings to be made by preventing unnecessary shutdowns. Inspections completed offshore for other clients by Sky-Futures have saved over US$4M+ in operational efficiencies and avoiding unscheduled shutdowns.

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