Petrofac News 1700X397
05 September 2018

Pushing the boundaries of inspections through digital technology

This is more than just a fantastic image of the Anasuria FPSO; it’s a demonstration of how we’re harnessing digital technology to provide enhanced asset support and maintenance in the North Sea.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s), or drones as they’re better known, are increasingly being used for monitoring and performing inspections on assets. Iain Heneghan, Engineering & Integrity Team Lead for Anasuria, tells us more…

“As part of our maintenance and integrity programme, we’ve introduced drone surveys to monitor the condition of the flare tip and ensure it remains safe, reliable and operable.

“In the past, we had to plan a full production shutdown to allow our core inspection team access to the flare tip. Not only is this a manual, high-risk job, requiring ropes and harnesses at a great height, but it also takes four days to remove hydrocarbons from the flare and re-introduce them following the inspection.”

Iain’s team trialled drone technologies and collaborated with an aerial survey specialist to inspect the flare while it was live and online. “The survey took just one day and avoided the requirement to shutdown – a huge time and cost saving for us. We also took the opportunity to conduct a survey of the hull and perform a dropped object sweep.”

The results were impressive – both the data captured and the images and footage of the FPSO. “The birds eye view is actually a lot of high resolution images stitched together”, explains Iain. “You can zoom in and see an amazing amount of detail. Our engineering teams often use the image to understand where equipment is located on the FPSO’.

So is Iain keen to explore other uses for drones on Anasuria? “Definitely! Drones can be used for activities like topside and under deck inspections, as well as for analysing storage tanks and pipelines. We’ve trialled drones for our crude oil storage tank inspections. Hopefully we can make this a reality and reduce the amount of time we have to send people into the tanks for.”