Oil Gas & Petrochemical

Our experienced offshore drone pilot and industry qualified oil and gas inspection engineer were deployed to inspect the platform’s flare tip, flare deck, flare tower, underdeck and produced water caisson.

Inspection of underdecks is often a complex job. The traditional methods of access would be to use scaffolding or rope access technicians. Erecting and dismantling scaffolding of an underdeck area of this size would be extremely costly, potentially hundreds of thousands of pounds, making this technique unjustifiably expensive when other solutions exist. It would take many weeks to complete the full inspection scope.


The more likely alternative inspection technique would be to use rope access. This method presents a lower-cost solution and would take around two weeks to complete a scope of this scale.

Using a drone, however, brings even more efficiency to the inspection process. This underdeck inspection was completed within just one day, representing a dramatic time and cost-saving. The drone pilot is also able to obtain standoff shots of the underdeck, an angle that would not be obtainable from these alternative inspection techniques.

Rope access also presents an increased risk to safety, involving hanging from the platform attached by ropes, and extended periods of working at height.

The client opted to use drones to conduct this inspection to gain safe, efficient access to this complex area and ascertain a complete view from standoff shots to the imagery of focal areas.

Whilst the application of drone inspection is becoming more widely understood and embraced, a platform underdeck is one area that many believe is inaccessible by a drone. This is undoubtedly a challenging area to inspect, where pilots are met with no GPS, potential magnetic interference and complex structures to navigate around. In many cases, this results in the pilot hovering the drone at the edge of the platform and pointing the camera upwards. The implication of this is low-quality data, which does not give a close enough view of any potential defects and therefore cannot support decision-making.

A full underdeck inspection can, however, be undertaken by an experienced pilot who has the ability to fly completely manually, which Cyberhawk has once again proven in this case. Check out our video to see our team in action on this underdeck inspection.

The client was pleased with the results and continues to work with Cyberhawk to explore new applications for drone inspection on its assets.