Oil Gas & Petrochemical

Kinsale Energy, previously Marathon Oil Ireland (MOIL), has been operating gas fields off the County Cork coast since 1978. The gas wells in the Kinsale Area have been producing for 40 years and it is anticipated they will reach the end of their productive life by 2020/21, when the gas reserves will have been depleted. At this point, decommissioning activity is expected to begin, which will see the wells permanently plugged and associated facilities, including two offshore platforms and the onshore Inch Terminal, decommissioned.

Multiple difficult to access inspection work scopes were completed on the platforms, such as the underdeck, risers and conductors and splash zone. Platform underdecks are traditionally a difficult area to inspect; access by rope access or scaffolding can be challenging and it can take several weeks to conduct the inspections, incurring high costs and requiring technicians to work at height for extended periods of time.

Ahead of the decommissioning campaign, Kinsale Energy selected Cyberhawk to conduct condition assessments of two platforms, plus an onshore communications tower, using drones.


Drone technology has presented a viable solution to these challenges. A highly skilled pilot can overcome the lack of GPS underneath the platform and fly fully manually to complete inspections which are quicker, safer and cost-effective.

The Cyberhawk team of two, an experienced offshore pilot and an industry trained inspection engineer, were flown to the first platform then transferred to the standby vessel to conduct a full underdeck inspection of the second (unmanned) platform. Following this, the Cyberhawk team then returned to shore to inspect a communication tower at the Inch Gas Terminal.

As well as the integrity assessments, our team also captured data which allowed a 3D point cloud model of the platform to be generated. This provided Kinsale Energy with a detailed, dimensionally accurate 360 degree view of the asset which meant the operator could plan decommissioning activity using contextualised, up-to-date visual information.

Chris Fleming, CEO at Cyberhawk said: “The benefits of drone technology for decommissioning are becoming widely recognised and we’re pleased to have completed this project, a first for offshore oil and gas in Ireland, for Kinsale Energy.

“As well as conducting integrity assessments ahead of decommissioning, it’s been hugely encouraging to see clients maximise our time on their platforms to capture data which gives them a previously unseen view of their asset. This information is being used in various ways, to support contract tendering , planning and scheduling, and also provides onshore staff with an understanding of the asset that they may not previously have benefitted from.

“We continue to invest in the development of our digital and asset visualisation solutions, which have become a major part of our drone inspection and survey business, allowing clients to use the data collected in various work streams.”


A Cyberhawk team recently completed a challenging ‘multiscope’ drone inspection at a platform belonging to a supermajor in the Norwegian North Sea.