Drone survey and inspection post-earthquake in the Southern Hemisphere

Case Study

Drone survey and inspection post-earthquake in the Southern Hemisphere


A violent earthquake in the Southern Hemisphere resulted in considerable damage occurring in the area. An oilfield operator in the region was concerned not only with the welfare of its people, but also the impact of the earthquake on its assets, as well as the effect of subsequent aftershocks which lasted up to a month after the initial tremors.

The operator contacted Cyberhawk and requested we mobilise a team to this remote area as a matter of urgency, to inspect and survey the processing equipment and infrastructure.

Tanks, bridges, flares, columns, accommodation blocks and roads were inspected. Deliverables including accurate orthophotos, 3D models and virtual tours, as well as detailed inspection reports to highlight the severity of any damage.

The operator chose drones as the preferred method of inspection due to:

  • Speed – production had ceased until the extent of damage had been confirmed and it was deemed safe to bring the field back online, therefore it was important the inspection was conducted as quickly as possible.
  • Access to difficult areas – many parts of the field had become extremely difficult for personnel to access and with potential aftershocks still occurring, the use of drones was much quicker and safer, and offered the ability to capture a highly detailed visual record of every asset.

We sent in a highly experienced team – a drone pilot and an inspection engineer – who spent two weeks on-site, inspecting assets for up to 12 hours per day. Hundreds of gigabytes of data were captured during this time and due to the speed in which reports were required, our team processed the data remotely, conducting engineering analysis at our inspection centre in the UK.  This meant comprehensive reports could be sent to the client on a daily basis via iHawk, our cloud-based reporting system.

More than 50 deliverables were provided to the client, who was pleased with the data and impressed with the accuracy of results. Production at the field commenced soon after our team completed the project.

Share this post: