Cyberhawk recently completed an onshore inspection project at an oil and gas refinery in Saudi Arabia. The workscope involved the close visual inspection of a flare tip and supporting structure.
The inspection quickly identified critical damage on the flare tip. Two cracks were found on two different nozzles that could cause a potential dropped object risk. Each of these nozzles weighs over 40kg so they could prove extremely dangerous for staff and other assets in the refinery.
This first inspection is part of a monthly inspection regime that aims to identify the rate of damage propagation and ultimately defer a costly unplanned shutdown. The inspection took five days; on the first day, the team, of an experienced pilot and oil and gas inspection engineer, discussed the safety requirements and reviewed flying methods with the client. The following two days involved the actual UAV inspection which identified the cracks, and the final two days saw the development of an inspection report which addressed the critical damage.
Cyberhawk was chosen due to its strong global track record, working with oil and gas supermajors and national oil companies in the middle east for over eight years. Alternative inspection methods, such as rope access or scaffolding, would have taken weeks to complete, required a shutdown of the facility and would have presented significant risks to personnel, such as working at height. In this case, it would also have been difficult to spot the damage due to the design of the flare, which only allowed a clear view from above. Whilst a helicopter would have addressed this issue, it would have resulted in costs three to four times higher.
Thanks to the skill and ability of Cyberhawk’s pilots, the inspection of the critical flare tip was successfully completed, allowing the client to defer a costly shutdown and reduce potential risk to personnel.