In 2012, Cyberhawk was selected by oil and gas supermajor, Shell, to carry out a condition based inspection at the Brent Delta platform in the North Sea. This was an ongoing project as part of the decommissioning of the platform that took place in late April 2017. The workscope involved the inspection of the jack up legs and underdeck.
Due to our extensive track record and ability to fly underneath platforms (a GPS denied environment), the client deemed Cyberhawk the best fit for the project. Previous efforts using scaffolding and rope access were unsuccessful due to the inaccessibility and the wild sea state which often washed the scaffold away. With the use of drones, the client was able to reach an informed decision as to whether a single lift of the platform was even possible based upon a condition assessment of the underdeck.
This inspection, which took place in 2012, was the world’s first underdeck inspection using drones. Cyberhawk faced a number of challenges throughout the inspection. With no GPS signal while flying the UAV underdeck, the team relied heavily on their piloting skills as no automated functions could be used. Since then, numerous inspections of the underdeck have been completed, offering accurate data on the condition of the platform over time.
Recently, our technology also allowed the client’s engineers to make a final thorough assessment prior to decommissioning, by using a 3d model created by Cyberhawk by means of photogrammetry. This model was compared against the design model for discrepancies, as often modifications are made which aren’t fed back to the design team.
All the information used for planning successfully assisted a smooth and risk free run of the project,. Furthermore, by using the decommissioning vessel on standby for less time, costs were reduced dramatically.
The Brent Delta platform decommissioning also has a more personal twist for Cyberhawk. Back in the early 80s, our CEO’s father Jesz Fleming worked for Shell as the client representative on the saturation diving vessel, Arctic Seal. Chris remembers hearing the stories about the brave men who spent their working days in the deep dark water of the North Sea. As many tasks once carried out by divers are now completed by ROVs, in the aim to reduce risk for personnel, the drone is also now replacing humans and, where possible, removing exposure to potential risk.