News

Cyberhawk Sail Through Offshore Platform Inspection in North Sea

John Zink image 1 jpg
29 November 2021

A Cyberhawk team was deployed to The North Sea to complete an inspection of a monumental offshore platform. The scope of work included a complete inspection of the platform’s flare tip, flare deck, flare tower, produced water caisson and, most challengingly, the underdeck. This seemingly insurmountable list of assets was tackled by one pilot and one engineer and completed in a mere few days. Read on to learn how we did it.

Underdeck

Underdeck inspection is a notoriously complex job. In times gone by, traditional methods called for the use of tricky rope access or, in lots of cases, scaffolding.

Erecting and dismantling scaffolding for an area the size of an underdeck is incredibly costly - potentially hundreds of thousands of pounds – and can make it an unjustifiably expensive option when other solutions exist.

Rope access - while more common – comes with its own set of limitations. It would take around two weeks to complete a project of this scope and, more importantly, comes with the unnecessary risk of dangling a human being by rope above dangerous choppy waters.

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Enter: Drone Inspection

Cost, risk and project duration can all be significantly shortened using our method of inspection: Drone.

In this particular instance, the underdeck inspection was completed in one day; representing a significant saving of time and cost.

As noted above, rope access also presents an increased risk to safety, as it involves hanging from the platform by rope for extended periods, often working at height.

For these reasons, 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.

The Best Shot: Caught Only on Drone

Not limited to just efficiency savings, our pilot was able to achieve additional standoff shots of the underdeck - at an angle that would not be obtainable via traditional inspection techniques.

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Room to Manoeuvre

It’s a common misconception that the underdeck area is inaccessible by drone.

Complex structures, potential magnetic interference and a lack of GPS can make it a difficult operation for most. Traditionally inspection attempts there often take place at the edge of the platform and mean having to point a camera upwards towards the area in question. The implication of this is that the data is low-quality and does not give a close enough view of any potential defects and cannot support effective decision-making.

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That’s not the case, however, when you have Gold Standard Cyberhawk pilots. As a minimum, we make sure our pilots can fly without the aid of GPS and navigate around even the most complex structures manually.

Check out our video to see the team carrying out the job below.

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Hop Onboard

If you would like to learn more about our offshore services, you can do so here.