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The Benefits of Optical Gas Imaging With a Drone

Oil and gas (O&G) pipelines are expensive assets that transverse both the natural and human environments. Any breaches in a pipeline may have potentially significant consequences for both. Diligent maintenance, monitoring, and inspection of this equipment help preserve the integrity of these pipelines.

Drones are quickly becoming an integral part of many industries. The ability to visualize beyond what the human eye can see and places that humans can’t easily reach has made it possible for these industries to remain competitive. In the process, clients benefit from more accurate and timely information. Thermal imaging provides early leak detection in oil and gas pipelines.

The oil and gas industry is one of the many industries that now deploy drones for optical imaging. By working smarter with drones outfitted with OGI intelligent technology and sensing solutions, you can visualize unseen gas and oil emissions from pipelines safely and without human risk.

With OGI technology, system shutdowns are no longer necessary – the sensitivity of the latest gas detection cameras on OGI-equipped drones can detect sulfur hexafluoride, methane, and hundreds of other hydrocarbon leaks quickly and accurately from a safe distance.

Monitoring the integrity of hundreds of miles of gas and oil pipeline networks would be very labor-intensive. Although Mile High Drones doesn’t offer “fixed-wing” services typically used in the inspection of long stretches of a pipeline, with the use of optional drone technology, many of the daunting tasks are removed and integrated thermal cameras can be set up to remotely monitor pump stations for fugitive leaks and emissions.

When using cloud-based processing, the data collected by the drones can be live-streamed or uploaded post-flight; inspection reports can be pushed to Asset Management software or sent directly to the asset managers. The flexibility and ease of data management have changed the industry, making the inspection of oil and gas pipelines as well as abandoned oil rigs safer and more accurate.

Inspection of rigs and abandoned wells

Regular inspections of oil rigs and abandoned wells could prevent catastrophic events such as the BP well; that well was being prepared for temporary abandonment when it blew.

According to petroleum engineers, even those wells that are properly sealed have been known to fail; metal casings rust and cement plugs can fail over time. Depleted production wells have been known to re-pressurize and spill oil if their seals fail. Each new leak puts our marine life and coastal economies at risk.

Wells can be temporarily abandoned for a number of reasons:

  • Wells may be capped until a later production phase
  • Oil companies may shut down production to re-evaluate their potential
  • Some rigs are shut down temporarily to work out a drilling problem or damage from a storm
  • Some owners may temporarily abandon wells to wait for a rise in oil prices

The inspection of these oil rigs, abandoned or live, is easily accommodated with the right optical gas imaging equipment. Mile High Drones uses highly-specialized equipment  to capture all the pertinent data that can be used to initiate repairs, replacement, and re-plugging of wells as well as ensure that fugitive leaks are capped.

According to industry trends, 2/3 of all pipeline failures are due to corrosion. However, if cost-effective drone inspections are performed regularly, asset managers would be able to accurately visualize and inspect, identify, and mitigate potential corrosion, cracks, and irregularities.

If your company is in the market for an O&G pipeline or abandoned rig inspection, leak detection or an oil and gas inspection, Mile High Drones has a nationwide network of licensed pilots ready to assist.  For your next inspection project, contact us to learn more about our experience with oil and gas inspections.

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