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News Link • Drones

Flying Robots Replace Oil Roughnecks (VIDEO)

• Bloomberg

VIDEO

Oil rig inspection is a dangerous business. Traditionally roughnecks dangled from a wire, in gale-force winds if needed, to manually log wear and tear on the girders. Assessments include giant chimneys - called flare stacks - that belch fire during million-dollar-a-day shut-downs.

Increasingly, the industry has found that swapping abseiling humans for small drones equipped with high-definition and thermal cameras can save time, cut costs and improve safety.

"These are large metal structures in a big pond of sea water. They will rust a lot, particularly in the North Sea where rigs designed to last 20 years are lasting more than 40. They are continually getting cracks and physical damage from the waves and need to be refurbished and fixed," explains Chris Blackford, Sky Futures' chief operations officer.

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