Drone use cases have grown in oil and gas operations 

Drones are progressively deployed in the oil and gas industry for various operations that include inspection, refining, detection and handling processes. 

One of GlobalData’s latest thematic reports, ‘Drones in Oil & Gas’, provides an overview of the adoption of drones in the oil and gas industry. The report discusses several use cases for drones catering to a wide range of industry scenarios. It also evaluates the impact of drones on the oil and gas industry due to ongoing technological advancements. 

In the oil and gas industry, drones are being deployed for a variety of applications, including inspection of offshore platforms, refining equipment, leak detection in pipelines and other midstream assets, emergency response, and material handling. 

Image sensors or cameras with visual (RGB), infrared and light detection and ranging capabilities offer enhanced data collection capabilities for drones. Advances in drone-based imaging, sensing and data transmission are helping the oil and gas industry to devise newer use cases for drones. 

The role of drones in inspection has expanded from capturing RGB pictures and video to using infrared and laser technologies to record corrosion, weathering and spacing characteristics of the asset under consideration. Furthermore, gas detectors installed on drones enable the collection of emission-related data points. 

According to GlobalData forecasts, the global drone market will reach $89.6bn by 2030, up from $13.7bn in 2021. The market share of commercial drones will increase from 34% in 2021 to 64% in 2030. The oil and gas industry is anticipated to play a key role in the commercial drone market segment. 

Oil majors, such as Shell and TotalEnergies have pioneered drone deployment, and other industry players are actively picking up on the trend. Lately, oil and gas service companies have also started including drone-based services in their portfolio to cater to their growing demand. Baker Hughes and Schlumberger offer drone-based emission detection and mitigation services. 

Main image: Drone in flight. Credit: Ricardo Gomez Angel via Unsplash