North American Oil & Gas Pipelines

JUL-AUG 2018

North American Oil & Gas Pipelines covers the news shaping the business of oil and gas pipeline construction and maintenance in North America, including pipeline installation methods, integrity management innovations and managerial strategies.

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18 North American Oil & Gas Pipelines | JULY/AUGUST 2 018 Contractors hire Asset Drone for varied tasks including site surveys before, during or after various important events. D rones, of all shapes, sizes and configurations, are becoming a common sight on construction projects and slowly but surely are matriculat- ing to the oil and gas pipeline sector as well. Those involved with drone technol- ogy, and who are also familiar with oil and gas pipelines, note that we are still in the early-adopter phase. Of all the construction sectors, oil and gas, is often slow to embrace new technology. To understand the rise of drones — also referred to as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) — one needs to look at the August 2016 decision by the FAA to pass Part 107 of the Federal Aviation Regulations to legalize the use of drones for commercial purposes. The Part 107 license covers small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) that weigh less than 55 lbs, including everything that is on- board or attached to the drone. The passage prompted forward thinking companies to get employees licensed or explore how drones could be implemented in daily operations. It also led to the start-up of companies that specialize in drone services. According to a recently released study conducted by Blue Research, the construction and engineering seg- ment has the high- est adoption rate of drones. The study was conducted on behalf of Skyward, a Verizon company, which offers drone operations manage- ment and consulting. For the study, Blue Research sampled 1,736 individu- als who worked at a random mix of U.S. companies with $50 million or more in revenue. The results showed that 35 percent of companies in the construction and engineering segment used drones. A Plenitude of Uses "Drones can be used in a variety of ways in the midstream oil and gas sector relative to transmission and distribution. The most obvious is ef- ficient visual inspection of pipelines and vessels," says Jason Worley, presi- dent and CEO at Asset Drone. "Other applications include utilizing special sensors, software and methods. Ex- amples include looking for signs of a leak by examining vegetation that ap- pears stressed, high-accuracy mapping and location of pipeline infrastructure, looking for vegetative encroachment, erosion or other concerns in hard-to- reach areas, and we are also working on some NDT testing by drone, to include material thickness testing of vessels and pipelines." Formed in 2017, Asset Drone is pri- marily a technology and information gathering business and counts drones as its main tool to gather data. Head- quartered outside of Fort Worth, the company has a fleet of about 25 drones and has full-time and contract pilots available across the United States. Asset Drone's customers include asset own- ers, engineering firms and contractors. "We knew we were entering this space early in the technology adoption C OV E R STO RY

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