Oil & Gas

How DroneDeploy Powers Asset Management for Upstream Oil & Gas Companies

August 19, 2020

Upstream Oil & Gas companies are at the mercy of ever-changing natural conditions, including wind, storms, wildlife, and saltwater waves. These exposed platforms and pump jacks are under constant barrage from natural elements. Throw in potentially toxic gases, explosive materials, and flare stacks, and you’ve got a very combustible situation – one that is often hundreds of miles from help.

Drone software, though, empowers upstream Oil & Gas companies to transform their asset management. This technology creates safer site environments, reduces downtime, and takes proactive steps to ensure complex structures are compliant and operating at optimal levels.

Workers inspect an offshore rig damaged by the elements.
Offshore rigs present unique challenges to inspection.


Given the intricate and complex nature of offshore rigs, combined with the harsh natural elements, inspections are crucial to understanding potential problem areas on your platform. Pump jacks are also subject to unforgiving natural landscapes.

DroneDeploy’s Live Maps, whether RGB or Thermal, quickly offer insights – from whether flare stacks are properly emitting to potential gas build-ups in certain areas. Furthermore, high-resolution drone images promptly identify the first signs of rust and corrosion and let you take action to address it before it gets worse.

California Resources Corporation started using DroneDeploy in 2015 to inspect everything from dangerous methane or H2S gas leaks, ground subsidence of well pads, or flare stack anomalies. CRC has leveraged insights from DroneDeploy to go from being reactive to any repairs, to proactive in preventing such maintenance in the first place.

Drones and DroneDeploy have saved CRC over $205,000 in the first half of the year with an expected realized savings to be around $500,000 by the end of 2019. All attributed to inspections, surveillance, mapping, and reliability.

- Maurilio Espinoza, Process Excellence Lead, California Resources Corporation

Pictured: a pump jack in an oilfield.
Pump jacks are inherently dangerous to inspect.


There is no mistaking the inherent risk on Oil & Gas platforms or onshore pump jacks:

Gas build-ups create the potential for combustion and harmful inhalants. Steam and heat increase the chances of slippery surfaces. Meanwhile, your workers constantly navigate a labyrinth of ladders, catwalks, scaffolding, harness ropes, and more. They do this all in close proximity to harmful chemicals and dangerous machinery – and, for some, just a few yards above the open ocean.

DroneDeploy keeps your workers safe on the ground or in the office by reducing the number of people on site who conduct inspections. Drone software enables workers to stay on the ground, out of harm’s way, while allowing drones to capture unprecedented insights about a rig or well pad’s conditions in real-time.

Companies free up human capital while using drones to perform inspections.
By keeping operations running while holding inspections, companies optimize ROI.

Reducing Downtime, Optimizing ROI

An additional benefit of keeping workers out of harm’s way is that you free them up to conduct other priority work. If your workers perform maintenance only on assets that need to be updated or fixed, your company’s performance can only improve.

In the past, Oil & Gas pump jacks and rigs may have to shut down temporarily while waiting for a helicopter or external expert to arrive at the site. Or when rope access teams have to examine a flare stack, for example, that can shut down your operations and damage your bottom line. One company found that every day of downtime can cost Oil & Gas companies up to $7 million alone – that adds up quickly.

DroneDeploy’s solution can reduce typical inspections from weeks to hours, allowing your rig to run at maximum productivity, and only shutting down when you see issues, or you need to investigate further.

An offshore oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.
Environmental disasters are a huge concern to those on offshore oil rigs.

Ensuring Compliance

One of the most challenging aspects of working in the Oil & Gas industry is keeping up with strict regulatory oversight and ensuring your company has sufficient documentation to defend itself. Machinery needs to be up to code and operating correctly – otherwise, Oil & Gas companies can be subject to massive fines, especially if there is a leak or environmental disaster.

DroneDeploy helps you spot potential problems with your equipment, assets, and facilities while creating a historical source of truth to identify the conditions on your site on any given day. Companies also use this documentation to create transparency and trust with regulatory agencies and local governments.

The benefits of DroneDeploy are endless and boundless on dangerous sites like oil platforms and pump jacks. The most innovative upstream Oil & Gas companies trust their asset management to the engine that is DroneDeploy, optimizing their production, and minimizing risk.

Interested in transforming your company's asset management? Talk to one of our experts, or download our eBook on drone data solutions for the oil & gas industry.

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