How DroneDeploy Keeps Upstream Oil & Gas Workers Safe

Prevent Accidents and Mitigate Risk with Drone Data

Wed Sep 23 2020 00:00:00 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

In our most recent blog series, we discussed how DroneDeploy powers asset management for a range of Oil & Gas companies. In this new three part series, we'll demonstrate how DroneDeploy can help upstream, midstream, and downstream companies keep their workers safe.

Upstream Oil & Gas companies harbor some of the most dangerous conditions - not just in their industry, but in any industry.

Whether it be offshore platforms or pump jacks, these hazards can seem endless for upstream workers – and the statistics bear this out. Between 2008 and 2017, 1,566 oil & gas workers died in unforeseen accidents. While oil has boomed in recent decades, causing increased demand for upstream companies, it’s also increased safety hazards. As regulations scale back and accidents rise, companies need to take advantage of technological advances proven to make work sites safer.

Offshore oil platforms cause additional hazards like unseen corrosion or slippery walkways.

The Dangers of Upstream Work Environments

Upstream facilities are at the constant mercy of natural conditions. For offshore platforms, saltwater and wind can cause unseen corrosion, slippery catwalks, and other unstable worker conditions. The maze of ladders, catwalks, scaffolding, and harness ropes can further complicate matters and increase the risk of falls. Gas build-ups, meanwhile, cause the potential for explosion and exposure to harmful inhalants.

On-land pump jacks have their own plethora of dangers. Counterweights and cables pose threats. Frack tanks and slush pits produce toxic fumes. Structural overloads and engineering errors can cause the potential rig collapse. The list goes on.

Since the oil & gas industry employs more than 10.3 million people, it's imperative that these workers be kept safe. Safety not only improves productivity and morale, but it also helps companies avoid costly government fines for safety violations.

There are many obstacles to keeping upstream workers protected, like the ones mentioned above. Thankfully, DroneDeploy can help companies mitigate risk, keep employees out of harm's way, and significantly (if not altogether) limit exposure.

Identify hot spots and problem areas with DroneDeploy's Thermal Live Map.

Preventing Accidents and Mitigating Risks

Preventative steps remain the most effective way to keep workers safe. Similar to healthcare, where preventing a disease is much easier than treating it after – the same goes for accidents at upstream facilities. 

Constant inspections and monitoring can help ensure that a rig's structural integrity is intact, that problem areas are addressed, and that workers are kept out of hazardous conditions. Instead of being reactive to problem areas, DroneDeploy allows users to manage them proactively. DroneDeploy empowers upstream companies to quickly and easily leverage drones to examine difficult-to-access and dangerous areas. DroneDeploy's thermal mapping capabilities can identify hot spots or regions of concern. Live Map, in real-time, can help workers inspect infrastructure that may be weakened due to exposure to natural elements and harsh conditions. With Live Stream, users can conduct a virtual site survey with their office teams.

DroneDeploy vastly reduces the number of workers needed inspecting areas or conducting dangerous work. The more everyone can keep workers on the ground and out of harm's way, the safer the operation will be.

DroneDeploy's Live Stream provides unparalleled, safe access to dangerous situations in real-time.

Reacting in Real-Time

If an accident occurs, DroneDeploy can also help upstream companies gain real-time insights into the situation at hand and react accordingly with lightning speed. DroneDeploy’s Live Stream does just that, providing an unparalleled view into unfolding situations. This works by displaying a secure, real-time video stream from a drone's eye view to team members, decision-makers, or emergency response teams on the ground. This relays vital information to decision-makers and experts without putting them in harm’s way.

Live Stream is also incredibly helpful in emergencies, as offshore platforms and pump jacks are often hundreds of miles from help. This feature lets emergency teams know how to best address the situation while providing improved communication and context for off-site engineers, first-response teams, executives, and command and control centers.

Preventative measures and real-time reaction empowered by DroneDeploy means your operation is safer and smarter than ever. And it will only get better: the potential for drones is endless when it comes to keeping upstream workers safe. Soon, advances will empower drones to gain insights in confined spaces, keeping workers out of further dangers inside tanks, tunnels, pipelines, and more.

If you’re interested in learning more about drone technology use in the oil & gas industry, read our article on how to perform site inspections within the energy sector, or watch our webinar on getting started with drones in oil & gas.

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