Taking a Drone on an Oil Pipeline Inspection Test Drive

Adequately inspecting the 167,000-miles of pipelines that crisscross the nation carrying oil and refined petroleum products like gasoline and jet fuel is difficult, maybe impossible.

Although there are more than 100 significant spills a year, a federal agency requires companies to focus their inspections on only 44 percent of the land-based pipelines near towns, cities and environmentally sensitive areas, leaving thousands of miles rarely seen. But technology may provide a way to overcome this daunting problem.

Watch a demonstration of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) conducted by BP to improve pipeline inspections in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska. Equipped with high-resolution cameras, the Aeryon Scout drone can easily inspect miles of pipelines, helping crews watch for problems. The labor-saving, small rotor-wing aircraft is flown from a handheld tablet computer.

Where else could oil companies use drones?

Photos: Aeryon Scout drone, Aeryon Inc.


CHANDURU's picture

Excelent tool to monitor the Oil & Gas pipelines.Oil theft in cross country pipeline is increasing trend,this type device with suitable camera & instruments may help.Distance it cover in one go may please indicated. In general block valve cum repeter station are avilable. Will it cover in one go? type fuel used by UAVmay be informed, it will help in deciding application CHANDURU, Former ED,pipeline, Indian oil corpration ltd