NDT CCS & Terra Drone Conducted Online Flare Inspection Using Drones for ADNOC

March 23, 2022

Online Flare Inspection Using Drones

NDT Corrosion Control Services Co. LLC (NDTCCS), one of the largest non-destructive testing (NDT) service providers in the middle east, some time ago succeeded in conducting online flare inspections using drones for ADNOC, the UAE’s national oil company (abbreviation for Abu Dhabi National Oil Company). The inspection is carried out using a drone with the objective of checking the condition of the flare using a visual & thermal infrared camera when the flare is online (not in a shutdown). The work was carried out at a production facility managed by ADNOC Offshore in Abu Dhabi. In completing this work, NDTCCS was also assisted by Terra Drone, a global drone service provider with inspection footprints in many regions across the world.

ADNOC Offshore is one of NDTCCS’ long-term clients & partners in the UAE region, while NDT CCS and Terra Drone have been working together since 2019 to capture market opportunities in the UAE and surrounding countries.

The type of drone used to complete this activity is the latest drone from DJI, the M300 RTK with Zenmuse H20T. Drones are well known and have been proven to be used in various applications. This work is the first work for NDTCCS to involve drone technology. Therefore, Terra Drone through its subsidiary, Terra Drone Indonesia – which has worked closely with many leading international oil companies such as Chevron, Exxonmobil, and Conocophillips – provides full support to ensure this project can be carried out safely & successfully.

During this job, the tams involved were scheduled to stand by on site for a month to inspect multiple flares online throughout the production facility. The inspections carried out included a visual inspection using a high-resolution ultra-zoom camera and a thermal examination using a high-accuracy thermal infrared camera.

In carrying out this work, one of the obstacles encountered by the teams was the scorching heat that occurred in July in Abu Dhabi which reached 45 degrees Celsius, where this hot weather rarely occurs in Indonesia. These conditions require the team to take extra measures to ensure the work can be completed safely. Instead of working long hours, the team divides the work into short windows so operators, as well as equipment, can rest in between.

The advantage of using drones for the job is the flare check while online. This allows the facility owner to avoid the large opportunity costs that usually come when flares are turned off. Apart from that, there are also many safety benefits as the operator can operate the drone from a safe distance, without the need to work at heights & hot work.

ADNOC gave very good feedback on the results of this work, they said that what was most felt from using drones for this inspection was the shorter working time and increased security of personnel in the field. The results of the data in the form of photos and videos which are then processed and analyzed make it very easy for inspectors to find out how the flare is when it is lit.

As we know, the oil and gas industry is very careful in choosing tools to be in its working area because there is a lot of potential that can be created if you are not careful. But in recent years, drones have penetrated into several lines to help facilitate human work in the oil and gas area.

In addition to inspections, there are several solutions for using drones that have been used in the oil and gas industry.

  1. Monitoring

The area of ​​oil and gas operations is very wide and consists of many types of locations. Its applications include monitoring of oil spills either on land or at sea. Pipelines spanning hundreds of kilometers can be very easily monitored from above, in contrast to the previous way workers navigated on land. The pipeline network is also located in a different terrain, often difficult for workers to pass and the weather is uncertain.

  1. Mapping

In other industries, mapping using drones has been widely carried out. Even in the oil and gas industry, some mapping using drones is carried out for feasibility study work in pre-construction activities to mapping oil spills on land. Drones will be able to provide information in the form of contour maps, situation maps, 3D Modeling over a large area in one flight.

  1. Confined space inspection

Confined space inspections are carried out on assets such as HRSGs or tanks that store and process certain ingredients. Inspections in using drones aim to replace workers who have to enter the tank. In confined spaces, inspections can be in the form of visual inspections and thickness measurements. Visual inspection aims to analyze damage to objects such as corrosion, cracks / cracks, based on the image. The drones used are also equipped with propeller and shell safety, which aims to protect the drone from collisions with barrier objects such as walls. Meanwhile, inspection of thickness measurements in assets is carried out to obtain the latest information on the thickness of the walls and roof of the tank

This activity signified the beginning of the potential long-term collaboration between the involved parties. In addition, ADNOC also is encouraging more state-of-the-art technologies – in which drone is one of them – to be utilized as part of the daily operations, to ensure a safe, reliable, and efficient operation can be achieved. NDTCCS & Terra Drone are committed to bring more drone solutions to the region to capture more opportunities especially with ADNOC and its subsidiaries.