Drones used in online flare inspection for ADNOC

Drones used in online flare inspection for ADNOC

/ Technology & Smart Cities / Wednesday, 23 March 2022 10:11

NDT Corrosion Control Services Co. LLC (NDTCCS), one of the largest non-destructive testing (NDT) service providers in the Middle East, 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 and 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 and 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 teams 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.

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.

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