Industry News

How DroneDeploy Keeps Midstream Workers Safe

September 30, 2020

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.

Midstream companies have one of the most complex networks of supply chains in any industry - miles of pipeline, fleets of trucks, tanker ships, rail cars, barges, acres of tank farms, transloading equipment, and more. This sprawling and complicated system exposes midstream companies and their workers to numerous safety hazards at every stage.

But drones and DroneDeploy can help mitigate risk, reduce costs, and improve safety at every stage.

Storage tanks in Northern Ireland.

DroneDeploy Helps Reduce Accidents and Safety Hazards for Midstream Companies

As we know, safety hazards lurk behind every corner in the midstream sector, from vehicle accidents to explosions to falls on tankers and work in confined spaces. And then there is all that pipeline: more than 2.7 million miles of it in the U.S. alone, much of crisscrossing rugged and unforgiving terrain.

A 2018 report found that the U.S. segment of the midstream oil and gas industry has experienced more than 9,000 significant pipeline-related incidents in the past 30 years. All these incidents resulted in more than 2,500 injuries, 548 fatalities, and over $8.5 billion in financial damages.

The good news is that drones and DroneDeploy can be leveraged throughout the midstream system to reduce this exposure, supplement teams, and mitigate risk for workers.

How DroneDeploy Increases Inspections, Mitigates Risk for Midstream Companies

Last year, the American Petroleum Institute published a report on the power of drones to increase safety and optimize operations. The report stated: "These [UAS] systems have the potential to significantly reduce safety risks to personnel, cut operational costs, and increase efficiencies across a variety of tasks."

That's particularly true for the midstream sector. The wide range of these midstream assets from railcars to storage tanks to pipelines and more, means there is a massive amount of exposure to risk. All of these disparate assets must be constantly inspected and maintained -- especially since many are at the mercy of harsh natural conditions as pipelines cross vast, rural topographies. DroneDeploy is able to conduct or supplement many of these inspections, keeping your workers on the ground, reducing the need for rope and confined space teams, and limiting the use of helicopters and cranes. Meanwhile, DroneDeploy's suite of solutions help you bring in experts to collaborate, who can work together to identify problem areas and proactively address them - without ever having to be on-site.

DroneDeploy helps detect damage and maintenance problems while maintaining photographic evidence, reducing direct risk to workers conducting inspections in hard-to-reach or unsafe locations, and by inspecting infrastructure and monitoring equipment inventory in real-time with Live Map.

DroneDeploy's Live Stream feature.

DroneDeploy Empowers Responders in Real-Time to Accidents

Unfortunately, accidents will always happen in any industry, no matter how many mitigation efforts we put into place.

But again, DroneDeploy can make the response to these incidents much more effective, by minimizing damage and reducing risk for those responding to a situation. That's possible through DroneDeploy’s Live Stream.

DroneDeploy’s Live Stream provides unprecedented insights into accidents as they unfold. Imagine there's been a pipeline explosion in a rural area. Before drones, a midstream company would be unable to gain real-time insights into what dangers were still present as the situation unfolded. DroneDeploy Live Stream provides a clear view of what's happening on the ground, whether there is natural gas burning or nearby residences are threatened. Experts who can't be on the ground can still provide valuable intelligence. Meanwhile, emergency personnel are armed with insight into the situation before they arrive on site.

Midstream plays a critical role in bridging the gap between upstream oil companies and the consumer. But this bridge requires a vast amount of assets that must be properly and safely maintained. Drones and DroneDeploy can play a huge role in reducing the risk and increasing safety for midstream oil & gas companies.

If you’re interested in learning more about drone use in oil & gas, read our customer success story on the California Resources Corporation, or download our eBook on getting started with drones in oil & gas.

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