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World’s first logistics operation with a drone to an offshore installation
Equinor reports that it has completed what it claims is the world’s first logistics operation with a drone to an offshore installation, flying a 3D-printed diesel nozzle holder for a lifeboat system from the Mongstad base to the Troll A platform in the North Sea.
‘Development is rapid, and we see a huge potential within drone technology that could transform the way we operate, both under and above the sea surface,’ says Arne Sigve Nylund, Equinor’s Executive Vice President for Development and Production Norway. ‘Drones could reinforce safety, boost production efficiency and contribute to lower CO2 emissions from Norwegian oil and gas. Drones will also play a role as we shape new energy solutions on the Norwegian Continental Shelf.’
The flight spanning around 80 km to the Troll field took about one hour, at an altitude of around 5,000 ft. The drone was a Camcopter S-100, manufactured by Schiebel, a model that has logged around 70,000 flying hours from other types of operations within the defence and coastguard services. The drone measures more than four metres in length and weighs in excess of 100 kg. It has a cruising speed of more than 150 km/h and it can carry cargo weighing up to 50 kg.
In addition to conducting logistics operations, airborne drones can also be used for inspections and observations of the technical condition of offshore installations and onshore facilities. They have extremely advanced camera equipment and can be used in search and rescue operations, for example to locate people who have fallen into the sea, or for early detection of pollution on the sea. These abilities were also tested during the Equinor test flight.
Drones will also play a role in new energy solutions on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. They can inspect wind turbines, deploy equipment to be used by personnel performing maintenance and repairs, and can deliver critical parts, fast. Using drones will also enable companies to avoid some vessel lifts that can be both more costly and leave a greater environmental footprint, reports Equinor.
Photo: Ole Jørgen Bratland/Equinor