In the Oil and Gas industry, workers use huge offshore drilling rigs to drill for oil in the seabed.
In shallow water, these rigs are supported by columns that run all the way down to the ocean floor. But in deep water they’re made to float.
Floating rigs typically consist of a square platform with a column running into the water at each corner, connecting to giant underwater pontoons that run perpendicular to the columns.
Each column contains a ballast tank, which holds water that is used to control and stabilize the rig’s buoyancy. The pontoons also contain ballast tanks, which can hold either air or water to help balance the rig.
Given their importance to keeping the rig afloat, companies must periodically inspect the columns and the ballast tanks in them to ensure they’re in good working order.
In Brazil, administrators at a shipyard in the city of Angra dos Reis were looking for a new way to inspect their drilling rigs.
They had previously done inspections by sending inspectors into their columns and ballast tanks using rope access. But this approach was dangerous and costly, since it extended the downtime in which the rig couldn’t be used to drill.
To improve safety and reduce downtimes, shipyard administrators approached DR1 Group and asked them to perform a test tank inspection by drone.