Terra Drone Angola has successfully demonstrated how drones can be used as a surveillance and reconnaissance tool for oil spill incidents.
The pilot project, at an offshore oil field in Angola, was conducted for a major oil and gas operator in West Africa.
Offshore oil spills are a cause of great concern due to economic losses and their adverse impact on the environment and marine ecosystem.
To launch an effective response to oil spills, rapid preliminary
survey assessments are necessary, and according to Terra Drone, UAVs prove to
be safer, faster, and cheaper than the traditional method of using helicopters
or manned flight operations.
This is due to swift access to data and the fact that drones can be kept in the air for as long as required – only needing to land to replace batteries when depleted.
They are also a much more viable option logistically because a
team of just two operators can conduct UAV flight operations for up to 10 hours
In the exercise conducted by Terra Drone Angola, environmentally-friendly coloured dye was released at the surface of the sea to simulate an oil spill.
To help the energy company identify the location of the simulated oil spill and assess the surface area of the spill, an octocopter fitted with RGB camera and polarizing filter was used.
Six flights were flown to attempt locating and sizing the
simulated spill and showcase how drones can be used to collect crucial
information in an emergency response situation.
Siva Keresnasami, operations director at Terra Drone Angola, said: “It is inevitable that drone operations will play an integral role in activities like these in the future.
“Drones are fast and effective, and they equip decision-makers with the exact information needed to enable them to make correct decisions in the field.”