Cyberhawk has completed the first ever commercial oil and gas inspection in Qatar using its unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV). The company said this now allows the significant cost benefits of its drone inspection service to be provided throughout the Qatari market, during a time in which oil and gas budgets are facing significant pressure.
The project, which saw the inspection of 136m high flares, while still operational, was completed at an onshore oil and gas refinery in March 2016. An experienced team of two from Cyberhawk, including an industry qualified inspection engineer and oil and gas qualified inspection pilot, undertook the work using Cyberhawk’s inspection UAVs.
According to the company, the inspection marks a major step forward in the commercial use of drones in the region, which to date have been heavily regulated by the Qatari government due to concerns over security of airspace and privacy of citizens.
Cyberhawk undertook an intensive campaign, lobbying the government to explain the vast benefits on offer through UAVs, including significant cost and time savings, and how safely these unmanned aircraft can be operated by experienced operators.
After a thorough assessment of Cyberhawk’s track record and extensive, proven case study history in the Middle East, a panel of authorities granted an exclusive permit for Cyberhawk to conduct the work in Qatar.
This project also continues to build Cyberhawk’s growing client base in the Middle East, where it have been commercially operating since 2012. The company has already inspected more than 75 live flares and other oil and gas structures in Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Oman.
Cyberhawk CEO, Craig Roberts, said: “Historically, the use of UAVs in Qatar for industrial purposes has been prohibited. Our team’s unrivalled experience in the safe use of drones, with more than 13,000 commercial flights successfully completed in more than 20 countries worldwide, meant we had the credibility and competency to successfully gain the necessary permission to operate legally in Qatar.
“We are aware of operators without our operational experience and aviation pedigree that have been unable to secure flight permissions to operate in the Middle East, and this latest achievement reinforces our leading position in the industry.”
Business development manager Ajay Sethi, who is based in Cyberhawk’s Abu Dhabi office, said: “These maiden flights mark a significant leap forward in the industrial inspection market in Qatar, and in particular, the support we have received from our client has been crucial in making this happen.
“Following the successful completion of this project, we anticipate further opportunities will be created in the region, and will continue to support and advise authorities to help extend the boundaries of commercial drone usage.”
Headquartered in Livingston, Scotland, and with bases in the Middle East and SE Asia, Cyberhawk carried out the very first ROAV industrial inspection in 2009 and since then, has completed more than 25 world firsts to date, with blue-chip customers including all oil and gas supermajors and the majority national oil companies in more than 20 countries on four continents.
In the Middle East, Cyberhawk works with clients including Gasco, Dubai Petroleum, Sabic, PDO, Occidental, Daleel and Oman LNG.