OIL AND GAS PIPELINE MONITORING DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC VIA UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLE

M.J.H. Al-Battbootti, I. Marin , N. Goga, R. Popa

University Politehnica of Bucharest (ROMANIA)
The COVID-19 pandemic determined a change in the management which is done by companies in these uncertain times. In this case, students and experts from the oil and gas industry express their interest in a system which is capable to determine problems that occur for oil and gas pipelines. During the pandemic, the consumption of oil and gas decreased, causing the maximum capacity of storage systems to be reached. This situation has led to very large decreases in the price of oil. The staff presence decreased and the oil theft spread. Monitoring oil and gas pipelines via unmanned aerial vehicles proves to be a solution. This kind of vehicle is useful to inspect pipelines easily, create a map of the pipelines, assess pipeline conditions, along with land and environmental impact, as well as to monitor pipeline corrosion. Unmanned aerial vehicles can be used for regular patrolling duties, to identify and capture images and videos of the area of interest. Places which are hard to reach will be accessed faster, cheaper and with less risk. The solution of the current paper sustains the idea of combining visual and thermography drone-based inspections which can discover several potential hazardous problems before they become dangerous. Moreover, damage can emerge as a weakening of the cladding on the external pipe insulation. There can also be the case when the thickness of piping through external corrosion can occur and, in this case, visual and thermography based inspections prove to be useful. This paper is based on a survey completed by experts from the oil and gas industry in order to analyze the proposed solution. The results of the survey showed that most of the interviewed persons consider the unmanned aerial vehicles useful to detect under and upper ground pipelines, as well as leaks which occur below ground. Students, as future employees and managers, can understand the risks which the oil and gas domains involve and how measures can be taken to avoid unpleasant and dangerous situations.