Terra Drone Brazil, a group company of Terra Drone Corporation, has successfully completed Brazil’s first-ever drone inspection of an offshore Floating Production, Storage and Offloading (FPSO) tank. The inspection was performed for Petrobras, which is Brazil’s state-owned oil company.

The ballast tank inspection using UAS was conducted aboard an FPSO unit from Petrobras called P-66, which is operating in the Pre Salt Area at Santos Basin.

Terra Drone Brazil notes that in order to stay on top of maintenance needs, Petrobras needs its cargo and ballast tanks inspected regularly, so that any kind of corrosion, cracks, fractures, or welding anomalies can be identified in a timely manner before they cause damage to the structural integrity of the ship.

This type of inspection is usually conducted by sending a team of up to four men inside the confined tank space using scaffolds or rope access. This kind of close-up visual inspection of one tank alone can take anywhere from half a day to a full day. Additionally, this method of inspection poses a safety threat to the workers inside the tank.

Using UAS, though, reduces the need of having to send a human worker into the tank, thus keeping them out of harm’s way.

“Not only is unmanned FPSO tank inspection safer, but it is also much quicker and more precise than manual inspection,” says Marcelo Belleti, executive director at Terra Drone Brazil.

“Further, drone inspections for cargo tanks can lead to potential cost-savings as well.”

It took Terra Drone Brazil just a little over an hour to complete the inspection of a ballast tank for Petrobras using a team of just two men. The company notes that the high-definition pictures and videos captured by the UAS ensured a quality deliverable report for all 40 points pre-defined for the close-up inspection.

Source: AUVSI

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