Drones: A Significant Technological Breakthrough in the Oil and Natural Gas Industry

The oil and natural gas industry is no stranger to technological innovation, constantly pushing the boundaries to enhance efficiency, safety, and cost-effectiveness. India’s journey in the oil and natural gas industry is a story steeped in history, dating back to the 19th century when the first oil well was drilled in Assam. India’s oil and gas industry is critical to its energy security, and the government has taken several initiatives to promote domestic production and reduce dependence on imports. 

In recent years, the use of Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for aerial surveillance or one could say drones have emerged as a key tool in the Indian oil and gas industry, helping to improve efficiency, and safety, and reduce costs. With the use of drones, companies can use drones for remote inspections of pipelines and other critical infrastructure, reducing the need for manual inspections, which can be time-consuming and dangerous. Drones equipped with high-definition cameras and thermal imaging sensors can detect leaks, corrosion, and other issues, providing accurate data for quick decision-making.

A few facts on India’s oil and gas industry

  • India Energy Outlook 2021 examines the potential and difficulties that the country will face as it works to provide a growing population with dependable, affordable, and sustainable energy.

  • There are significant disparities in energy consumption and service quality between states and between rural and urban areas, and energy use per capita is far below the global average.

  • On the back of ongoing strong economic expansion, it is predicted that India’s energy demand will increase more quickly than the energy demand of all other major economies.

  • From 753.7 million tons of oil equivalent (Mtoe) in 2017 to 1,516 Mtoe in 2023, India’s energy demand is anticipated to more than quadruple.

  • By 2035, the country’s proportion of the world’s primary energy consumption is anticipated to double.

Benefits of drones in the oil and natural gas industry

Pipelines are critical infrastructure in the oil and gas industry, and regular inspections are necessary to ensure their proper functioning. With drone pipe inspection, companies can remotely without any downtime, reducing costs, and improving coherence as they can detect potential leaks, cracks, corrosion, and other issues, providing accurate data for quick decision-making. 

Moreover, Chimneys and flares are critical components of oil and gas operations, and regular inspections are necessary to ensure they are functioning correctly. Drone chimney inspection offers a cost-effective and efficient solution to inspecting these structures. Drones can easily fly around chimneys and flares, capturing high-definition footage and providing detailed data for analysis. This technology reduces the need for manual inspections, which can be time-consuming and dangerous.

Additionally, Microdrones with cameras are another innovation that has been useful in the oil and gas industry. These drones are small and lightweight, making them easy to transport to remote locations. They can fly around complex structures and pipelines, capturing high-quality images and video footage.

Drones are also being used across all stages of oil and gas operations, including upstream, midstream, and downstream.

  • Upstream

In the upstream sector, drones are used for exploration, production, and monitoring activities. They can be used for mapping and surveying terrains, inspecting pipelines and other infrastructure, and monitoring wildlife and vegetation. Drones equipped with thermal cameras can detect leaks in pipelines and other infrastructure, allowing for quick and efficient repairs to be made. This helps to reduce environmental risks and improve safety.

  • Midstream

In the midstream sector, drones are used for pipeline monitoring and inspection. Drones equipped with sensors and cameras can quickly detect and identify leaks, corrosion, and other damage to pipelines. They can also inspect pipelines for integrity and security, which can help prevent accidents and theft.

  • Downstream

In the downstream sector, drones are used for monitoring and inspecting refineries, storage facilities, and other infrastructure. They can inspect and map large storage tanks, which can be dangerous to execute and time-consuming for workers to do manually. Drones can also be used to monitor air quality and detect potential environmental hazards.

In addition to their use in specific areas of the oil and gas industry, drones are also being used to improve logistics and supply chain management. They can be used to track shipments, monitor inventory, and provide real-time data to help optimise operations and reduce costs.


Why should the oil & gas industry consider using drones? 

  • Enhance safety by minimising risk of workers going into hazardous areas
  • Reduce costs by increasing operational efficiency and reducing the need for manned equipment
  • Improve accuracy and speed of inspections and data collection
  • Provide real-time data and insights for better decision making
  • Monitor and mitigate environmental risks
  • Enhance security and prevent theft or damage to infrastructure
  • Increase productivity and optimise supply chain management

Making a Difference

Aero360, a leading drone surveying company in India, has been at the forefront of this breakthrough technology, using drones to provide cutting-edge solutions to the industry. Drones have undoubtedly become a significant technological breakthrough in the oil and gas industry, providing essential benefits to companies looking to operate efficiently and safely. And with Aero360’s expertise in drone technology, the Indian oil and gas industry is sure to experience continued growth and development, as drones become an increasingly critical tool in the industry’s arsenal