Optimising inspections of offshore assets with drones

Using drones for inspections offshore saves time, improves safety and reduces mobilisation costs

Client: Altera Infrastructure
Oil & Gas
Asset: Petrojarl Knarr FPSO
Location: North Sea
Year: 2021


Altera Infrastructure had to get a full assessment of the coating condition on its asset, including its hull (above waterline), helideck structure, superstructure and flare structure.

Inspection of the external hull would typically require a support vessel located a certain distance away from the asset, which limits the accuracy. In addition, inspection of the various structures would have required a rope access team and it could have taken weeks to complete.


As such, to save time and improve accuracy, Axess performed the inspections on site with a drone that is equipped with a high-resolution camera. The experienced engineers were able to get good visuals of the critical areas, completing the inspections within just two days.

Axess’ engineer with the drone
(Photo: Axess’ engineer with the drone)


Mobilising a drone is both time and cost-efficient for the client as the inspection of a large area was completed in a much shorter period of time with less manpower. It is also a safer alternative to inspectors working at height, over water or in a support vessel. Moreover, this allowed inspection of critical areas to be completed without any production downtime and eliminated any potential CO2 emissions from a support vessel.

Kristian Nelvik, OPS and BD Director of the QC department at Axess Group, said, “Axess views offshore drone inspections as a greener solution and we are also seeing more interest in this amongst our clients. We are happy that Altera Infrastructure has given us the opportunity to integrate drone technology into our offshore operations. Our engineers have successfully delivered this project by tapping on their experience in drone inspections of onshore assets.”

Hull captured by Axess’ drone during inspection
(Photo: Hull captured by Axess’ drone during inspection)

If you are interested in drone inspections for your onshore or offshore assets, please reach out to us.

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