Skyports and Equinor have partnered to trial drone delivery to off-shore drilling platforms.
by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian J. McNabb
Skyports Drone Services, a UK-based drone logistics company, and Equinor, a Norweigan energy firm, have partnered up for a new trial program that will see electric drones delivering supplies and other cargo to off-shore drilling platforms in the North Sea. The two-month flight program, launched in early September, is the first daily offshore delivery project piloted from dry land. Skyports has already completed dozens of cargo runs, and is scheduled to complete hundreds more before the project winds up, delivering supplies like spare parts, equipment, and care packages. Both companies hope electric drones might be a solution to the recurring issues of North Sea logistics, including the punishing weather conditions and often limited visibility. Both companies also touted the environmentally friendly nature of the UAV transports, which are fully emissions-free.
The project selected Australian company Swoop Aero’s Kite UAV, which can fly up to 70 miles (or 114 km) from Equinor’s Mongstad-based logistics center on the west coast of Norway to three installations on the Gullfaks oil field in the north sea, in addition to intra-rig transports. The fixed-wing drone, which can carry up to 11 lbs or 5 kg, has a maximum range of 175 km in the kind of difficult conditions found offshore.
In a statement, Alex Brown, Director of Skyports Drone Services, said, “This project with Equinor proves that drone delivery can offer a safer, cost-effective, more sustainable alternative to conventional transport methods in offshore environments. The offshore energy sector is perfectly placed to benefit from drone deliveries due to the inherent time sensitive nature of working offshore, as well as the extreme remoteness and ruggedness of operations. We are currently exploring how we can expand this groundbreaking work into adjacent sectors such as offshore wind and ship resupply”.
Skyports Drone Services has worked with Avinor and the Civil Aviation Authority of Norway to secure flight permissions.
Ian McNabb is a staff writer based in Boston, MA. His interests include geopolitics, emerging technologies, environmental sustainability, and Boston College sports.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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