Texo pioneers unmanned inspection technique on North Sea FPSO – Drones Information


The sister company of the Texo Group, Texo DSI, has successfully developed a new unmanned inspection method for a large FPSO in the British North Sea, which offers significant advantages in terms of safety, time and cost savings.

In cooperation with the ship owner Bumi Armada and the classification society DNV GL, Texo inspected a huge oil storage tank on the Armada Kraken FPSO with an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).

The facility has been used to extract heavy fuel oil from EnQuest’s Kraken field east of the Shetland Islands since it was commissioned in 2017.

The inspection of the tank was completed by Texo DSI with two employees in 96 hours in four shifts.

To capture the same level of inspection with traditional rope access, a team of four would take approximately 14 days, which is approximately 672 man hours.

By using a UAV by Texo DSI, no employees had to get into the tank during the inspection, which made operations less dangerous.

The Texo drone pilot and inspector made a live video stream of the close-up inspection available from the tank to the DNV GL surveyor who was in attendance and who checked the footage used to carry out the survey.

Getting the job done in less time and with fewer people meant that less space was required on the FPSO, which also resulted in significant savings.

The safe and timely recommissioning of the storage capacity is a big plus for the operator, who has to check and verify every tank on the FPSO every five years.

Texo Group, headquartered in Westhill, Aberdeenshire, has spent thousands of man hours developing the service to ensure safe, consistent and efficient delivery.

Steve Moir, Operations Director at Texo, said working with Bumi Armada early on was key to identifying potential risks and implementing mitigation measures.

Moir said: “The number one priority for Texo and its customers is safety. There is always some risk involved in introducing a new way of working. There is always an element of the unknown. “

“By intervening in the process at an early stage, however, the customer was able to help identify risks and take security measures.

“Through early engagement, everyone on board was brought up to date and knew what was expected of them.”

Campbell Ross, Marine Superintendent at Bumi Armada UK, said: “We were delighted to be involved in leveraging the technology available to reduce the risks to offshore personnel.”

In the meantime, DNV GL carried out an audit of the Texo quality system and a second practical audit on board the Armada Kraken FPSO.

With this work completed, Texo DSI is now accredited to provide UAV services to all DNV GL Classed Assets around the world.

Scott Jervis, DNV GL Regional Offshore Manager in Western Europe, said: “The use of remote inspection techniques is increasing rapidly as technologies such as drones can now be used as an efficient alternative means of near inspection on some types or parts of surveys, both on ships and mobile Offshore units.

“Since 2019, DNV GL has approved service providers to help carry out surveys using remote inspection techniques such as drones, climbers or remote-controlled vehicles.

“By working with Texo DSI on the remote inspection of the Armada Kraken FPSO, we were able to reduce downtime for the owner and the risk for surveyors and personnel on board. As a result of the successful survey, we were also able to confirm that Texo DSI meets the requirements of DNV GL and IACS RIT. “

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