Illustration; Courtesy of MODEC and Terra Drone

MODEC turns to drones to tackle FPSO and offshore platform inspection challenges

Japan’s MODEC has joined forces with Terra Drone Corporation, a compatriot drone and urban air mobility (UAM) technology company, to pursue the technical development of inspection drones for floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessels and large offshore platforms.

Illustration; Courtesy of MODEC and Terra Drone

To this end, the two players signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on November 7, 2023. Currently, regular maintenance and inspections ensure MODEC FPSOs’ integrity to continue stable oil and gas production for extended periods exceeding 20 years.

However, the Japanese players explain that manual inspections at heights and in confined spaces on structures pose “significant” occupational safety and health concerns. In addition, prolonged inspections in large-scale offshore platforms have become common challenges within the industry.

Therefore, MODEC combines its expertise in FPSO design and operation with Terra Drone’s patented Terra UT Drone in a bid to address these issues. This drone technology has garnered acclaim for its precision and effectiveness in inspections with ultrasonic testing capabilities for non-destructive testing.

“This partnership aims to tackle common problems across the offshore oil and gas industry. By developing drone technology that enhances safety, labor-saving, and efficiency in inspection operations, MODEC and Terra Drone will contribute to the sustainable operation of offshore structures from environmental, economic, and social perspectives,” highlighted the two companies.

MODEC has been busy with new FPSO deliveries. The most recent one was confirmed in August 2023 when an FPSO achieved its first oil after starting a 25-year charter in the pre-salt Santos Basin for Brazil’s state-owned energy giant, Petrobras.