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COVID-19 sparks 900% rise in demand for offshore rig remote inspection

Bureau Veritas has reported a 900% rise in demand for the remote inspection of offshore assets and equipment since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Requests for remote inspection, certification, examination and verification services has escalated from a “want” to a “need” this year as businesses seek to keep employees safe from the coronavirus. A number of remote inspection solutions are already in progress for operators and oilfield service companies, and there have been an excess of 20 additional requests since the start of this year.

Inspections and verification are vital for offshore companies to comply with legislation and ensure the efficiency and performance of their assets and equipment. Through the use of mobile cameras and the existing personnel, Bureau Veritas employees can carry out these essential services remotely onshore, limiting close contact and reducing the need for travel.

Through risk profiling, it’s been identified which inspections can be performed remotely to help operators and oilfield service companies plan for the year ahead, benefiting from direct and indirect savings as well as reducing carbon footprint in the process. Where physical inspection is unavoidable, an upfront technical and safety assessment underpins the reduction and/or elimination of risk at site.

“Previously, the remote inspection of assets and equipment received a limited reception and was thought of as a good idea, something that the industry should get around to,” Paul Shrieve, Vice President Offshore & Services, explained.

“Customers have been considering using remote inspection as an alternative way to meet the requirements of the Offshore Safety Directive (OSD) for some time,” Mr Shrieve added. “However, since the start of this year demand has greatly increased. It is no longer a want but a need.”

An immediate health and safety benefit of remote inspection is the reduced potential for exposure to the coronavirus for clients and Bureau Veritas staff.

Other advantages include reductions in personnel risk, time and cost by eliminating travel to client premises and helicopter travel to offshore installations, fewer on-site inspections, accommodation requirements, improved green credential and instant accessibility to a broad spectrum of subject matter experts qualified to perform the task.

Several major international companies from both the operator and service sectors are already using Bureau Veritas’s remote inspection services, including Shell UK.

According to Shell UK, an ongoing pilot with is working toward establishing an end-to-end, remote-based verification process, which Bureau Veritas will use to give duty holders confidence in meeting regulatory requirements.

“COVID-19 is demonstrating that working practices cannot only be conducted in a more environmentally friendly manner, but also through technology, businesses can deliver in a much more effective and efficient way to achieve a quick turnaround,” Mr Shrieve said.

“The world will never be the same again, nor should it be. At Bureau Veritas we have been very quick to take the learnings from COVID-19 and implement long-term changes that are both responsible and sustainable as everyone looks to adapt to the new normal,” Mr Shrieve concluded.

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