The Use of Drones

in the Oil and Gas Industry: A 4.0 Contract



By Penda Sow

SKEMA Business School

Paris, France



Over the past few years, the Oil and Gas industry has been evolving and has gone through significant legislative reform. With more and more environment, safety and security issues arising from this industry, we introduced new technologies projects such as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). This paper aims at understanding what regulation barriers the UAS faces. We identified the contractual progress that has been made in implementing this technology and evaluated how regulations needed to change.

Using different methodologies such as Root Cause Analysis, as well as quantitative and qualitative analysis, we were able to answer the question: How using drones in the Oil and Gas Industry can be a real challenge to contract? We understood how companies were technologies reluctant and we identified that a really effective manner to facilitate this process was to study international legislation and rules in which UAS are implemented and use it as best practice and guidelines.

Technology, with its exponential growth, needs to be regulated and implemented easily. It’s about considering sustainability, our safety, and the preservation of our environment.

Keywords: Oil and Gas industry, Drone Inspections, FAA Regulations, Technology, Copyright Law


What does the Oil and Gas Industry mean to all of us? Mainly fuel, plastic and heaters. But if we take a look behind the scenes, this industry is also: “$37 billion a year spent by the market in monitoring Pipeline leaks[1]”; “200 thousand miles of oil pipelines to inspect”[2], “166,8 thousand of employees, 1501 cases of injuries and illness, 9 fatalities reported, just in the U.S., in 2016.”[3]

One of the main challenges for Oil and Gas companies is maintaining their infrastructures in optimal conditions. In order to do that, they use traditional asset inspections which are revealed to be:

Dangerous: Companies use human means to make inspections, which can be highly unsafe (risk of industrial accidents, health issues, etc.). Oil and gas extraction industries made up “74 percent of the total fatalities in the mining sector in 2015”.3

Performed in Inaccessible areas: Employees find themselves in risky situations such as being up on ladders or ropes, in helicopters, in the middle of the sea, and other perilous areas. In operations and maintenance, for example, using caged drones for confined spaces where there wouldn’t be any human, could lead to a quicker deployment.

Costly: These inspections generate high costs by the use of expensive material means, downtime, etc.

Time consuming: It takes time (planning, time required to erect ladders, access towers, swing stages, aerial lifts, and other heavy equipment).

Inaccurate: Traditional methods retrieve millions of data, but they are more likely to produce inaccurate data due to human error.


To read entire paper, click here


Editor’s note: This paper was prepared for the course “International Contract Management” facilitated by Dr Paul D. Giammalvo of PT Mitratata Citragraha, Jakarta, Indonesia as an Adjunct Professor under contract to SKEMA Business School for the program Master of Science in Project and Programme Management and Business Development.  http://www.skema.edu/programmes/masters-of-science. For more information on this global program (Lille and Paris in France; Belo Horizonte in Brazil), contact Dr Paul Gardiner, Global Programme Director [email protected].

How to cite this paper: Sow, P. (2018). The Use of Drones in the Oil and Gas Industry: A 4.0 Contract, PM World Journal, Vol. VII, Issue XII (December). Available online at https://pmworldjournal.net/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/pmwj77-Dec2018-Sow-drones-in-oil-and-gas-industry.pdf

About the Author

Penda Sow

Paris, France



Penda Sow
is a French student, who after 3 years of studies in Economics is now currently enrolled in a Master of Science specialized in “Project and Programme Management and Business Development for Business Excellence” at SKEMA Business School in Paris. She is strongly interested in design and new technology projects, especially in artificial intelligence or cognitive sciences. Passionate about travels and photography, she discovers the world as soon as she has the opportunity (Spain, England, Italy, Thailand, Peru, Bolivia, Cambodia, Malaysia, China, USA, Senegal).

She enjoys generating new ideas, doing research and development, improving processes or renewing products and services. Her experience as a product manager in a software provider firm strengthened her willingness to involve herself in innovative and sustainable projects.

Penda can be contacted at [email protected] or https://www.linkedin.com/in/penda-sow-742290bb/


[1] Bernos, M. (2017, April 19). Canadian Company Proposes to Cut Pipeline Monitoring Costs with Automated Drones. https://www.enr.com/articles/41865-canadian-company-proposes-to-cut-pipeline-monitoring-costs-with-automated-drones

[2] Lack, S. (2016, September 25). There’s More to Pipelines Than Oil. https://sl-advisors.com/theres-pipelines-oil

[3] Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2017, July 7). Fact Sheet – Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction – July 2017