New guidelines drawn up for offshore drones
New guidelines on the use of drones offshore have been published by trade body Oil and Gas UK.
The move follows a rise in the number of oil and gas operators using unmanned aerial systems (UAS) to conduct inspections and other offshore tasks.
The guidelines were developed by industry and aviation safety experts and UAS operators.
They cover best practice, procedures and the certification needed to be compliant with UAS regulations.
Oil and Gas UK's health, safety and environment director Mick Borwell said: "A small but increasing number of oil and gas operators are using UAS for inspections predominantly, but also for aerial photography, surveying and security.
"The technology is particularly attractive for its use in improving safety.
"For example, sending unmanned aircraft instead of people into confined spaces to conduct inspections reduces risk, and is also effective and efficient.
"We expect their usage to grow."
Mr Borwell said the new guidelines aimed to be consistent with safety and operating standards already adopted on the UK Continental Shelf for offshore oil and gas production and helicopter flight operations.
He added: "The intention is to encourage offshore operators planning on using this emerging technology to think about the whole operating and safety system offshore and not just the air vehicle."