The global oil and gas drone services market is expected to grow at a CAGR of approximately 60.96%. Several oil and gas companies, such as BP and Shell, have started to digitalize their operation (drone services are a part of digitalization in the oil and gas industry) across all three sectors. Of the three sectors, midstream is expected to be one of the fastest-growing markets. Though drones offer the most cost-effective and efficient monitoring methods, technological limitations such as shorter flight time, low speed, vulnerability to hackers, and susceptibility to weather are restraining the market growth.
The advent of technology and the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) with the drone along with the development of thermal imaging and methane gas detection has been the major factor leading to the adoption of the drone by the oil and gas operators, and it is expected to drive the market, during the forecast period.
The demand for associated infrastructure such as pipelines and refinery is expected to increase in the market, thus offering greater business opportunities for the oil and gas drone services providers.
North America is expected to be the major market for oil and gas drone services in 2019, and it is expected to be the largest market in terms of revenue during the forecast period owing to the increasing adoption of drones across all three sectors of oil and gas industry. The United States dominates North America, and the increase in the offshore oil and gas activities in the region is expected to drive the growth of the market during the forecast period.
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Key Market Trends
Drones Integration with Artificial Intelligence (AI) to Drive the Market
In the past decade, the operation of a drone required it to remain within the sites. However, with the development of AI, the drone can now hover beyond the line of sight. The integration of AI has helped the drones to fly beyond the beyond-the-visual-line-of-sight (BVLS), and gather much more data without the need of any human efforts and the data collected can be much more analyzed and can help the oil and gas operator to prevent mishaps or leakage, during the operation.
The modern drones are smarter and faster in processing the humungous data produced from the assets, and as the AI improves, these drones may able to independently decide for further course of actions through its AI capabilities.
Further, the integration with AI can also help the operators to relate the current data with the data collected from the past and help them maneuver the action required before the occurrence of fatalities, as in case of leakage and spills.
Further, the AI integrated sensor is now easily able to move inside the closed building and is not prone to collisions with the walls and that too, without the help of any humans controlling it. As these technologies keep improving, the application for these drones would increase and, thus, it is expected to drive the market.
North America to Dominate the Market
North America has been the major market for drone services in 2018, and it is expected to be the largest market in terms of market share during the forecast period. The United States dominates North America, and the increase in the offshore oil and gas activities in the region is expected to drive the growth of the market during the forecast period.
An increase in offshore activities is expected to increase the demand for drone services in the United States, over the forecast period.
As a result of expected stabilized oil prices from the end of 2019 and declining drilling cost, the offshore rig count and offshore oil production of the country are expected to increase, which is expected to be a significant driver for the market studied in the country.
The recent discoveries in the Gulf of Mexico deepwater are expected to increase the exploration activities in the deepwater and ultra-deepwater sites, while the reserves in the shallow water are declining over the period. This, in turn, is expected to increase in demand for oil and gas drone services in deepwater activities in the United States.
The two separate recent drilling programs, by Shell Canada and BP Canada, are complete and show no evidence of commercial discoveries. As a result, it can be concluded that the oil and gas drone services market in Canada is likely to decline, with an expected decrease in oil and gas exploration activities, provided the 12 active exploration licenses are not expected to be renewed shortly. Moreover, the decommissioning of the Sable Offshore Energy and Deep Panuke projects are now underway. The lack of sufficient market access, increasing burden of regulatory uncertainty, and the decommissioning of the two projects above are likely to reduce the competitiveness of the Canadian offshore oil and gas industry in the coming years, thereby, affecting the demand for oil and gas drone services
Therefore, the increasing investment in the country’s upstream sector by foreign companies and the increase in the oil and gas exploration activities are expected to drive the demand for the oil and gas drone services market in the region.
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The oil and gas drone service market is fragmented, and it is dominated by companies, such as Terra Drones, Viper Drones, PrecisionHawk, and Cyberhawk Innovations Limited, among others.
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