Image © Bakken / Isight Drone services
SOURCE Bakken Backers : Tommy Kenville is the co-founder of ISight Drone Services, the first private drone company in North Dakota and one with a permanent presence in the Bakken. He has highlighted the swift adoption industries have been taking for unmanned drone pilots to aid in safe analysis and assessment of pipelines, well pads, and facilities, and according to Kenville, BVLOS will unleash the potential of using drones within the shale oil industry around North Dakota. ISight’s FAA-licensed pilots can also work with ranches to show the thermal imagery of farms, assist in completing gravel road inspections, and work alongside weather stations to ensure vital projects and transport can safely move throughout the Bakken.
This pressing need for the use of unmanned vehicles demonstrates a positive use of such technology in the future as well. Industries are learning of the value added to their staff, time, and efficiency of workflow by using remote-piloted drones through companies such as ISight, providing a boost the North Dakota economy.
Kenville is excited about the future of UAS technology in the Bakken. “I’m looking forward to next year  a lot because we have the second year of the McKenzie County Project,” he said. While this project will involve drones within visual-line-of-sight (VLOS), the goal is to quickly and safely determine road conditions for transport within the Bismarck area for the Bakken region.
Visual evidence of why roads are shut down is the strongest, most efficient statement and method for communication between corporations and governing bodies throughout the North Dakota region. Kenville’s team can provide a streaming drone video feed while personnel remain in designated safe zones.
The McKenzie County Project will become the steppingstone for companies and industries using remote drone visuals to access vital content and understand particular decision making and allow for swift discussion between Geographic Information System (GIS) mapping personnel.
A major factor in terms of the Bakken shale oil production site is when bad weather causes the shutdown of transport links, which limits accessing the resource as a whole. It does not matter if the Northeast corner gets three inches of precipitation and the Southwest corner gets none, the idea is to enable sourcing and production to continue throughout the available avenues without needing to increase workforce or time. Determining which roads are safe to carry the heavy transports in an efficient manner saves time, money and the roads themselves. After all, McKenzie County Commission Chairman Tom McCabe says, “The longer it rains, the softer the ground will get.”
Kenville’s company aims to work with natural gas lines and oil pipelines in high-risk areas and provide the right circumstance to demonstrate the value of using this type of visual technology. With timestamped georeferenced data, a recent job allowed one guide who assessed an area (yet missing one vital risk-area) to contact ISight to view the rig. This particular guide found the direct value of the data potential through the speed, quality and ease of use.
In addition to oil and gas operations, ISight found itself as a resource to the region’s emergency operations. “Probably, one of the biggest things we did this year involved a young boy who drowned in the Yellowstone River,” said Kenville. “I got reached out to and I immediately said I’d have four people there before sunrise. We used airplanes, drones, and helicopters around the entire airspace. The FAA test site got us a waiver from 5:30PM on Labor Day night by 8:00AM the next morning.”