Bristow Group Inc. has invested $4.2 million in Sky-Futures, the leading provider of drone inspection data services for the oil and gas industry. This investment gives Bristow immediate entry to the fast-growing UAV services business and bolsters Bristow's offerings to include drone inspection services.
The investment, which also includes an exclusive partnership agreement, gives Bristow access to Sky-Futures UAV or drone inspection operational expertise, data capturing and analysis technology and training capabilities. Bristow will have one representative on Sky-Futures' board.
Bristow Group President and CEO Jonathan Bailiff said, "Through our partnership, we will collaborate with Sky-Futures and its leading safety culture, operational integration and analysis technology to capitalize beyond the growing need for global UAV inspection services in oil and gas to other industries, including search and rescue."
James Harrison, Sky-Futures CEO and co-founder said, "This partnership between Bristow and Sky-Futures enables us to rapidly expand the operational delivery of drone based inspection services in the global oil and gas market."
Formed in 2009, Sky-Futures currently operates in 16 countries and works with more than 30 oil and gas companies around the world, many of which are Bristow's global clients. In January 2016, Sky-Futures completed its first drone inspection in the Gulf of Mexico, having obtained the 46th Section 333 FAA Exemption Certificate to operate drones in the U.S., and was recently named to Bloomberg's Business Innovators list as a breakthrough business.
Sky-Futures has a team of remote pilots, approved by the FAA and the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The company conducts safe, cost-effective and experienced UAV inspections of live-flare stacks, splash zones, decommissioning, general topside work and under deck, using HD video, still and thermal imagery. The data is analyzed, processed and delivered through the Sky-Futures advanced technology platform.
Inspections completed by professionally trained UAV remote pilots are safer, faster and more cost efficient than other inspection techniques, which are typically done manually via rope access. UAV inspections on industrial infrastructure may be completed without disrupting production, eliminating the need for costly and potentially unnecessary shutdowns.