Safety technology

bp deploys leading-edge technologies across our operations to help predict safety challenges and prevent incidents from occurring.

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Producing and transporting hydrocarbons

Our Remote Collaboration Center in Houston provides round-the-clock support for deepwater well operations in the Gulf of Mexico, ensuring that bp’s offshore teams receive 24/7 assistance from onshore experts.

In addition, we deploy a suite of intuitive computers that use sensory technology to gather data on our well operations and then translate the data into simple, real-time indicators that help rig crews and office-based experts enhance safety and performance.

We also use drones and robotic crawlers to inspect our Gulf of Mexico facilities, reducing potential risk to people.

In fact, drones are a key safety tool across bp. Our US onshore business — bpx energy — inspects equipment using hand-held devices, and a combination of drones and fixed-wing aircraft which can efficiently cover multiple well pads.

Likewise, using drones and other technology to conduct US pipeline inspections has fine-tuned our data collection. The technology enables bp analysts to create and store models of each flight, helping them visualize and monitor for environmental changes that could affect our pipelines over time. It has also delivered safer conditions for our technicians, allowing them to avoid walking hundreds of miles through difficult terrain. Since 2020, the program has grown from five technicians certified by the Federal Aviation Administration to nearly 40. The team expects to complete about 6,200 flights this year — covering thousands of miles of pipelines — and we plan to double that number by 2023.

Refining operations

Our US refineries use drones to monitor elevated structures — rather than have workers climb up temporary scaffolding — while using robotic technology to perform other critical safety inspections.

The bp-Husky Toledo refinery uses a robotic underwater “swimmer” to inspect a boiler feed water tank, and other types of robotic crawlers to perform ultrasonic thickness scans on other equipment. Both technologies have strengthened the quality of our inspections while reducing the risks to our people.

At our Whiting refinery, we use state-of-the art robots to clean tanks which would have previously required multiple cycles of flush material to be used along with hundreds of man-hours spent manually cleaning. The new method removes risk and prepares the tank for maintenance in a much more efficient way.

Our Cherry Point refinery uses phased-array ultrasonic testing technology to check our equipment and piping. This technology sends sound waves to verify structural integrity and provides early detection of corrosion damage.

bp is constantly exploring new methods of monitoring our refinery infrastructure for corrosion, fouling and process upsets. We want all our teams to have the tools necessary to make real-time risk evaluations and take actions to promote safe, optimal performance.

Two men in hardhats stare a drone they are flying

Drone inspecting a tank battery at the bpx South Haynesville asset (SoHa) in Texas.

A man stands behind a drone that is resting on the ground

Pre-flight calibration of a drone, at the bpx South Haynesville asset (SoHa) in Texas.

Workers using a robotic machine

Robotic crawler is at the manway about to enter the tank to clean it, at Whiting Refinery in Whiting, Indiana.

Two workers wearing hardhats navigate a robotic machine into a hole

Robotic crawler used to clean a sulfur tank, at Whiting Refinery in Whiting, Indiana.

A drone flies over a refinery

Drone inspection with refinery units in the background at Whiting Refinery in Whiting, Indiana.

Generating renewable energy

In our wind energy business, every bp-operated wind farm receives round-the-clock support from on-site personnel and/or our Remote Operating Center (ROC) in Houston. Using advanced technology, ROC teams centrally monitor all bp sites while working with colleagues in the field to enhance performance, reliability and safety.

We’re also using drones to complete detailed and one-off intensity management inspections of blades. Drones allow us to take high-resolution images of any blade damage and then schedule the appropriate repairs and maintenance. Their use also reduces risk by eliminating the need for people to access the blade directly.

Lightsource bp uses panels that are constructed to achieve long-term field durability to withstand harsh environmental conditions for 35 years or more. Solar panels are mostly glass, aluminum, silicon (refined sand) and semi-conducting material. By weight, more than 80 percent of a typical solar panel is glass and aluminum – both common and easy-to-recycle materials. The glass is designed and tested to withstand hail and is tempered, like the windshields of cars, and resistant to breakage.

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