The guidelines were developed by a work group set up by the trade body, involving industry and aviation safety experts and drone-operators.
Mick Borwell, health and safety director at Oil & Gas UK, explained: “A small but increasing number of oil and gas operators are using drones, primarily for inspections 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 use to grow.”
The new guidelines aim to achieve consistency with the high safety and operating standards already adopted in the North Sea for offshore oil and gas production and helicopter flight operations.