Bristow Group Inc. and Sky-Futures today announced that Bristow 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.
"In this new market reality where continued cost pressures compel companies to find new solutions, our investment in Sky-Futures puts Bristow at the forefront of offering innovative solutions that help our mutual clients achieve further efficiencies in their operations," said Bristow Group President and CEO Jonathan Baliff. "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.
"This agreement is another example of how Bristow is taking proactive steps to differentiate itself and capitalize on strategic growth opportunities that are aligned with our core values and competencies," said Baliff.
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. We're really excited because it allows us to enhance our advanced technology platform that powers industrial data capture and analysis, providing our clients with increasingly valuable and actionable information."
Formed in 2009 with offices in Houston, London, Kuala Lumpur, Abu Dhabi and Aberdeen, Sky-Futures currently operates in 16 countries and works with more than 30 major 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 Federal Aviation Authority (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 highly experienced 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 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. Sky-Futures recently completed a drone inspection of two offshore flare tips for a major oil client which was estimated to have saved the client approximately $35 million by avoiding an unscheduled shutdown.
Founded in 2009, Sky-Futures is the world leading provider of drone inspection services for the oil and gas industry, working with over 36 of the biggest oil and gas companies in the world. The drones collect high definition video, stills and thermal imagery data, which is analyzed in a proprietary data platform and delivered to the client as a technical report. Each part of this process is overseen by Sky-Futures' highly qualified, in-house team of global industry experts in flare systems and structural engineering. Sky-Futures now delivers drone inspection services in the North Sea, Middle East, South East Asia, North Africa, and most recently in the Gulf of Mexico, having been one of the first companies to receive FAA regulatory approval to operate in the US. In May 2015 Sky-Futures received the largest investment into a drone company in Europe during their Series A from MMC Ventures, totaling US$4 Million after additional investment from Airware's Commercial Drone Fund. The business is headquartered in London with offices in Houston, Abu Dhabi, Kuala Lumpur and Aberdeen.