More than 3,000 miles from home. In a faraway land where drones were rare and the commercial use of them was even rarer.
This was Qatar in 2016 and where some might have seen a problem, we saw an opportunity.
We were tasked with performing Qatar’s first-ever commercial oil and gas inspection – an arduous job in difficult conditions - but it’s safe to say, we were impressed.
Since then we’ve helped herald in a new age of commercial UAV usage in one of the most exotic places the world has to offer.
In just five short years, we’ve performed countless drone inspections, recreated fully interactive 3D mesh models of epic offshore oil rigs, and even set up permanent residence here.
In this blog post, we’re going to look at our time spent in Qatar, the work that we’ve completed, and why we’re not just on holiday – we’re here to stay.
Well, besides the sun, sea, and sand, there were more than a few business opportunities to target in the area.
We noticed that, during a time when Qatari oil and gas budgets were facing significant pressure, drone inspections could provide significant financial relief to retailers.
But not only that, our drone-based inspection method offers a considerably higher level of safety compared to the traditional approach.
Before our arrival, drones had historically been prohibited for industrial purposes in Qatar. It was due in no small part to our unrivaled experience that meant we had the credibility and competency to gain the relevant permission to operate legally there.
Such was the quality of our work, our permanent pilot in Qatar has recently been awarded an official Qatari-approved UAV piloting license.
Did you know? Our flights were the first UAV inspections not only in Qatar but also in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Oman and Saudi Arabia.
In early 2016, we carried out the inspection of 136m high flares at an onshore oil and gas refinery in Qatar. An experienced team of two from Cyberhawk - including an industry-qualified inspection engineer and oil and gas qualified inspection pilot - was mobilized to undertake the work and took just two days to conduct an inspection in full. Alternative methods - such as rope access or scaffolding - would have taken months to complete, would have required shutdown of the facility, and increased potential dangers to personnel.
At present we are conducting further offshore inspections for another petroleum giant in the Middle East – part of which is creating an interactive, totally immersive, point cloud of an offshore oil rig that is over 400 meters high.
These models help clients inspect the damage to their assets or can assist in planning large moves or structural changes to them.
MEET THE qatar drone TEAM
Scott Gardiner, UAV Pilot (Level 4)
Scott has been with Cyberhawk since 2019 and has been in Qatar since February 2021. Some of his personal highlights include being involved in Qatar’s first-ever offshore 3D model and piloting the first ELIOS2 internal inspection of a heat exchanger – navigating through incredibly convoluted pipes.
On the Qatari lifestyle, he says; “Because the summer months are incredibly hot through the daylight hours, at night Qatar comes alive; with everything from outdoor dining and nightlife adventure, to drinking Karak on the seafront or eating a shawarma during a round of night golf. Then when the weekend comes around, you head off into the desert for some dune-bashing!"
LEON BORSTLAP, Technical and Sales Manager
Leon has been in Qatar since March 2021 and takes care of the technical aspects of day-to-day operations, as well as assisting with the CRO side of things.
On Qatar, he says; “Qatar is a lovely place with an extremely friendly and welcoming community. Doha is a very family-orientated city as well and perfect for my family arriving soon. The food out here is too good, to be honest - so extra care is required otherwise it will be quite evident around your waist pretty soon! I am a very outdoor, sporty person, so keep myself busy on a regular basis with golf, as well as all other sorts of outdoor activities with my Cyberhawk team. Unfortunately, I'm not at the advanced level of Scott in golf having had a rugby and cricket career - but still very enjoyable even when I play quite bad!”
GARY KEAN, Inspection Engineer and Cyberhawk ambassador
Gary joined Cyberhawk at the beginning of 2021 and moved to Qatar very soon afterward. His personal highlights include gaining his Incorporated Engineer status, getting two commendations for flight safety while he was an Aircraft Engineer, and being part of a Cyberhawk team that performed a lot of ‘firsts’ in the region.
On the Qatari lifestyle, he says; “I’m loving the culture, diversity of life and food over here, along with the sun, sea and sand aspect - not to mention all the interesting places to explore! I’m also really looking forward to going sailing again and watching some camel racing.”
STEP INTO OUR OFFICE
One of our core values at Cyberhawk is to ‘show up and have fun' – and that sentiment permeates everything that we do; from the trademark yellow that dons our drones and uniforms, to our uber cool fleet of Cyberhawk-branded jeeps that our people rumble around in.
But we don’t stop there. It even informs our choice of office space.
If you’ve ever visited our Edinburgh base, you’ll know we overlook the largest climbing center in Scotland.
In Qatar, we went for a different angle – literally.
In line with the remarkable abstract architecture for which Qatar is so well known, our office sits at an extraordinary 45-degree angle (and conveniently, is located a mere ten-minute walk from the majestic waterfront promenade).
Over the last five years, we’ve built on our industry-relevant expertise and added key knowledge of the countries and laws that exist within the Middle Eastern region. We’ve made ourselves at home here and are looking to grow. If you would like to learn more about our services, you can contact us here.