January 25, 2019
Recently, some industries have begun making use of drones in inspections of infrastructures such as bridges and dams. In the field of plant safety, such as petroleum complexes, utilization of drones will allow related industries to easily inspect targets at high altitude, prevent accidents backed by improvement of inspection frequencies and swiftly confirm whether or not target sites are affected by disasters. Such utilization is expected to contribute to improving safety of plants.
Meanwhile, METI considers that it is necessary to examine potential challenges in using drones over the area around the target explosion-proof area in order to ensure safety in the complex at the same time, improve the accuracy of inspections.
In light of this, METI, in collaboration with the Fire and Disaster Management Agency (FDMA) and the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW), will examine such challenges and formulate guidelines for safe utilization of drones by the end of FY2018.
2. Outline of the demonstration test
On February 4, 2019, METI will conduct a demonstration test at Negishi Refinery operated by JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy Corporation. In this test, METI will fly a drone over the area around a crude-oil reservoir, and using the camera mounted on the drone, verify the top and the surrounding area of the reservoir.
Based on the test results, METI will uncover technical challenges and precautions in operation of drones, and formulate guidelines for the safe utilization of drones.
Photo showing the top of a crude-oil reservoir
(Source: JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy Corporation)
Division in Charge
High Pressure Gas Safety Office, Industrial and Product Safety Policy Group