Apache, BP and other energy companies are looking at the potential of using unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, in monitoring operations in harsh environments, detecting leaks, examining hard-to-reach regions, saving time and increasing worker safety. "It's coming. The question is how long will it take," said Curt Smith, director at BP's chief technology office. Ron George, senior research development officer at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, added, "[t]hese technologies promise to be very efficient and cost-effective. It's pretty easy to see why these technologies are appealing to the oil and gas industry."
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