Energy companies have been testing small, unmanned aircraft as potential pipeline and drilling rig monitors. After the government, no one is as interested in unmanned systems as the energy industry. (The Interior Department has more than 40 unmanned aerial systems that it uses to monitor wildlife and fires.)
Many of the major energy companies — including BP PLC, Royal Dutch Shell PLC and ConocoPhillips Co. — have been eyeing the technology for everything from pipeline surveillance to disaster response.
Source: UAS VISION