How Total Uses Drones to Enhance Oil & Gas Operations
Using drones within the oil & gas sector isn’t always about inspection and surveying.
The number of applications are limitless, especially within an industry that has multiple sectors. All three major sectors (upstream, downstream and midstream) utilise UAV technology to assist with becoming carbon neutral; to reduce emission; and to become smarter & greener whilst enhancing preventative measures to reduce the total environmental cost.
The major and super-major players all understand that they don’t always have the answers. However, they’re also receptive to new technology. But, the tech and subject-matter experts need to demonstrate the issue it will solve and the value it will bring.
Earlier this year at the Oil and Gas IoT Summit in Lisbon, it was stated that ‘the O&G industry needs new leaders from Generation X, and they need them now’ – citing that the major companies are being shown up by other large organisations, such as Google and Amazon, due to their lack of willingness to adopt new tech and their level of data understanding.
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So, how can UAS technology be used to bridge the gap between implementing new tech from smaller organisations and improving the collection of data, regularly, repeatedly and reliably?
The Case of Total: Drones and Data Acquisition
Total, one of the supermajor oil companies in the world, has been pushing these boundaries within this space for over five years.
Total has their Multiphysics Exploration Technology Integrated System (METIS®), a system that aims to improve the quality and speed of data acquisition through real-time quality control and processing. An example of this uses autonomous drones and a ground vehicle to drop off and retrieve seismic sensors without human intervention.
METIS® technology is said to reduce the environmental footprint for onshore exploration and appraisal campaigns in harsh environments — such as the desert — which are tough on people and equipment.
Total focused on innovating seismic acquisition data back in 2016 to minimise surface impact of petroleum activities and improve the quality of sub-surface images.
Smaller organisations ultimately help crunch the data, produce ‘digital twins,’ or plan for preventative maintenance using software where the data has been collected by multiple means, including drone technology. These companies all work together to enable the oil and gas giants to reduce their total environmental cost.
Another application that Total has been working on is HELPER, which stands for Human, Environment & Life Protection Emergency Response. It claims to be the world’s first autonomous multitasking drone dedicated to safety at sea, which can be deployed as a ‘local’ solution for responding immediately, 24/7. The specifications could give a manned aircraft a run for its money!
Integrating Drone Technology into Your Business
Consortiq has first hand experience of being there for oil & gas companies who are attempting to explore new ways of using drone technology.
Recently, we trained a team in the United States to assist them in capturing the health of their seismic nodal sensors, similarly to Total. These sensors are out in oil and gas fields across the globe and, traditionally, this would have been a manual task of vehicles and people collecting the same data. The process is labour-intensive, and it comes with high overhead costs.
Around two-thirds of the world’s daily oil production comes from mature fields, and around 80% of these fields are located in the Middle East and North Africa. Understanding how to collect seismic data efficiently is important to oil and gas extraction and transportation, especially in the Middle East, where in this area alone has had 751 earthquakes over the past calendar year. Reducing time spent in receiving the data or understanding device status/health in an environment like this could save organisations thousands of dollars per year.
From our experience, Consortiq believes that any organisation should be open to new ideas, share best practices within industry, embrace new ways, say “yes” to new tech, and listen to the smaller companies. As it’s said, ‘if everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.’
We are made up of experienced and passionate aviation and training professionals with both civil and military flying and ATM experience. As a UK CAA National Qualified Entity (NQE), soon to be a Recognised Assessment Entity (RAE), and an AUVSI Trusted Operator Programme (TOP) Level 3 organisation, we have a proven history of excellence in training and consultancy services. Safety is at the heart of everything we do.
Consortiq is the Unmanned Air Systems (UAS) division of The Diplomat Group of Companies (TDG), a 40-year-old company providing innovative logistics and transportation solutions to governments, commercial companies and NGO’s globally. Consortiq helps organizations throughout the world innovate with a specific focus on utilisation of UAS. We combine consulting, internationally-recognised, award-winning training and Drone as a Service (DaaS) model to enable our clients to safely scale their UAS operations from proof of concept to program roll out.
Consortiq maintains offices in the United States and the United Kingdom, and our clients are worldwide including the US, UK, South Africa, Canada, Ireland, Eastern Europe and South America. We also have support from the TDG Offices in Dubai, Djibouti, Somalia and other locations around the world.
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