Insitu Pacific have announced that after 18 months of successful trials, natural gas company , a Shell-owned business, is introducing the ScanEagle Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) to inspect gas wells, pipelines and processing facilities.
Insitu Pacific Managing Director Andrew Duggan said the unmanned Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations had never before been used commercially on this scale.
“By working closely together and with Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority, the ScanEagle is helping QGC to begin streamlining its inspections, with benefits for both the local resources and agriculture sectors,” said Mr. Duggan. “We’re very proud of this effort by Insitu Pacific and QGC.”
QGC is starting to conduct BVLOS operations in the Surat Basin of south-west Queensland on inspection and monitoring tasks for up to eight hours per day. Until now all inspections have been conducted by operations staff on the ground or by piloted aircraft.
Shell Australia Country Chair Andrew Smith said the RPAS operations were an example of collaboration across industry service providers.
“This innovative solution will improve safety by reducing the need for driving and use of helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft,” Mr Smith said.
“Over time and as we progressively introduce this technology, it will reduce inconvenience to landowners by cutting the number of land access requests, and the cost to QGC, associated with regular on-the-ground visual inspections.”
The ScanEagle RPAS is being launched and recovered from QGC property and operated by Insitu Pacific personnel.
The ScanEagle RPAS has a 3m wingspan and operates between 1,500-3,000ft, in compliance with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) air safety regulations.
QGC is actively engaging landholders regarding the introduction of the new RPAS technology to ensure the community remains informed.
Community inquiries can be made to QGC on 1800 030 443.
Insitu Pacific, located in Queensland, Australia, has provided UAS services to defence, civil and commercial interests in the Asia-Pacific region since June 2009. Insitu Pacific is a subsidiary of U.S.-based Insitu Inc.
Insitu is an industry-leading provider of information for superior decision making. With offices in the U.S., U.K., and Australia, Insitu is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Boeing Company. With a small footprint and expeditionary focus for both land and sea operations, the company creates and supports unmanned systems and software technology that deliver end-to-end solutions for collecting, processing and understanding sensor data. We proudly serve the diverse needs of our global customers in the military, commercial and civil industries. To date, these systems have accumulated over 883,000 operational flight hours and 109,000 sorties. For more information, visit www.insitupacific.com.