Flylogix’s ground-breaking methane-detecting drone has successfully completed three flights to bp’s Clair Phase One installation in the west of Shetland as part of the energy giant’s commitment to better understand, and respond to, methane emissions offshore.
The pre-programmed craft, once airborne, manages itself autonomously with pilot oversight from shore. During flight, it live-streams data collected by a SeekOps sensor on its wing-tip to the onshore support crew. The sensor technology was originally designed by NASA for the Mars Curiosity Rover.
The latest flights follow successful, similar campaigns by bp and Flylogix in the west of Shetland. In 2019, bp was the first energy company in the North Sea to initiate a project with Flylogix and SeekOps to use a drone to accurately measure methane emissions.
This year, the focus of the flights was to understand how distance from methane sources influences quantification methodology and to demonstrate that readings are consistent through repeated measurements.
During the three flights successfully conducted in November, the Flylogix and SeekOps solution achieved:
● Six hours of flying time
● 380 nautical miles covered
● 216,000 atmospheric methane data points recorded
● 10 methane concentration measurements taken every second
● 54,000 atmospheric methane data points collected at just 250 metres from the platform – the closest a fixed-wing UAV has flown to a bp offshore platform
Flylogix project lead Chris Adams said:
“Measuring the methane emissions of an offshore oil and gas installation is incredibly difficult, but by working with bp, SeekOps and other energy industry partners, Flylogix has been able to prove yet again that we can answer that challenge.
“Our unmanned system combines the range to reach these remote offshore installations with an extremely high level of flight control and accuracy. This means once on station, we can safely collect methane concentration data as close as 250 metres from the installation, whereas previous measurements had been taken at a distance of 500 metres so this is highly significant from a data-gathering point of view.
“This capability is game-changing in meeting the lower levels of detection required for quantifying emissions of low-emitting installations.
“The Flylogix and SeekOps solution also avoids the CO2 emissions – not to mention cost and personnel requirements – that would be generated by traditional methods involving a helicopter flight transporting people and equipment offshore.”
Peter Evans, Environmental Engineering Lead at bp added:
“These Flylogix flights to Clair Phase One are a critical piece of the jigsaw in bp’s methane reduction plans. We are very proud to be an important partner in this work that will ultimately help move the North Sea, bp, and the world toward meeting our climate ambitions.
“Three years on from our first collaboration with Flylogix and SeekOps, the technology is more accurate and robust than ever. Having a real understanding of methane emissions and the confidence that measurements are accurate, is the basis on which we can make targeted interventions to then reduce those emissions.”
SeekOps CEO Iain Cooper said:
“As oil and gas operators increasingly commit to frameworks such as OGMP 2.0, they will need to report not just their bottom-up methane emissions figures, but also their top-down figures. SeekOps
and Flylogix have demonstrated cost-effective, top-down emissions quantification of offshore assets with minimum interruption to day-to-day operations.”.
bp is working hard to reduce methane emissions across its operations and aims to install methane measurement at all of its existing major oil and gas processing sites by 2023, publish the data, and then drive a 50% reduction in methane intensity of operations.
Earlier this month, the company was recognised by the United Nations Environmental Programme for its plans around methane.
Flylogix is a UK company pioneering new sustainable ways for companies to use unmanned aviation for missions and logistics without hindrance (human, weather, location) and with the least harm to the planet. It’s advanced engineering combines next-generation technology with tough, small unmanned craft that can fly to the most remote locations, up to 500 km beyond the horizon, in some of the world’s harshest weather conditions. Flylogix services are in operation with leading global partners from the oil and gas industries to support them to accurately measure methane emissions and with transport companies such as The Isles of Scilly Group to deliver commercial and time-critical supplies daily.
SeekOps is based in Austin, Texas and operates globally. It is trusted by top operators in both traditional and renewable energy industries for its accurate sensor technology and actionable reporting. A team of innovative engineers and FAA-certified pilots, they work closely with clients to provide tailored, cost-effective, safe, and efficient emissions monitoring solutions with industry-recognized, unparalleled field services. With customers facing unprecedented challenges in their quest for net zero its groundbreaking SeekIR drone-based solution for emissions detection, localization and quantification offers state-of-the art high accuracy, high-resolution emissions profiles and trends for its customers.