Shell said this week that in July it inked a deal with Baker Hughes' drone venture company, Avitas, to expand drone-monitoring services at its unconventional assets in the Permian Basin. Shell is one of the fastest adopters of drone platforms which are still considered an emerging technology by much of the oil and gas industry. Last year, the company said it was using methane-hunting drones on a daily basis both onshore and offshore.
Shell and Baker Hughes Venture going big on methane-hunting drones
In the Permian, the operator will leverage the drone technology's optical gas-imaging camera and laser-based detection system to bolster its methane-leak detection and repair program. The methane-hunting drones will play a critical role in Shell's goal to limit emissions at its North American operations to below 0.2% of its produced natural gas volumes by 2025.
Based in Boston, Massachusetts, Avitas was acquired by Houston-based Baker Hughes last year, making the aerial-inspection startup the service company's first addition to its venture portfolio.
Shell has been testing Avitas' Drone Technology in the Permian since 2018 at a small number of facilities, reports the Journal of Petroleum Technology. The pilot tests required approval in 2018 from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly the drones beyond visual line of sight which was previously prohibited.
With the technology proven out, the new plan will cover Shell's entire operating area in the Permian of more than 500 locations, including 150 that are designated for federal air-quality reporting regulations. Shell holds interests in about 500,000 acres in the Permian, which include more than 1,300 operated and non-operated wells.
The operator also said the drone platform and its complementing software will increase its ability to find leaks and that in the future it hopes to use high-altitude drones that could cover larger areas with more ease. “This, in turn, will enable much quicker repair of leaks, reducing methane emissions and the related global warming impact,” the company said in a statement on its website.
Shell noted that its leak-detection plan and onshore emission standards are stricter than what current regulations call for and that it is part of several other initiatives to spur the development of other emission-mitigation technologies. This includes participation in a project at the University of Texas called ASTRA that is working to build a proof-of-concept network of methane sensors across the Permian.
Stay in touch!
Subscribe to our Daily Drone News email.*
Submit tips If you have information or tips that you would like to share with us, feel free to submit them here. Support DroneXL.co: You can support DroneXL.co by using these links when you make your next drone purchase: Adorama, Amazon, B&H, BestBuy, eBay, DJI, Parrot, and Yuneec. We make a small commission when you do so at no additional expense to you. Thank you for helping DroneXL grow! FTC: DroneXL.co uses affiliate links that generate income.
* We do not sell, share, rent out or spam your email, ever. Our email goes out on weekdays around 5:30 p.m.
Get your Part 107 Certificate
Pass the test and take to the skies with the Pilot Institute. We have helped thousands of people become airplane and commercial drone pilots. Our courses are designed by industry experts to help you pass FAA tests and achieve your dreams.
Copyright © DroneXL.co 2023. All rights reserved. The content, images, and intellectual property on this website are protected by copyright law. Reproduction or distribution of any material without prior written permission from DroneXL.co is strictly prohibited. For permissions and inquiries, please contact us here.
FTC: DroneXL.co is an Amazon Associate and uses affiliate links that can generate income from qualifying purchases. We do not sell, share, rent out, or spam your email.