DroneXL.co | Drone news, DJI rumors, specs DJI Mavic 3 other UAS
Shell and Baker Hughes Venture going big on methane-hunting drones

Shell and Baker Hughes Venture going big on methane-hunting drones

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.

Flying drones as a career?

If you want to turn your hobby into your career, practice how to fly your drone safely, and learn what it takes to get your Part 107, be sure to check out the excellent training modules from The Drone U.

DroneU Marketing Banner Ad 1

Stay in touch!

If you’d like to stay up to date with all the latest drone news, scoops, rumors, and reviews, then follow us on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram or…

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 hereSupport 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.

Facebook Comments

Haye Kesteloo

Haye Kesteloo is the Editor in Chief and Founder of DroneXL.co, where he covers all drone-related news, DJI rumors and writes drone reviews. Haye is also a co-host of the PiXL Drone Show on YouTube and other podcast platforms. Haye can be reached at haye @ dronexl.co or @hayekesteloo.

Add comment

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


  • ;