Drones will help TotalEnergies to reduce methane emissions

French oil company TotalEnergies is launching a drone-based program to detect methane emissions in all its oil and gas companies. The global project will use technology for measuring greenhouse gases, called Airborne Ultralight Spectrometer for Environmental Applications (AUSEA).

Drones with dual gas sensor

AUSEA uses a drone-mounted miniature dual gas sensor to detect methane and carbon dioxide emissions and identify their source. Measurements can be performed on all industrial installations, both onshore and offshore.

The company says drone inspections will complement measurements made using traditional techniques such as infrared cameras, ground sensors, and satellite data. TotalEnergies developed the technology in collaboration with the French National Research Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the University of Reims Champagne Ardenne.

Towards Zero Methane

Drone-based methane emission detection has proven successful at test sites in Nigeria, , the Republic of , and the . The technology is now being rolled out worldwide. African offshore sites and South America have already received the technology, and it will be ’s turn this summer. Drone inspections will help TotalEnergies reach its goal of reducing methane emissions by 50% by 2025 at company-operated sites and by 80% by 2030.

Namita Shah, Director of TotalEnergies OneTech: “TotalEnergies is committed to moving towards Zero Methane. AUSEA is currently considered the most accurate technology in the world to detect and measure methane emissions and will help us refine our emissions calculations and take stronger measures to reduce our emissions even further to achieve the goals we have set.”

Next step: autonomy for drones

Meanwhile, the AUUSE technology is being further developed so that it can also be used in combination with autonomous aircraft to increase the frequency of methane emission measurements. In this way, the deployment can also be extended to the company’s other activities, including the refineries.

Let us know in the comments below what you think of using drones for emission inspections. We are curious to hear your thoughts.

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Wiebe de Jager
Wiebe de Jager

Wiebe de Jager is the founder of Dronewatch and author of several bestselling books about drone photography. Wiebe is a certified drone pilot and has a full ROC license.

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