France uses industrial drones to carry spectrometers for methane emissions detection
French energy giant TotalEnergies has teamed up with the University of Reims-Champagne-Ardenne to conduct a methane emissions detection program using the Industrial Drone-on-Airborne Ultralight Spectrometer (AUSEA) at all of its upstream oil and gas operations.
AUSEA utilizes tiny dual sensors mounted on commercial drones that are able to detect methane and carbon dioxide emissions and identify their source. Measurements can be carried out in all types of industrial facilities - onshore or offshore.
The company said the drone inspections would complement measurements made using traditional technologies such as infrared cameras, ground sensors and satellite data.
Drone-based detection of methane emissions has proven successful at test sites in Nigeria, Italy, the Republic of Congo and the Netherlands. A global rollout is underway, with African offshore sites and South America already receiving the technology, which will arrive in Europe this summer.
Drone inspections will help TotalEnergies move closer to its goal of reducing methane emissions from the company's operations by 50% by 2025 and 80% by 2030.
At the same time, AUSEA technology is developing further, moving from manual drones to autonomous aircraft to increase the frequency of methane emissions measurements. In this way, the deployment can also be extended to other activities of the company, including at its refineries.