Image: Insitu Pacific.
BY ELIZABETH FABRI
SHELL-operated QGC has inked a deal with Insitu to deliver a ‘first-of-its-kind’ remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) program in the Surat Basin, Queensland.
The program will use autonomous air vehicles to deliver automated infrastructure inspection and management across more than 700,000 hectares of Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) approved airspace.
The drones will inspect wells and other infrastructure hardware components, such as tanks, valves, floats, vents and pipes, and process data in near-real time with actionable information, including equipment check lists and operational statuses.
QGC upstream general manager Bill Langin said the project was a “global first” for Beyond Visual Line of Site (BVLOS) RPAS operations.
“The partnership will allow QGC to drive improvements in our safety performance, more efficiently and effectively survey our infrastructure and reduce our footprint on the environment,” Mr Langin said.
“The inclusion of BVLOS RPAS in our overall Smart CSG suite of technology means we will potentially reduce travel by up to 800,000km/year.”
Insitu Pacific general manager Andrew Duggan said the contract with QGC followed two years of extensive testing.
“With the support of the Boeing Company’s Phantom Works International group, we have been able to provide state of the art data collection, analysis, and data dissemination tools,” Mr Duggan said.
“We’re excited to continue our partnership with QGC to provide tailored solutions that are changing how onshore gas fields are managed, operated and explored today.”