Gazprom Neft begins aerial (drone) monitoring of its oil pipelines
Gazprom Neft has introduced a new system for the remote monitoring of its pressure pipeline network, by unmanned aerial vehicles („UAVs” or „drones”). Brought into commercial operation in September 2015, this initiative, allowing the remote monitoring of the company’s transport infrastructure, has been introduced at the company’s new centre of excellence for pipeline maintenance and operation, operating out of the company’s Gazpromneft Murvalenko subsidiary.
The Gazpromneft-Murvalenko intra-field pipeline network runs to a total length of more than 482 kilometres. The use of UAVs allows the integrity of intra-field pipelines to be monitored without interruption, including in remote fields, as well as significantly reducing emergency response times. The use of cutting-edge equipment allows pipeline condition and status to be monitored in real time, particularly during periods of greatest fire hazard.
The new centre for excellence brings together all company-wide experience in implanting new innovations in pipeline transportation, allowing this to be further disseminated throughout other divisions within Gazprom Neft. Gazpromneft-Murvalenko has become the main enterprise for the testing of new steel blends, pipeline connectors, equipment and technology.
UAVs are already being actively used at one of Gazprom Neft’s most significant upstream subsidiaries, Gazpromneft-Noyabrskneftegaz, as well as at Tomskneft.
The ZALA 421-16ЕМ and ZALA 421-16Е unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or „drones”) are both currently in use throughout Gazpromneft-Murvalenko fields. The drones can reach a height of 3,000 metres (over a range of up to 210 kilometres), and remain aloft for periods of up to two to three hours, at speeds of up to 120 kilometres per hour. The drones can be equipped with an aerial camera, video, and an infra-red imaging device. A built-in aerial camera ensures continuous monitoring of the terrain. The UAVs can be operated remotely from a ground station or in automatic mode.