Gazprom Neft has, for the first time, completed cargo deliveries to a remote field using an unmanned aerial vehicle, as part of a project being implemented by specialists from Gazpromneft-Snabzheniye and Gazpromneft-Noyabrskneftegaz, supported by scientific and production enterprise Radar-mms.
An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) weighing 37 kilogrammes delivered cargo weighing 4.5 kilogrammes to Gazpromneft-Noyabrskneftegaz’s Pogranichnoye field, flying the 40 kilometres from the company’s central base in Noyabrsk to its destination in the space of 42 minutes, at an average speed of 40 kilometres per hour. Tests confirmed the possibility of UAVs being used to deliver cargo to remote production sites with no ground communication in the spring—autumn period, as well as in those instances where the use of helicopter technologies are not economically viable.
The project on the use of UAVs for cargo deliveries has been developed and implemented as part of Gazprom Neft’s Technology Strategy. Testing of helicopter-style UAVs will continue at company assets throughout the 2017 — 2018 winter period, together with rotary-aircraft (“rotorcraft”).
Gazpromneft-Snabzheniye CEO Sergei Smetskoy commented: “Successful experience of delivering goods to a remote production site ‘by drone’ is of major importance for the oil and gas industry. We have proved that it is possible — in difficult climatic conditions — to ensure the efficient delivery of small cargo consignments using UAVs when the use of manned helicopters will be unreasonably expensive. The tests conducted have allowed us to work out the flight management process, assess the possibility of flying on automatic, and also to assess the equipment’s susceptibility to meteorological conditions, including strong winds. Assuming the use of small-size UAVs proves positive, we will consider using UAVs of up to 500 kilos in weight and with cargo capacity of up to 200 kilos for logistical purposes”.
Pavel Kryukov, CEO, Gazpromneft-Noyabrskneftegaz, added: “Gazpromneft-Noyabrskneftegaz was the first of Gazprom Neft’s businesses to use UAVs for aerial monitoring of transport infrastructure — allowing improvements in reliability. Conducting tests on the use of UAVs for logistical purposes has shown where we can expand the boundaries of their use. By introducing digital technologies at all stages of hydrocarbon production we are significantly improving the technological effectiveness of the entire production process”.
Gazprom Neft has been using UAVs commercially to monitor the operation of pressure pipelines since 2015. The use of UAVs allows the integrity of intra-field pipelines to be monitored, including in remote fields. The use of cutting-edge equipment allows pipeline conditions and status to be monitored in real time, significantly reducing environmental risk, particularly during periods of greatest fire hazard.