Gazprom Neft has signed an agreement with the Government of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug-Yugra on cooperating in using unmanned transport (driverless vehicles), unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs or “drones”) and AI-based hardware and software.
Signed by Alexander Dyukov (CEO and Chairman of the Management Board, Gazprom Neft), and Natalya Komarova (Governor of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug), this agreement outlines the key areas for joint activities in the testing and subsequent commercial deployment of driverless vehicles within the Okrug. This collaboration is also intended to expand opportunities for using digital technologies, including, specifically, artificial intelligence (AI), in the company’s logistical operations and other activities in the region.
The Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug-Yugra is involved in an experiment initiated by the Government of the Russian Federation on trialling highly automated vehicles on public roads. Supported by local government, Gazprom Neft will continue its testing of unmanned vehicles on intra-oilfield roads.* The agreement also creates new opportunities for testing and using UAVs, which have, already, been used in monitoring company oil pipelines and production infrastructure in Yugra for many years.**
Gazprom Neft plans to undertake a series of trials involving driverless GAZelle and KAMAZ vehicles throughout 2020 and 2021. Driverless vehicles help optimise transportation processes and improve safety in cargo transportation. These vehicles, controlled by artificial intelligence (AI), could, in future, take on the majority of logistics operations at Yugra oilfields. Trials experience at Gazprom Neft facilities could also be used in the experiment to bring driverless vehicles onto public roads.
“The Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug is a key region for the domestic oil industry. Not only is 40% of all Russia’s oil produced here, but the innovative technological projects that are going to drive the future of our industry are also being developed here. Developing driverless (unmanned) technologies is one such project. Gazprom Neft is, already, proactively deploying UAVs in monitoring pipeline condition and status in this region, as well as for a range of other works. We also have the first successful results of pilot testing the use of driverless electric vehicles at our company’s fields in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug. As part of this new agreement with the Okrug Government we will be continuing our investigations into the wider use of these technologies, and will also be developing other innovations, including in digital logistics solutions.”Alexander Dyukov CEO and Chairman of the Management Board, Gazprom Neft
“This document sets out the mutual obligations on both parties, including trialling driverless freight vehicles on Gazprom Neft’s service roads — something that will enhance safety levels for participants on this experiment.”Natalya Komarova Governor of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug
* Supported by the Government of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug-Yugra, Gazprom Neft subsidiaries Gazpromneft-Khantos and Gazpromneft-Snabzheniye successfully tested a driverless GAZelle Next Electro electric vehicle in the southern section of the Priobsokoye field in early 2020. The vehicle confirmed its effectiveness and safety in completing various transportation challenges on intra-oilfield roads, under winter conditions.
Testing of unmanned KAMAZ vehicles took place earlier this year at the Vostochno-Messoyakhskoye field (covering the Yamal Peninsula and Gydan Peninsula and under development by Gazprom Neft—Rosneft JV Messoyakhaneftegaz). Testing confirmed the potential for KAMAZ unmanned vehicles to be used in logistics operations under the extreme natural and climatic conditions of the Arctic.
** Gazpromneft-Khantos is using an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV or “drone”) to monitor oil pipelines and industrial infrastructure, with the drone being used to monitor trunk pipelines and oil-production facilities. This helps minimise environmental risks, as well as revealing potential fire sources during the forest-fire danger season, and controlling flood risks in spring. Cutting-edge technological equipment improves safety in operating company infrastructure, and significantly reduces emergency response times.
More than 60% (about 7,000 km) of the total length of Gazprom Neft’s pipelines are, already, being fully or partially monitored using aircraft-type drones, fitted with photographic, video and thermal imaging cameras.