Oil and gas giant Shell has joined a multi-operator group driving innovation to tackle the challenge of offshore methane emissions monitoring.

Leading this innovation is unmanned aviation business Flylogix, who alongside US gas sensor technology experts SeekOps and supported by OGTC, are operationalizing the accurate measurement of methane emissions in the offshore environment.

According to the UK-based Oil and Gas Technology Centre, the approach uses an unmanned aerial system (UAS) operating beyond visual line of sight paired with a highly sensitive miniaturized sensor to collect data in the field.  

Detailed post-flight analytics enable the translation of data into emission rates. This technology could support operators in the drive towards net zero and in meeting best practice principles for methane management such as those outlined in the Oil and Gas Methane Partnership 2.0 framework, OGTC said.

“This UAS-based solution to the emissions monitoring challenge could offer significant advantages in cost, safety, reliability and environmental responsibility over other alternatives.  In 2020 a series of trials deployed and proved the technology across all of bp’s assets West of Shetland. 

Following further development work to optimize detection limits, the technology is now being trialed across northern, central, and southern North Sea assets operated by a wide group which includes bp, Total, Harbour Energy and Shell,” OGTC said.

Charles Tavner, Executive Chairman at Flylogix, said: “Technology is at its best when it is developed hand in hand with the end user – they have the best understanding of the problem.  We are pleased to have Shell bringing their insight and perspective to the group, helping to drive forward innovation in emissions monitoring.”

Iain Cooper, CEO at SeekOps, said: “The collaborative development of this unique offshore monitoring and quantification solution benefits greatly from Shell’s vision and focus on emissions reductions.”

Rob Littel, General Manager CO2 abatement and methane measurement technology at Shell said: “We are delighted to be joining this project. The collaborative approach is invaluable in driving shared understanding of innovative technology solutions and support the development of best practice across the industry.”

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