emissions solutions going where few drones have gone before
2 min read | november 10, 2022
A worker is pictured operating a drone in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.
Chevron now deploys sensor-affixed drones to detect methane emissions in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, becoming one of the first in the industry to do so.
Using drone sensors offshore is especially tricky because ocean water can confuse emission detection technology, providing false readings.
The situation becomes even more challenging given the size of multilevel oil platforms with layered equipment. Pinpointing emission sources from overhead sensors alone can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
solution with sensors
To solve these challenges, our Gulf of Mexico business unit worked with our San Joaquin Valley business unit in California, which supplied the emissions sensor for mounting on a drone.
- Ahead of takeoff, we modified the sensor’s laser orientation so it could better identify emissions sources at each level of the platform.
- We used the drone to monitor all five of our Gulf of Mexico platforms.
why it matters
“We have for decades relied on the best available data to calculate our emissions for each of our identified sources,” said Kathy Sharp, Chevron air quality specialist. “The drone sensor has the potential to provide actual top-down emission monitoring data that can validate those calculations.”
more on that
We use several technologies to monitor methane emissions throughout our U.S. onshore operations. Offshore, monitoring has been largely limited to handheld devices, until now.
“We wanted to be able to prove we could use the technology offshore,” said Sharp, who helped facilitate the drone project. “We also wanted to confirm that we weren’t missing any large sources.”
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