Unmanned systems company Insitu says it has signed a contract to support Royal Dutch Shell company QGC’s coal seam gas extraction business in Queensland.
As part of the contract, QGC will use remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) to inspect wells, tanks, pipes and other infrastructure in Queensland’s Surat Basin.
This would help cut down staff travel across an area of spanning some 700,000Ha by about 800,000km a year, QGC general manager for upstream Bill Langin said in a statement on Wednesday.
Further, this would allow the company to more quickly respond to any issues picked up during the assessment.
“This project is a global first for Beyond Visual Line of Site (BVLOS) Remotely Piloted Aerial System operations,” Langin said.
“The partnership will allow QGC to drive improvements in our safety performance, more efficiently and effectively survey our infrastructure and reduce our footprint on the environment.”
Insitu is wholly-owned by Boeing and offers RPAS systems, also known as drones, such as its ScanEagle, Blackjack and Integrator platforms, to both commercial and military clients. The company also makes unattended ground sensors (UGS) and unmanned ground vehicles (UGV), according to its website.
Its Australian division Insitu Pacific is based in Brisbane.
Insitu Pacific general manager Andrew Duggan said two years of testing with QGC showed the company’s “robust systems consistently excel in rugged environments, and have the range to cover broad areas to provide vital analysis and alerts to site managers, safety experts and surveyors”.
“We’re excited to continue our partnership with QGC to provide tailored solutions that are changing how onshore gas fields are managed, operated and explored today,” Duggan said in a statement.