QGC to leverage Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems through contract with Insitu



Insitu and QGC have announced a contract with each other that will result in Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) from Insitu performing automated infrastructure inspection and management services at QGC’s operations within Queensland, Australia.

Described as a “first-of-its-kind program” in Australia, the contract in the Surat Basin “represents a significant move towards the use of autonomous air vehicles and advanced analytics in the area of broad acre infrastructure operations and maintenance.”

According to Andrew Duggan, Vice President and General Manager, Insitu Commercial, the contract with Shell’s QGC business is the result of two years of comprehensive testing and evaluation of Insitu Commercial’s aerial sensing, data analysis and data distribution capabilities.

“Insitu’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,” says Duggan.

In the Surat Basin, beyond visual line of site (BVLOS) flight operations are conducted over a wide area of Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) approved airspace encompassing over 700,000 Ha (hectares). Using RPAS has provided several increases in both efficiency and safety, such as:

·       Hundreds of thousands of kilometers of driving is saved for QGC inspection crews, thanks to the inspection of wells and other infrastructure hardware components now being largely automated;
·       Assessment of the environmental surrounds of the infrastructure is now simple and straightforward, even following significant weather events; and
·       Immediate response to operational contingencies is “reliably available,” which allows problems to be quickly assessed and resolved, ultimately allowing crucial infrastructure to be brought back on line sooner than previously possible.

“This project is a global first for Beyond Visual Line of Site (BVLOS) Remotely Piloted Aerial System operations,” comments Bill Langin, QGC’s General Manager Upstream.

“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. The inclusion of BVLOS RPAS in our overall Smart CSG suite of technology means we will potentially reduce travel by up to 800,000km/year.”

The data collected using RPAS is “automatically processed and analyzed in near real-time with actionable information,” before it is delivered directly to field operators and supervisors, and management staff in the headquarters facility in Brisbane.

Duggan says, “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.”