Wireline Issue 52 Winter 2021

with a 3.5m wingspan. Its size and payload mean it’s capable of flying more than 500km in a single flight and, crucially, still withstand the notorious weather conditions presented by environments like North Sea. The UAV is controlled from a fixed ground control station, based in this case at the airport at Scatsta, north of Lerwick on Shetland. BP also helped connect Flylogix with the developer of the service’s key enabling technology. Integrated into the airframe is an ultralight miniaturised laser spectroscope, designed and built by US company SeekOps. (A spin-out from NASA’S JPL Labs, this technology was originally developed for the Mars Rover.) In tandem with algorithmic processing and other measurements, this sensor enables the aircraft to accurately measure methane concentrations at safe stand-off distances from installations, preventing any disruption to operations whilst environmental data is collected. A typical operation would see the UAV fly out to an offshore asset, before circling around it in a spiral. Methane concentration readings are processed alongside other measurements like windspeed and temperature, and then added to geospatial data. These parameters are then combined to create 3D layers as the aircraft flies around the asset. A combination of modelling alongside baseline empirical emissions data

won't adopt them. You get caught in a Catch-22 where you have an end customer who wants it and a developer like us with the technology and skills to build the solution, but there’s still a load of investment risk. That’s where the Net Zero Technology Centre plays a really powerful role in bridging that gap.” For his part, the Net Zero Technology Centre project engineer Charlie Booth is equally pleasedwith the group that stepped forward. “We’re all about technology development, but that technology is of no use if it’s not adopted properly,” he notes. “The consortium of operators that are involved here have made it a model project - a collaborative group of operators who are essentially competitors, but all have common issues and are all working together to try and solve them. I think it’s just really good to see.” Cleared for take-off Having proved the viability of BVLOS flights, 2019 saw the team ready to work on how they could be deployed in real-world use cases. The next phase of the project saw Flylogix and the Net Zero Technology Centre working with bp to conduct the world’s first offshore methane emissions survey using a shore-operated UAV, flying several flights over the supermajor’s west of Shetland assets. Flylogix’s system consists of a fixed-wing UAV system,

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