French energy giant TotalEnergies is launching a drone-based methane emissions detection program across all its upstream oil and gas operated sites. The global campaign will use a greenhouse gas measuring technology called Airborne Ultralight Spectrometer for Environmental Applications (AUSEA) that TotalEnergies has developed in collaboration with the French National Research Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the University of Reims Champagne Ardenne.
AUSEA leverages a drone-mounted miniature dual sensor, capable of both detecting methane and carbon dioxide emissions and identifying their source. Measurements can be taken at all types of industrial facilities – whether onshore or offshore.
The company says drone inspections will supplement measurements taken using traditional techniques such as infrared cameras, ground sensors, and satellite data.
Drone-based methane emissions detection has already proven successful at test sites in Nigeria, Italy, the Republic of the Congo, and the Netherlands. A global rollout campaign is now underway with African offshore sites and South America having received the technology, which will reach Europe this summer.
Drone inspections will help TotalEnergies inch closer to its goal of reducing methane emissions by 50% at company-operated sites by 2025 and by 80% by 2030. As Namita Shah, president, OneTech of TotalEnergies, explains:
TotalEnergies is committed to moving towards Zero Methane. Considered to be currently the most accurate technology in the world to detect and measure methane emissions, AUSEA will help us to refine our emissions calculations, and to take stronger measures to reduce our emissions even further in order to achieve the targets we have set.
In the meantime, the AUSEA technology is being developed further to move from manual drones to autonomous aircraft in order to increase the frequency of methane emission measurements. This way, deployment can also be extended to the company’s other activities, including at its refineries.