Chevron on Using Drones to Improve Oil Field Safety & Productivity (VIDEO)

In a new video by energy giant Chevron its staff discuss some of the benefits they are seeing from the company’s ongoing drone (UAS) tests in California.

The project is being conducted by the company’s Coalinga Field Operations Team at its San Joaquin Valley Business Unit (SJVBU) in California. This follows a full year of preparatory research by the Chevron Energy Technology Company (ETC), which develops and manages technology to help find and produce new reserves, and Chevron’s Upstream Workflow Transformation (UWT) teams.

UWT Operation Program Manager, Huy Thai, says staff turned to drone technology to help achieve “where we want to be at with safety and also our productivity”. Specifically, ETC and UWT wanted a better view of the SJVBU’s current processes and their teams believed the high-resolution, high-accuracy outputs that can be generated with drones could likely provide the kind of information they might use to improve these processes.

Ken Lewis, the UWT R&D Project Lead, explains the details: “The focus is to collect high resolution imagery, thermal IR data, as well as digital point clouds in order to create digital elevation maps. This information can be used to create new base maps for all our fields, along with being able to, for the first time, create thermal image maps across all our fields as well—especially in those areas where we are doing steam flooding or any other type of steam distribution systems.”

The use of drones in the oil and gas industry opens the door to “limitless” technological possibilities, adds Troy Latham, a production/thermal operations supervisor at Coalinga. “We could look at anything from pipeline inspection processes to real-time leak detection and monitoring.”

As for why the senseFly albris was chosen to be the multi-rotor drone for Chevron’s dual RGB/thermal project, Dyan Gibbens—the CEO of Trumbull Unmanned, the company that operates the project’s drones—says the albris was just the right system for the job.

“We try and start from the requirements,” Gibbens explains. “We work with our clients to understand what needs to be done, then we work backwards to sensors, and then the UAVs that house those sensors.”

Watch the full video:

Learn more about the senseFly albris.