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Russian firms develop unmanned drones for pipeline inspection across Siberia

02nd March 2015

Tomskneft, a joint venture between Rosneft and Gazprom Neft, has started using unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) to monitor its pipeline routes and the oil and gas production assets

Tomskneft, a joint venture between Rosneft and Gazprom Neft, has started using unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) to monitor its pipeline routes and the oil and gas production assets
The aircraft is adapted to operations in Siberia and can be used at a temperature of minus 30 as well as of plus 40. Source: Rosneft

Testing of the drones has started at the Sovetskoe and Vakhskoe fields located in the Strezhevskiy District.

Given the size of the territory of Tomskneft operations and the significant length of pipelines with various purposes (about 5,000 kilometres) the use of drones will help resolve a number of issues, in particular to improve the quality of pipeline condition monitoring, to enhance reliability of pipeline operations, and to ensure detection of unauthorised access to the pipeline protection zone.

The drones use on-board photo and video survey equipment, as well as thermal-imaging technology. A drone can fly around a territory of 30 square kilometres in an hour, and an average flight lasts 2.5 hours with a cruise speed of about 70 kilometres per hour.

The aircraft is adapted to operations in Siberia and can be used at a temperature of minus 30 as well as of plus 40.

Drones can provide real-time translation of the obtained data or store it to a memory card. Operators can manually change drone trajectories or return them to a required location to take another picture of a target.

Based on the field tests results, Tomskneft specialists will decide upon the further use of these aircrafts. An experience of using drones is already available with one of the largest oil and gas production companies in Russia - Samotlorneftegas.

Tomskneft produces oil and gas in the Tomsk Region and Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Area, and holds licences for developing over 30 oil and gas fields, the largest of which is Sovetskoe.

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