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    Gazprom Neft Multifunctional Drone will Replace Small Aircraft in Geological Exploration

    Gazprom Neft has successfully tested the first Russian multifunctional geological exploration aerial complex. The drone performs several types of geophysical surveys at once, which were previously carried out exclusively with the help of aviation or ground equipment. Modern equipment allows to cut costs by 2 times in comparison with manned aircraft and 50 times to accelerate the time of geological exploration compared to ground-based methods.

    The multifunctional aerospace complex is capable of conducting multilevel magnetic prospecting, shallow electrical prospecting, aerial photography, as well as monitoring field work using video in the visible spectrum and infrared range. A number of these geophysical studies were carried out for the first time in Russia using a drone. The rejection of the use of manned aircraft in the conduct of geological exploration will allow Gazprom Neft to significantly reduce the costs and time for their implementation.

    An unmanned aerial vehicle is capable of surveying areas of about 200 km 2 per day , while ground reconnaissance methods cover only 4 km 2 during the same time . The use of drones is effective in almost all climatic conditions in the regions where Gazprom Neft operates, including at air temperatures below -40 ° C, wind gusts up to 20 m / s, in rain and snow with up to 5 mm of precipitation. Surveys of remote areas using drones are carried out without direct human participation, which also increases the safety of work.

    In 2019, Gazprom Neft began using drones for multilevel magnetometric aerial photography. Large-scale tests of drones at the Salymsky-5 license area in Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug-Yugra in early 2021 proved that they are effective in other studies as well.

    The full-scale introduction of drones will reduce the cost of researching new assets, allow a wider range of geological exploration methods to be carried out from the air and obtain a full set of data for field development even in the climatic conditions of the Arctic.

    “UAVs in geological exploration are an example of breakthrough technologies that are fundamentally changing the usual work formats. They are faster, cheaper, more efficient, and more environmentally friendly at researching than other methods. Successful tests have confirmed that already now part of the exploration work can be carried out using drones. These technologies not only significantly optimize our business processes, but will also be in demand in the external market. “

    Alexey Vashkevich 

    Alexey Vashkevich Director for Technological Development, Gazprom Neft

    “The opportunity to reduce costs and improve the efficiency of geological exploration has a tremendous potential to influence the economics of projects. The use of new technologies, in the development and replication of which Gazprom Neft systematically invests, is a priority tool for increasing the speed and quality of gathering geological information for decision-making. Taking into account the increasing remoteness and inaccessibility of license areas, we already regard unmanned aerial vehicles as an integral tool for geological exploration. “

    Yuri Masalkin 

    Yuri Masalkin Director for Geological Exploration and Resource Base Development, Gazprom Neft

    Gazprom Neft develops, tests and implements many digital technologies for the first time in the oil and gas industry, this also applies to unmanned aircraft systems. The expansion of the drone’s functionality, which is now capable of performing a whole range of geological exploration studies, has given a unique synergistic effect: the time and cost of work has been reduced significantly, the accuracy of surveys has been significantly improved, and data has been collected that can significantly increase the overall efficiency of research. The project team managed not only to develop a unique technological solution, but also to create the prerequisites for its industrial implementation and replication within the Gazprom Neft perimeter.

    Andrey Belevtsev 

    Andrey Belevtsev Director for Digital Transformation, Gazprom Neft