Complying with environmental regulations is critical for any company in the energy sector, but methane emissions can be a particularly tricky problem for natural gas extraction, transport and usage. As rogue methane emissions become more central to the climate change debate, gas companies will need to improve monitoring and control to continue to meet stringent local and federal regulations.
Drones can provide a cost-effective solution to this problem, allowing gas operators to stay on top of methane emissions that might otherwise go undetected. This article will discuss three key ways that drone monitoring can help natural gas companies fight climate change, save money and comply with environmental regulations.
1. Low-Cost Surveillance
Natural gas fields often cover vast distances, with large quantities of equipment spread across huge geographical areas. Surveillance over these areas can be challenging, and methane monitoring equipment tends to be costly. Installing fixed surveillance equipment across multiple sites and covering long pipelines is rarely cost-effective.
The mobile nature of drones allows operators to cover a much larger area at a much lower cost. Drone operators can monitor for methane leakage while recording footage for experts to review and analyze at a later date. This approach provides a comprehensive monitoring solution without the upfront and ongoing costs of fixed surveillance equipment.
2. Early Maintenance Warnings
Rogue methane emissions are, by definition, unintentional. Many of these emissions originate from issues with plumbing, maintenance problems, or critical failures. Relatively minor rogue methane emissions may also indicate a problem still in its early stages but which may become more severe in the future.
Drone monitoring and surveillance allow natural gas extraction and transportation companies to locate these problems before they lead to more expensive failures. Addressing these problems can help prevent major leaks with the potential to develop into significant public relations issues. Using drones to monitor a wider geographic area also provides quicker inspection times than in-person visits.
3. Quick Emergency Response Times
When an issue arises with methane leakage, time is often critical. Not only does more methane leak into the atmosphere with each passing minute and hour, but the problem may also be putting equipment or personnel at risk. Companies typically need to quickly evaluate these problems to determine an appropriate course of action.
Utilizing drones in this role allows operators to view a problem from multiple angles quickly, recording footage and data that would be impossible for individuals to collect without heavy equipment and, potentially, severe risk. As a result, operators can quickly assess a situation and respond before a small methane leak turns into a much larger emergency.
Reach out to a company such as Active Drone Solutions for more information.