Offshore Methane Detection: BP Invests in UAV Specialist Flylogix

Credit: BP
Credit: BP

BP, through its BP Ventures, has made a £3 million equity investment in Flylogix – an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) business that uses drones to aid methane detection in the offshore oil and gas industry sector.

The financial injection is part of a funding round led by Amati Global Investors, totaling £6 million. Flylogix combines its UAV with artificial intelligence, satellite communications and methane sensor technology, from partner SeekOps, to monitor and measure methane in remote locations.

Flylogix, which holds the UK record for the longest commercial drone flight, has worked with BP since 2018, to monitor assets across the UK North Sea. Its unmanned aircraft take measurements that verify emissions reliably and consistently, helping to validate the accurate reporting of emissions data.

BP said the investment supports its Aim 4 of installing methane measurement on all existing major oil and gas processing sites by 2023 and deliver a 50% reduction in methane intensity across its operations.

David Hayes, managing partner of BP Ventures, said: “We are investing in companies that can help us with our Net Zero ambition and aims. And Flylogix has been instrumental in how we undertake measurements of methane emissions in the North Sea. Accurate emissions measurements are the basis upon which mitigation plans are based – we look forward to continuing our partnership with Flylogix as it expands into new regions.”

Livestreamed data

During the flight, the aircraft manages itself autonomously with pilot oversight from shore. It can fly as close as 250m away from installations. Flylogix then live streams data collected by a SeekOps sensor on its wingtip to the onshore support crew – the sensor technology was originally designed by NASA for the Mars Curiosity Rover.

This technique provides BP and other operators with accurate and quantifiable emission data which can improve how that data is assessed and collated, BP said.

This method of methane monitoring supports BP and the wider industry in its efforts to monitor and drive down emissions from its operations without the need for additional people offshore and the cost and carbon emissions associated with that, BP added.

Bringing UAV Tech to New Regions

Charles Tavner, CEO of Flylogix, said: "This latest investment will help Flylogix bring our proven UAV technology to new regions and develop applications to realize the potential of unmanned aerial vehicles. It is a significant moment for the business. We see endorsement from BP as a vote of confidence and are proud to build on our existing partnership, in pursuit of net zero.”

Flylogix will leverage the funding round to expand to new geographies, including the US, Norway and Trinidad & Tobago. It will also crossover into the biodiversity and renewable energy industries, conducting wind turbine blade inspections for offshore sites.

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