TotalEnergies launches drone-based detection campaign for methane emissions across oil & gas assets

French energy giant TotalEnergies is working to reduce methane emissions from its operations through a drone-based detection campaign across all its operated oil and gas assets.


TotalEnergies revealed on Monday that it had launched a drone-based emissions detection and quantification campaign across all its upstream oil and gas operated sites, as part of its commitment to identify, quantify, and reduce methane emissions linked to its operations.

Based on the French player’s statement, this campaign uses AUSEA technology developed by TotalEnergies, the French National Research Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), and the University of Reims Champagne Ardenne. This energy major has been working with its partners to develop greenhouse gas quantification technology known as AUSEA (for Airborne Ultralight Spectrometer For Environmental Applications) since 2017.

Namita Shah, President, OneTech of TotalEnergies, remarked: “TotalEnergies is committed to moving towards Zero Methane. Considered to be currently the most accurate technology in the world to detect and measure methane emissions, AUSEA will help us to refine our emissions calculations, and to take stronger measures to reduce our emissions even further in order to achieve the targets we have set.”

As explained by TotalEnergies, AUSEA consists of a miniature dual-sensor mounted on a drone, capable of detecting methane and carbon dioxide emissions, while at the same time identifying their source. With this technology, measurements can be taken at all types of industrial facilities, whether onshore or offshore, since it supplements measurements taken using traditional techniques such as infrared cameras, ground sensors, and satellites.

The French giant further explains that AUSEA technology is being rolled out this year at all its operated upstream oil and gas sites, after being successfully tested at sites in Nigeria, Italy, the Republic of the Congo, and the Netherlands. TotalEnergies further elaborates that the campaign, which began in early March for African offshore sites, has now been launched in South America, and will reach Europe this summer. The energy giant sees this campaign as an important step towards achieving its emissions reduction targets.

In addition, the AUSEA technology is being further developed to move from a manual to an autonomous mode in order to increase the frequency of methane emission measurements. In line with this, the deployment of this technology will also be extended to TotalEnergies’ other activities, particularly at its refineries. 

Moreover, the French company halved its methane emissions at its operated sites between 2010 and 2020 by targeting all sources – reductions in flaring, venting, fugitive emissions, etc. – and introducing stricter design criteria for new facilities.
In line with the Glasgow agreements, TotalEnergies is setting new targets for its operated methane emissions for the current decade, including a reduction from 2020 levels of 50 per cent by 2025 and 80 per cent by 2030, while undertaking measures to keep methane intensity below 0.1 per cent across its operated gas facilities.  

Furthermore, TotalEnergies is enhancing its reporting as part of OGMP 2.0, the second phase of the United Nations Environment Programme’s Oil & Gas Methane Partnership, which outlines a reporting framework that encompasses the entire gas value chain and non-operated scope. This includes a breakdown of emissions by source, information on inventory methodologies, and the use of airborne measurement campaigns. The French energy giant is a signatory of the Methane Guiding Principles.

When it comes to TotalEnergies’ most recent activities, it is worth reminding that the company paid R$ 4.7 billion or about $947 million to Petrobras recently in relation to the 22.5 per cent share in the Atapu compensation.

Related Article