Unmanned drones equipped with specialized imaging devices could monitor the general status of remote gas fields in Russia, a company said.
Anglo-Russian venture TNK-BP announced it was starting to organize a fleet of aerial drones to monitor its Samotlorskoe gas field in West Siberia.
The drones were developed especially for the company at the Space Research Center in Moscow. TNK-BP said they are equipped with digital cameras and thermal-imaging devices that can monitor the climate and other conditions at the remote site.
Sergei Zakharov, a process engineer at TNK-BP, said the testing of the drones determined them to be useful for remote monitoring.
TNK-BP, he said in a statement, is a pioneer in the use of drones as "the global market currently has neither specialists nor similar software for the aircraft serving such purposes."
TNK-BP said drones could start monitoring the West Siberian field around the clock within the next two years. To do so, the company would need six drones flying in four-hour shifts.