Oil and gas company Neptune Energy has partnered with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to use drones to measure methane emissions offshore oil and gas facilities.

A primary component of natural gas, methane is a potent greenhouse gas and must be reduced from production and throughout the gas value chain to meet the climate goals set out in the Paris Agreement.

In collaboration with airborne emissions sensing provider Scientific Aviation and UK-based drone platform provider Texo DSI, EDF will assess advanced methods for quantifying facility-level offshore methane emissions. It will also identify key sources and prioritise mitigation actions.

Neptune Energy Europe operations vice-president Pete Jones said: “Neptune Energy already has one of the lowest methane intensities in the sector, at 0.01%, compared with the industry average of 0.23%, but we want to go further and have set a target of net-zero methane emissions by 2030.

“This study will help us identify where we need to take further action and how we can apply new measurement techniques across our global operated portfolio.”

Neptune said that the drone, aircraft and methane sensing technologies will be deployed on the Cygnus platform, which is operated by Neptune, in the UK Southern North Sea.

These technologies will provide operators with a close-up operations view, which is typical of a North Sea offshore facility such as gas separation, drying and compression technology, and flaring and venting.

In order to drive research learnings and improved standards, Neptune Energy’s shareholder The Carlyle Group is supporting and observing the project.

EDF Energy senior vice-president Mark Brownstein said: “Data transparency is paramount. Having credible data is the first step and we recognise Neptune Energy for valuing emissions reporting that is based on rigorous science.”