Supported by the Government of the Khanti-Mansi Autonomous Okrug-Yugra, Gazprom Neft subsidiaries Gazpromneft-Khantos and Gazpromneft-Snabzheniye have successfully tested cargo drones in the southern section of the Priobskoye oilfield. Going forward, AI-controlled technology could take over most logistics operations at oilfields in the Okrug.
Testing involved an oil-industry team checking the functionality of an unmanned GAZelle Next Electro electric vehicle, and the possibility of this being used to address the typical transportation problems that arise in infield roads. The team involved in this experiment assessed the vehicle’s manoeuvrability, traffic safety, autonomous range, and the stability of its connection to the remote control centre. The vehicle proved its ability to independently identify obstacles and adjust its route, while also taking unforeseen limitations into account — including recording the appearance of other vehicles and pedestrians in its path, and changing its speed and direction automatically.
The unmanned vehicle proved effective in covering distances of up to 30 km, with stops en route. Speeds in testing averaged 40 kph, over total mileage of more than 90 km in unmanned mode. The electric vehicle successfully completed all tasks, in full compliance with the rules of the road, proving the potential for using unmanned GAZelle Next vehicles on infield roads throughout Gazprom Neft assets in Western Siberia.
Following testing, clarifications on further fine-tuning to improve reliability in using the electric vehicle were forwarded to its production plant, with a further round of testing expected once these have been taken into account. The first cargo drones could be used on shifts at fields in the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug as soon as 2021.
Thanks to support from the Government of the Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug-Yugra the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation had included this location in its list of areas for the pilot testing of unmanned vehicles, making it possible to run an experiment on testing innovative technology at fields throughout the region. Company subsidiary Gazpromneft-Snabzheniye’s Logistics Innovation Centre was responsible for managing the project on behalf of Gazprom Neft.