Drones used to search for oil wells and unexploded shells

New York State has about 35,000 abandoned oil or gas wells, and Pennsylvania has over

600,000 of the early drilling period.In total, there are about 2 million abandoned people in the United States. These wells have many risks. They emit methane, a much more powerful greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere, as well as chemicals such as benzene, carbon tetrachloride and chloroform. Through chemical reactions caused by sunlight, methane also increases tropospheric ozone, which is believed to be a respiratory distressing pollutant.

“If all abandoned oil and gaswells in New York State would be plugged, almost 750,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide could be removed from the atmosphere, equivalent to removing all cars in Buffalo (1.1 million metropolitan area - Hi-Tech) for one year "

Timothy de Smet, Director of the Geophysics and Remote Sensing Laboratory, Binghamton University.

There are also economic reasons for shutting in wells. Left without closure, they make it difficult to re-stimulate old oil fields with new technologies such as hydraulic fracturing.

In 1879, New York State became the second state ina country that required the closure of wells at the end of their useful life. But this plugging requirement did not apply until modern regulations were adopted in the state in 1963, and what was considered a “plug” in those early days was a very crude method by modern standards.

Currently, due to the usually inaccessibilityoil wells, State Department employees have to walk to identify and close them, which is an incredibly slow and inefficient process even for a small area.

Long before the invention of satellites and GPS,locations were recorded on rough, hand-drawn maps that were often inaccurate. Sometimes these maps underestimate the location of the wells or indicate wells that have not been drilled in the end. But there are places that are not documented on the maps, therefore, it is impossible to understand where the well is located.

To find the abandoned wells, the researchers equipped the drone with a magnetometer that can detect magnetic anomalies in the metal cases of the wells, determining their location.

But before the technology unfolds in fullAs a measure, the scientists first had to do a few small tests to make sure the process worked as intended. For example, each drone has a unique magnetic and electromagnetic interference signal that must be compensated for.

Scientists have tested technology as a wayexplosive ordnance detection in Ukraine and used advanced signal processing techniques to determine the optimal parameters needed to increase the signal-to-noise ratio. In previous experiments, they also checked the flight height above the crown of the tree.

Finally, they tried a good detectingdrone in the Cattaragus County site where 11 wells were previously mapped. It worked: in just three hours, they discovered 72 more wells. In the long term, scientists plan to apply this strategy to find abandoned wells, which the national agency will then close.

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