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ADNOC to Use Drones in Search for New Oil and Gas Resources in Partnership with Total

First time automated seismic acquisition system has been used in the region to collect 3D seismic data

Data to be collected using several thousands of sensors deployed by air as ADNOC tests safer, faster, and more efficient acquisition of high resolution seismic images

Use of breakthrough technology demonstrates commitment to embed innovation in all operations as ADNOC responds to opportunities created by Oil and Gas 4.0.


Abu Dhabi, UAE – November 13, 2019: The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), in collaboration with France’s Total, is to deploy drones and unmanned vehicles to collect 3D seismic data as it expands its search for new oil and gas resources throughout the emirate of Abu Dhabi. It will be the first time, in the region, the technology has been used to deploy seismic sensors in the search for new oil and gas resources.

Announcing a pilot project using Total’s Multiphysics Exploration Technologies Integrated System (METIS®), the world’s first automated seismic acquisition system, ADNOC said thousands of sensors would be deployed by air using a fleet of drones. The sensors would later be retrieved by unmanned ground vehicles.

Dr Alan Nelson, Chief Technology Officer at ADNOC, said: “METIS is a ground-breaking automated technology with the potential to conduct seismic surveys in harsh environments, such as the desert, which are tough on people and equipment. The technology has been identified by us during RDPETRO 2018 and this collaboration demonstrates our commitment to using groundbreaking technologies, throughout our operations, to unlock the opportunities of the 4th industrial age.”

Khadija Al Daghar, Vice President Research and Technology Development at ADNOC, added: “The ultimate purpose of this collaboration is to be able to jointly develop a safer, faster, more efficient and cost-effective acquisition system to acquire 3D and 4D high resolution seismic images of the subsurface, which can be processed in real-time to build a clearer understanding of the subsurface, lowering geoscience and drilling uncertainties and optimizing field production.”

Following successful trials of METIS® conducted by Total in 2017 in Papua New Guinea, this new pilot project will be undertaken by ADNOC Onshore to test the versatility and upscaling ability of the system in a 36 sq. km desert environment.

“Total is focusing on innovation in seismic acquisition to minimize surface impact of petroleum activities and improve the quality of sub-surface images, while increasing our overall operational efficiency. We are proud to have this opportunity to collaborate once again with ADNOC to share advanced technological knowhow and expertise,” said Dominique Janodet, Vice President R&D of Total Exploration & Production.

“In addition, METIS® is a major technology to reduce the environmental footprint of our onshore exploration and appraisal campaigns, which is completely in line with our environmental commitments and our ambition to become the responsible energy major.”

The UAE is the world’s sixth largest oil producer, with about 96% of its reserves within the emirate of Abu Dhabi. ADNOC continually works to find and develop new commercial oil and gas resources, from increasingly challenging reservoirs, to replenish its reserves base. In 2018, ADNOC commissioned the world’s largest continuous 3D onshore and offshore seismic survey, covering a combined area of up to 53,000 square kilometers.

ADNOC and Total collaborates across the full value chain, from offshore and onshore exploration, development and production, to processing, products and shipping. In March 2018, the Total was awarded a 20% interest in the offshore Umm Shaif and Nasr concession, a 5% interest in the Lower Zakum concession and, more recently, a 40% stake in Abu Dhabi’s first Unconventional Gas Concession.

Photo caption:

His Excellency Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and ADNOC Group CEO welcomes Patrick Pouyanné, Total Chairman and CEO, to the ADNOC stand at ADIPEC, where one of the Multiphysics Exploration Technologies Integrated System drones is on display.

Release Details

November 13, 2019


ADNOC is a leading diversified energy and petrochemicals group wholly owned by the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. ADNOC’s objective is to maximize the value of the Emirate’s vast hydrocarbon reserves through responsible and sustainable exploration and production to support the United Arab Emirates’ economic growth and diversification. To find out more, visit

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Philip Robinson
Manager, ADNOC External Relations
+971 (0) 50 504 4934