Ethiopia to Develop Drones for Mineral Exploration, Gas Pipeline Monitoring

Ministry of Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Ministry of Science & Innovation to develop drones. The drones will be used to monitor natural gas pipelines and identify energy and mineral locations across Ethiopia.

Samuel Urgatu, Minister of Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas, said that in two years’ time, the first project on the development of drones will begin. Mr. Samuel added the technology plays a central role for the Ministry of Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas in terms of easing discoveries of mineral and petroleum reserves in complex topographies such as those covered by water bodies and mountains. Such expeditions would otherwise be unsurmountable.

The drone is developed using home grown technologies as a basis. Its flight will cover the 800 kilometers long natural gas pipeline put in place all the way from Ogaden, in Eastern Ethiopia, to Djibouti.

Once the first round of drone development is completed, the second project will continue in order to help ensure the drone can encompass the whole of the 800 kilometers long pipeline. This will be done as the drone delivers life information from its transmission. The drone will send immediate end-to-end real time security alerts to the Ministry of Mines, Petroleum and Natural Gas.

Getahun Mekuria, Minister of Science and Innovation, on his part said, “[The drone] effectively checks end-to-end gas leakage, pipeline defects and other safety related attacks.”

Drones, also called unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), were first used during the First World War. Now, drones have long surpassed from being used explicitly for military purposes and are used for businesses of all sorts: shipping and delivery, journalism and filming, geographic surveys, safety inspections, agriculture and many others.

Sources: ENA, Fana BC


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