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AMSTERDAM, Netherlands -- Offshore installations provide birds with a perfect landing spot. However, their presence is a globally recognized problem because, if left undisturbed, guano build up can reduce the safety of helidecks. To address this, Bird Control Group, CHC Helicopter and Total E&asmp;P Nederland (a subsidiary of the French energy company Total) collaborated to develop and install an automated laser and sound system to repel birds in an animal friendly manner.
The Aerolaser Helipad is an automated device that combines laser and sound to keep birds at distance from helidecks. The system can be configured to the specific conditions of an installation and has minimal impact on the environment. Steinar Henskes, CEO of Bird Control Group, says that Total E&P Nederland shared its extensive offshore knowledge and gave financial support to his company to develop the system. "By implementing this bird repelling system, Total is the first oil company in the world to integrate its offshore activities with nature in such a sustainable way", said Mr. Henskes. The technology used for this device to repel birds has the support of the World Wildlife Fund. Total E&P Nederland chose to partner with Bird Control Group due to the group’s broad experience in bird control across the aviation sector and at industrial sites. "We are always looking to improve safety across our operations.
We are proud to be the first company to install the device and we are confident it will help to improve health and safety on our platforms," said Yvonne Hoddenbach, Manager PR & Communications of Total E&P Nederland. Total is working with Bird Control Group to install the bird scaring system at three other locations. "The UK CAP437 and ICAO regulations mandate a clear visibility of navigation marks and lights. Guano can obscure these markings", said Jack van Sligter, Helideck Inspector at CHC Helicopter. "We want to provide our crew and passengers with safe working conditions, and this includes a safe landing offshore", said Mr van Sligter. "Pilots are glad to see actions are being taken to improve the situation." According to the report “Bird guano accumulations and their effect on offshore helicopter operations" by the UK Civil Aviation Authority, all UK operators experience problems with birds on offshore sites. There have been cases of as much as 90% coverage of an installation by guano. The annual cost of cleaning a helideck of guano can amount to 100,000 Euros per platform.
OSLO, Norway -- Lack of properly assessed and defined wear limits for jacking systems can lead to significant downtimes with financial implications for jackup operations. DNV GL, supported by leading global industry players in the jackup industry, has established a joint industry project (JIP), to provide guidelines on determining relevant wear criteria for self-elevating units. The ‘Wear acceptance criteria for jacking systems’ JIP, is expected to begin early 2016 with eleven partners already confirmed. The JIP is building on a DNV GL Recommended Practice (RP) issued last year to address maintenance and inspection challenges of a jackup system. It will document relevant design arguments, considerations and calculations to enable the industry defining acceptance criteria and giving guidance on the correct assessment of jacking systems in a RP. “Defining maximum limits of wear across all parts of a jacking system is technically complex,” said Michiel van der Geest, product manager offshore classification, DNV GL – Maritime. “It not only involves the interaction of all elements of the system, including the different materials applied, but also relevant operational and maintenance strategy considerations. Incorrect or unclear assessments can increase cost and also the reliability and availability of jacking systems. By creating a clear guidance this JIP will ultimately improve asset management and reduce delays and maintenance costs. ”Several partners have expressed the need for this JIP: “There is a clear benefit in participating in this JIP, taking into consideration the need of users, class authorities, and OEM to have a common language when talking about jacking systems. The recommended practice which will be issued from this JIP will give the users confidence in long term predictive operation, supported by OEM diagnosis,” said Philippe Gadreau, Chairman and CEO of NOV-BLM. Another partner added, "Allrig is delighted to extend its participation in this next phase of the JIP and continue to share its extensive knowledge of jacking systems best practice,” said Mark Hannigan, CEO, Allrig Group. “Through collaborations of this nature the offshore industry as a whole can emerge from the downturn stronger, safer and more efficient to face the challenges of the future." Thomas Burley, CEO of David Brown Gears, commented, “David Brown Gears has received strong support from our growing customer base in the UAE to participate in the DNV GL JIP on jacking system wear criteria. We believe that the JIP offers the right forum to define best practice for the industry.” “This new JIP on wear acceptance criteria for jacking systems is the latest offspring from our successful collaborative initiatives to improve jackup operations,” added Michiel van der Geest. “We are constantly looking into improvements for the jackup industry.”Readmore
ABERDEEN, Scotland -- The confidence of North Sea oil and gas contractors is at an all-time low, according to a new industry report released by Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce (AGCC) on Thursday. Four in five contractors (79%) surveyed say they are less confident in their prospects than a year ago, compared to just one percent that are more confident. The findings, from the 23rd Oil and Gas Survey, conducted by AGCC in partnership with the Fraser of Allander Institute and sponsored by law firm Bond Dickinson, also reveal the lowest level of firms working at or above optimum levels in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) since the survey began in 2004. Just 16% of contractors report working at or above optimum levels, down from 21% in the previous survey. Confidence has not been helped by a high level of recent redundancies in the industry. Some 64% of firms have reduced their workforce in 2015 compared to just 14% who increased numbers. Response to the wave of redundancies across the sector is mixed.While over half of firms (54%) agree that redundancies were a strategic response to make the industry fit for the future, a similar percentage (58%) also believe the level of redundancies was excessive, and risks losing key skills and competitive advantage. Indeed, the most common destination of qualified staff leaving contracting companies is to leave the industry altogether (31%), followed by retirement (29%). Worryingly, 85% of respondents think the job losses will continue over the next year.
James Bream, research and policy director at Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, said, “The low confidence levels being reported come as no surprise and the outlook suggests there will be more pain ahead for the sector. However, if we are not complacent, a long-term future still exists for the sector and players such as the Oil & Gas Authority will have a major role alongside the industry itself. The fact is that the UKCS is a frontier basin and always has been. This provides a unique set of opportunities, which can continue to allow our supply chain to be active around the globe, but this success is not guaranteed.” “Unusual” issues North Sea firms responding to the survey report a range of unusual challenges that are currently posing them problems. Four in five firms (80%) says they are seeing an abnormal increase in the number of projects being cancelled.
Seventy-six percent are seeing an unusual increase in the time taken to make procurement decisions, and 45% have noticed a particular spike in late payments. In the face of this challenging economic environment, North Sea businesses are giving serious consideration to alternative revenue streams. Seventy-eight percent of all firms questioned expect to be more involved in decommissioning work in the next three to five years; two-thirds (67%) of firms expect greater involvement in unconventional oil & gas activities; and nearly half (46%) expect greater involvement in renewables work.
Firms report that the attributes most in demand over the coming three years would be decommissioning experience, followed by international experience and project management skills. Uisdean Vass, oil and gas partner at Bond Dickinson, said, "This is probably the most negative survey we have ever had and while there is little to be positive about in the short term, there are some glimmers of hope. Over the next three years 28% of contractors expect their numbers of core staff to increase. Neither contractors nor operators see the North Sea disappearing. They believe the industry can survive at $50/bbl and that there will be a price upswing over the next three years with more room for oil company profitability because of enhanced efficiency. Contractors will also benefit from enhanced efficiency. As the old saying goes, ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. Firms identified decommissioning experience as the number one skill required over the next three years which is a bitter-sweet positive. An increase in decommissioning activity will inevitably herald a decline in offshore exploration and production so in a certain sense the industry will feed on the body of infrastructure which supports it."
Other key findings from the survey include:
→ Activity levels overseas: The activity picture is slightly healthier in overseas markets, with 36% of contractors reporting working at or above optimum levels, though this is still a significant decrease from 52% in the previous survey.
→ Role of the OGA unclear: Forty seven percent of respondents don’t feel the role of the Oil & Gas Authority (OGA) has been explained well enough to them, a lack of clarity felt particularly amongst contractors. Twenty two percent of firms are not confident that the OGA has the powers it requires to protect the future of the UKCS and 62% are uncertain.
→ Training high on the agenda: Training of existing staff is the most likely route to acquire the skills needed over the coming years, cited by 58% of respondents, followed by increasing their use of contractors (37%); recruiting from other UKCS firms (27%); and recruiting from other industries (22%).Readmore