Oil spill (for illustration purposes); Source: Vissim

Vår Energi revamps oil spill detection technology on assets off Norway

Norway’s oil and gas player Vår Energi has hired Vissim, a software developer and turnkey sensor and infrastructure provider for advanced marine optimization systems, to fit a new and upgraded oil spill detection solution at its installations on the Norwegian continental shelf (NCS).

Oil spill (for illustration purposes); Source: Vissim

Thanks to the agreement with Vår Energi, Vissim will equip both the FPSO Balder and the Ringhorne processing platform with upgraded oil spill detection technology, which is cloud-based and complies with the highest IT security standards. The regulatory requirement for oil spill monitoring and detection outlines that operators should possess detection technologies that combined make them independent of weather conditions. All installations on the NCS are equipped with radar technology for vessel tracking.

Håvard Odden, director of Vissim’s North Sea operations, remarked: “We are installing a cost-effective solution, reusing hardware already installed, that significantly enhances the quality of the oil spill monitoring.”

Furthermore, the two-in-one solution from Vissim allows both vessel tracking and oil spill detection using the same radar. The company explains that one general challenge with radar-based oil spill detection systems is that the image processing technology generates false alarms which operators must monitor and respond to manually. These false alarms can be caused by heavy rain, vessel wake, and other phenomena.

“The new system has much higher sensitivity which means that it will detect smaller oil spills. It capitalizes on machine learning and artificial intelligence, which means that the amount of false alarms will drastically decrease which in turn means less stress on operators. This increases the reliability of the oil spill detection system while it also reduces operators’ costs,” added Odden.

According to Vissim, the new solution has taken 1.5 years to develop and is based on input from operators on the NCS. The radar-based solution uses upgraded image processing technology to detect even more but capitalizes on machine learning to teach the system what needs to be responded to and what should be ignored.

Regarding the Bolder X project, Vår Energi revised the previous cost estimate in September 2023 to ensure it reflects a tighter supplier market, mitigates schedule risk, and improves construction productivity. This project is still on track to come on stream in 3Q 2024. The company plans to extend the lifetime of the Balder field through the Balder X project, in a bid to extend production from the Balder hub beyond 2045.

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Meanwhile, Vår Energi is working on executing its plan for growing production to above 350,000 barrels per day by end-2025, with additional upside from taking over Neptune Energy Norway. The company is also pursuing decarbonization with offshore wind, as demonstrated by a collaboration with a consortium consisting of Odfjell Oceanwind and Source Galileo to explore opportunities for floating offshore wind through a pilot project at a field located in the Barents Sea.

In addition, the Norwegian player handed out a five-year deal to Halliburton, covering drilling services related to exploration and production drilling across its portfolio on the NCS. The firm’s drilling activities are focused around four strategic hubs in the Balder/Grane area, the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea, and the Barents Sea.

Recently, Vår Energi also hired a sixth-generation semi-submersible rig from COSL Drilling Europe for drilling operations in the Barents Sea with the aim of ramping up the search for more hydrocarbons offshore Norway.