More time offSustainable development

Operations centre opened

person by Gunleiv Hadland, Norwegian Petroleum Museum
A new onshore operations centre (OOC) for the Greater Ekofisk Area (GEA) was opened on 15 December 2004 by Jim Mulva, group CEO of ConocoPhillips,
— From the planning room in the new operations centre. Photo: Unknown/ConocoPhillips
© Norsk Oljemuseum

This facility was installed in premises at the base in Tananger outside Stavanger, in the same wing as the existing offshore drilling centre (ODC).

The background was that ConocoPhillips had changed its work processes for the GEA during the 1990s with the aim of making operations more efficient.

As a first step, some platforms became unmanned and were remotely operated from other installations. But this process took a long step further forward in 2004.

That was when a number of platform functions began to be coordinated and remotely operated from the new OOC – enabled by fibreoptic cables and rapid computing advances.

Opportunities for remote operation and monitoring gradually increased as computer technology progressed. This all began in 1993 when Embla 2/7 D, the first remotely operated wellhead platform, came on stream. It was run from the Eldfisk Complex.

Ekofisk 2/4 B, originally a manned installation, was then converted in 1995 to remote operation from the neighbouring 2/4 K platform. They were only 115 metres apart and linked by a bridge.

It was Ekofisk 2/4 A’s turn to become unmanned in 1996, with remote operation from 2/4 K. The distance between these structures was much greater, at roughly five kilometres.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Ekofisknytt, no 8, “Fjernstyrt plattform: Kilo har overtatt driften av Ekofisk Alfa”, 1996.

This meant changes to the way the platform was operated, with the production process simplified, surplus equipment removed and maintenance work concentrated. Major maintenance and well work was organised as campaigns.

After the Ekofisk Complex was connected by fibreoptic cable to the Tananger operations office in 1999, opportunities for remote operation from land increased.

Also permitting greater collaboration between land and offshore, this link meant relatively large volumes of data could be transferred and general communication became more efficient.[REMOVE]Fotnote: EkofiskNytt, no 15, “Fiberkabel – nå og for framtiden”, 1999.

The next step was establishing the OOC to coordinate operations and maintenance work in the GEA. Experts on land could interact in real time with operators offshore. One benefit was to reduce flights to and from the fields.

This was expected to help extend producing life, improve production stability and increase the level of safety. ConocoPhillips therefore had plans for remote operation of more Ekofisk installation in order to move activity ashore.[REMOVE]Fotnote: Pionér, no 2, “Ekofisk 2/4 A og Embla 2/7 D styres fra land”, 2011.

More time offSustainable development
Published 20. September 2019   •   Updated 18. October 2019
© Norsk Oljemuseum
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