Equinor and the Helideck Certification Agency (HCA) have completed the first virtual offshore helideck inspection – a first on the UKCS and in the company.
After the onset of the pandemic last spring, Equinor began exploring digital options with the HCA.
The idea was initially driven by COVID-19 restrictions. The aim was to secure the recertification of the Mariner A helideck, avoiding any impact to offshore operations while keeping personnel levels in the field as low as possible to mitigate transmission risks.
HoloLens, the mixed reality headset, was used in this first virtual helideck inspection and certification.
Using the tool, the team offshore was guided by the onshore inspector to give full visibility on all areas of the helideck, including walkways, potential obstructions and key equipment such as the helifuel system enabling them to complete the full audit from their home office.
The visible detail provided by HoloLens, supported by technical documentation, led to the HCA issuing a full two-year recertification for the Mariner A helideck.
Arne Gürtner, senior vice president, UK and Ireland Offshore, Equinor said: “Equinor is advancing digital tools and technologies to improve safety as well as efficiency. There is great potential to advance both digital solutions and a digital mindset in support of further reductions in risk, cost and emissions. We continue to explore new ways of working, and are encouraged by suppliers and regulators, joining us in positioning the industry for the future.”
Alex Knight, managing director of Helideck Certification Agency, said “HCA has been conducting trials using virtual technology. The system requires further fine tuning and development, but the exercise with Equinor was the first time we did it for real and were able to issue a renewal certificate based on the audit evidence.”