Oil giant Total has been collaborating to develop a new device developed to deter birds from roosting on oil platforms, reducing build up of guano – or bird poo – on helidecks.
Birds using oil platforms as convenient offshore landing spots has featured recently in Energy Voice, and while owls may provide an interesting diversion from day to day operations in the North Sea, the feathered visitors can cause nuiscance if left to their own devices.
According to a report by the UK Civil Aviation Authority, 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 droppings can amount to 100,000 Euros per platform.
Dutch firm Bird Control Group enlisted help from CHC Helicopter and Total to develop and install an automated laser and sound system to repel the birds in an animal friendly manner.
If left undisturbed, guano build up can reduce the safety of helidecks, according to Bird Control Group chief executive Steinar Henskes.
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.
Henskes said Total E&P Nederland shared its 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 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, of Total E&P Nederland.
Total plans 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,” he added. “Pilots are glad to see actions are being taken to improve the situation.”