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DNV GL carries out remote crane inspection pilot programme in North Sea

Aker BP's Valhall field
Aker BP's Valhall field

A pilot project to remotely perform inspections on three of offshore cranes on the Norwegian Continental Shelf is ongoing.

As part of Aker BP’s efforts to minimise its operational carbon footprint, Norwegian-based technical adviser DNV GL is carrying out distant safety reviews of cranes in the Valhall Flank West and Skarv field, both as part of annual surveys.

Crane operators and technicians on board the platforms use tablets to take close-up video and pictures of an agreed checklist of selected safety functions.

These are then shared with DNV GL’s onshore inspectors.

On the usually unmanned Valhall Flank West platform, the one-year old box boom pedestal crane’s structural connections, critical hydraulic and electrical components, the manual overload protection system and brakes were all tested.

A similar procedure is currently being carried out on two knuckle boom cranes on a floating production, storage and offloading vessel (FPSO) in the Skarv field, Aker BP’s northernmost producing asset.

It’s hoped the ongoing pilot will fully assess how to perform key safety critical tasks remotely, without jeopardising trust and safety.

The move also reduces the need for inspectors to travel to Brønnøysund and helicopter travel to Skarv, and also allows multiple experts to connect virtually with one another.

DNV GL has undertaken more than 4,000 remote inspections for the oil and gas industry so far this year as the Covid-19 pandemic forced large parts of the world into lockdown.

This has included a marine warranty survey of a barge and platform in Senegal and material certification of subsea equipment in China.

Robert Anfinn Oftedal, head of section, cranes & lifting operations at DNV GL, said: “As with physical inspections, communication and knowledge of the equipment or system in question is vital throughout the process between each party.

“With the use of readily available, live-feed technology such as smartphones, tablet computers and digital cameras, inspections are becoming quicker, more accessible, more cost-effective and have a positive impact on minimizing carbon emissions.”

Arve Johan Kalleklev, regional manager, Norway and Eurasia, DNV GL, said: “The global pandemic has accelerated the onset of remote surveys in the industry and we are really beginning to realize the impact this technology can have in the long term.

“The ability for expert inspectors and surveyors located anywhere in the world to confidently ‘visit’ assets to verify quality and integrity in full compliance with company specifications or industry standards is very appealing to the oil and gas industry.”

Svein Harald Hetland, technical authority lifting, Aker BP, said:  “Using an Automatic Test system with a digital interface significantly reduces risk compared to manual inspections via procedures.

“The next generation of cranes will be set up with continuous monitoring systems which enables us to move into a predictive maintenance regime. The remote inspection programs will then focus on verification of the entire systems”

Ine Dolve, SVP operations & asset development, Aker BP, added: “Our operating model will use lessons learned from the pilot and scale the remote assist concept across our assets as we adapt to a new normal.”

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