VTS & Maritime Surveillance Issues & Solutions

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Offshore Oil & Gas

The exploitation of offshore oil and gas reserves has created significant wealth and economic development for those countries that are fortunate enough to find reserves within their borders (including EEZ boundaries). However, the industry has also been the target of insurgency action, particularly where territorial claims are disputed, and therefore the appropriate protection of offshore assets is especially important. While many offshore platforms are manned, there is the issue of maintaining a safe working environment for those on board. In extreme circumstances a well may have to be shut down due to an approaching threat to its safety. On board production facilities will need to be made safe and the platform abandoned within the time available before the threat reaches the platform. In such situations, early warning is essential so that enough time is available to complete all necessary tasks before abandoning the platform. Similarly, unmanned platforms require some form of remote monitoring to protect the asset from unwanted intrusion.
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Offshore Sea Surveillance

Offshore Sea Surveillance is the deployment of VTS technology for offshore oil & gas applications. The system is used to provide early warning against the following threats to the safety and security of the offshore platform and its operating staff:
  • Collision Avoidance
  • Asset protection
  • Sub-sea Pipeline protection
  • Anti-Piracy
  • Anti-Insurgency
  • Offshore Personnel health & safety
Equipping offshore assets requires the specialist skills of industry experienced experts. Planning and preparation are the key to offshore installation and commissioning as it is not possible to quickly purchase a forgotten item from a local store if you are 50nm offshore. An effective Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) stage is essential to ensure that the installation and commissioning is carried out successfully and the offshore man hours required by contractors is minimised to avoid disruption to normal upstream operations.

Implementing the right solution

Significant risks exist within the Offshore Oil & Gas sector. Investment is expensive and providing effective security is very difficult. All operations are expensive and at a time of low oil prices, costs need to be reduced. Therefore, selecting the right sea surveillance solution can be vital to the success of a particular offshore asset. The right design of Sea Surveillance solution can help to achieve the following benefits and risk reductions for the Offshore operator.
  • Avoid vessel collisions with the platform
  • Protect pipelines from damage by anchorage
  • Alert to incoming insurgents
  • Enable timely shutdown and safe evacuation
  • Improve Operation and Logistical efficiency
  • Reduce cost of support vessels
The above factors can make a significant difference to the day to day operations of an Offshore operator in safety, security, risk reduction and operational cost reduction.