Ready to respond
Every day a network of computers in a Norwegian office block receives thousands of signals emanating from deep under water. Experts analyse tiny changes in pressure and temperature in Ormen Lange’s gas and condensate operations around 120 kilometres (75 miles) out to sea. If they spot anything unusual they are ready to respond.
Kirsti Flatval leads a team of people based in Kristiansund who run the Ormen Lange deep-water gas production system off Norway’s north-west coast. Together they keep a vital source of gas, which historically has met up to 25% of the UK’s needs, running efficiently and safely.
“Our teams on site work around the clock to make operations as safe and productive as possible,” says Flatval. “Ormen Lange ran at over 99% capacity in 2015.”
Advanced monitoring software relays detailed information to shore – such as pressure and flow rates – from sensors in the production systems and wells on the sea floor. This allows teams to detect abnormalities and take immediate action, such as shutting down a well.
Detection systems below the sea’ surface monitor the pipeline and production equipment, including microphones able to pick up the sound of a gas leak and locate its source.
Teams on land watch what goes on deep below the sea on giant screens in their control rooms. Software maintenance programmes help keep everything running smoothly and efficiently.
Their approach is so effective that Shell teams from around the world come to train in Norway.
Responding to spills
In the unlikely event a spill takes place, teams are prepared to take swift action.
“We have detailed oil spill response plans for all our operations,” says emergency response specialist Silje Røsand.
Shell is a member of the Norwegian Clean Seas Association for Operating Companies (NOFO), which arranges joint spill response exercises and enables sharing of expertise and equipment.
“Working together through NOFO, under the ‘one for all, all for one’ principle, provides members with a much more robust and efficient oil spill response than would be achieved as individual companies,” says Svein Henning Lysgaard, director of operations at NOFO.
The association has access to a vast array of resources, including more than 120 response vessels, oil barriers, monitoring systems and remote sensing equipment. A task force can be mobilised and in position anywhere along the Norwegian coast within 24 hours.
More in about us
Read key facts about the Ormen Lange project and find out about its history, the technology used, and Shell’s environmental approach.
You may also be interested in
Shell has a long history of developing energy projects using its knowledge, experience and proven deep-water technologies to unlock new resources safely and efficiently. Read more about Shell’s deep-water work around the world.