Smarter ways to manage a giant gas plant
The Nyhamna gas processing plant on Norway’s north-west coast is the size of 100 football fields and undergoing upgrades to receive more gas. Meet the expert helping hundreds of people on site work more safety and efficiently with a tablet app, and the labour-saving robot tank inspector.
Geir Fillip Haseth is a brave man. Every day, come sun, high winds or driving rain, he sails his small boat from Fræna to work at the Nyhamna gas processing plant on the far side of the fjord.
The plant receives natural gas from the Ormen Lange deep-water field 120 kilometres (75 miles) offshore, removes impurities from it, then pipes it to the UK, where it meets around 20% of the country’s gas needs.
Haseth’s choice of transport might be traditional, but his job developing new technologies is anything but.
“We combine our knowledge of operations and technology with a natural curiosity to constantly explore more efficient ways of doing things,” he says.
The scale of the operation, which sends up to 70 million cubic metres of gas a day to the UK, demands in-depth planning to safely and efficiently manage hundreds of people working across the site. When the gas plant was being expanded to receive gas from more fields, Haseth came up with the idea of connecting teams around the site using iPads and a new app to manage the task better.
“The app provides an overview of everything happening on site and highlights any potential conflicts,” says Haseth. “Staff on site update progress in real time using their iPads, improving accuracy, efficiency and safety.”
Geir Fillip Haseth using the new app at the Nyhamna processing plant
Robot eyes and ears
Each of the 256 tanks and vessels at Nyhamna must be checked periodically for flaws including corrosion. In the past this meant sealing off and emptying tanks before engineers could safely go inside – a time-consuming process that affected productivity.
But in 2010 Shell started to work with designers at Linjebygg Offshore in Norway and German firm Wälischmiller Engineering on a new method of checking tanks.
Together, they adapted a robot to perform tank inspections. The Telbot TB 100 has a mechanical arm which holds a high-definition camera and a detailed 3D model of the tank in its memory. A long, flexible arm allows the camera to take close-ups anywhere inside the tank. Video footage is relayed back to a control centre where a human inspector looks for flaws and decides how to act. Similar robots cleared away radioactive debris after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986.
The Nyhamna inspection robot was later developed to also include cleaning of tanks and vessels.
Meet the robot inspector
Title: A ROBOT INSPECTOR
Duration: 1:20 minutes
Shell is using robotic equipment for inspection and maintenance of tanks and vessels at the Nyhamna gas plant in Norway.
A Robot Inspector
[Background music plays]
Slow, rhythmic, percussive beat.
View of craggy landscape, rising over a hill to reveal a gas plant nestled on coastal plain.
The Nyhamna gas plant, Norway.
Aerial view of gas plant with sea coastline in the background.
Overhead view looking down into gas plant site.
The plant meets around 20% of UK demand.
Ground level revolving view of tanks and vessels.
Its 256 tanks and vessels must be checked.
Worm’s-eye revolving view of gas plant structures.
Isolating tanks for engineers to safely enter takes time.
Heavy round door of tank slowly swings open.
Robotic mechanical arm with camera scanning the inside of tank, illuminated with ultra-bright floodlights.
A robot offers an answer.
Camera on mechanical arm rotates and scans inside of tank.
Close-up shot of camera on mechanical arm slowly rotating.
Its mechanical arm holds an advanced camera.
Forklift tractor conveying robotic equipment through the gas plant site.
Engineer guiding robotic equipment into position.
Robotic equipment moving into position, guided by Engineer.
Aerial view of Engineers preparing to insert robotic equipment into tank.
3 Engineers inserting robotic equipment into tank.
Once inside it sends images to a control centre.
CAD model of plant structure showing insertion position of robotic equipment.
3 Engineers in control centre viewing data on multiple screens.
Close-up shot of Engineer’s hands holding device with images from robotic camera.
Engineers see any flaws.
Engineers analysing data on screens.
Mechanical arm with four floodlights rotating and inspecting interior of tank.
In future another robot may first clean inspection spots.
Floodlit mechanical arm scanning inside of tank.
Close-up view of camera on mechanical arm rotating and scanning tank.
Robots can boost safety and cut operating costs.
A/S Norkse Shell
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.