Oil and gas stakeholders collaborate to repel birds from offshore installations and maintain safety.
Offshore installations provide birds with a perfect landing spot. However, their presence is a globally recognized problem because, if left undisturbed, guano build up can reduce the safety of helidecks. To address this, Bird Control Group, CHC Helicopter and Total E&P Nederland (a subsidiary of the French energy company Total) collaborated to develop and install an automated laser and sound system to repel birds in an animal friendly manner.
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.
Steinar Henskes, CEO of Bird Control Group, says that Total E&P Nederland shared its extensive 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 Mr. 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, Manager PR & Communications of Total E&P Nederland.
Total is working with Bird Control Group 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', said Mr van Sligter. 'Pilots are glad to see actions are being taken to improve the situation.'
According to the report 'Bird guano accumulations and their effect on offshore helicopter operations' by the UK Civil Aviation Authority, all UK operators experience problems with birds on offshore sites. There have been cases of as much as 90 percent coverage of an installation by guano. The annual cost of cleaning a helideck of guano can amount to 100,000 Euros per platform.