IP Video Technology Used To Monitor Offshore Oil Drilling Rig

IndigoVision’s complete IP video technology has been used to upgrade real-time monitoring onboard the Polar Pioneer exploration rig, having passed an extensive and rigorous testing program in a harsh and challenging environment. The new IP-CCTV system monitors the platform drilling operation to ensure safe and efficient operation at all times and provides the rig with a scalable solution for future expansion.

“Using IP-CCTV technology onboard a drilling platform is a major breakthrough for us,” said Per Jogeir Karlsbakk, Fugro Oceanor’s CCTV Project Engineer. “We demonstrated that IndigoVision’s system exceeded their demanding specification and now the rig benefits from the operational flexibility that IP video delivers.”

Offshore drilling platforms have traditionally relied on analog CCTV due to the need for full frame-rate video with minimum latency. Having proved, through a successful pilot installation, that the IP video system guaranteed no dropped frames and delivered excellent quality video at very low latency, IndigoVision’s partner, Norway based Fugro Oceanor AS, deployed the system throughout the rig. The driving force behind the CCTV upgrade was the continuing problems of supporting an ageing analog system and the lack of expansion capability.

Based in the North Sea, Polar Pioneer is operated by StatoilHydro, one of the world's largest oil companies. The rig is a semi-submersible drilling platform, capable of operating in harsh environments in water depths of up to 500 meters and is able to drill to an amazing depth of 7,000 meters.

Operational running costs for a platform of this kind are high, so any downtime from technical problems is unacceptable. Reliability is therefore a fundamental requirement for the CCTV system. Unlike analog systems that use a central switching matrix, IndigoVision’s IP video solution is distributed and doesn’t have a single point of failure. Its multi-way racks that house the MPEG-4 transmitter/receiver modules have built-in redundancy with dual network connections and power supplies.

The operators use ‘Control Center’, IndigoVision’s Security Management Software, to view live video from 24 cameras around the rig. The analog cameras are fitted in specialist housings manufactured from 316L stainless steel by Fugro Oceanor and are designed to handle the harsh environment caused by corrosion, mud and oil. Many of the cameras are EX rated for use in hazardous areas. Fugro Oceanor has also developed a special cable for the harsh environment that carries power, digital video and telemetry.

“As the IP video system is distributed, video management workstations can be located anywhere on the network” Karlsbakk said. “StatoilHydro currently monitor the video from both the rig’s main surveillance centre and the drilling cabin and plan to expand the system so real-time video can be streamed to onshore surveillance centers.”


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