NOFO (Norwegian Clean Seas Association for Operating Companies) operates on behalf of 30 offshore operators, establishing and managing oil spill response preparedness in Norwegian coastal and open sea regions. The organization’s total oil recovery capacity is from 100-200,000 barrels per day. From an oil spill response perspective, Norway’s waters, with their cold climate, icy conditions and strong currents, present technological and cost-efficiency challenges – particularly in the fjords. Such factors underlie one of NOFO’s key tasks, which is to ensure continuous improvements in oil spill response planning through technological development.
When oil spills into the sea, time is of the essence. Two tasks are of immediate importance: preventing further spillage and recovering spilled oil from the surface before it spreads too widely or sinks below the surface. DESMI’s Speed-Sweep solution is a heavy duty rubber boom recovery system designed to allow for the collection of oil at greater speeds than has previously been possible. It’s a relatively new approach that speeds up oil recovery, increases encounter rates, covers a wider area in a shorter time and provides greater flexibility in the choice of vessels to carry out the work. The system can also be retrofitted to existing oil spill recovery equipment – both DESMI’s own products and competing brands.
NOFO is no stranger to DESMI’s technologies. A strong believer in the design principles underlying Speed-Sweep, the organization has co-operated on the development of the system together with DESMI since 2010, conducting numerous tests to improve functionality and effect. In 2015, NOFO tested the DESMI Speed-Sweep system during an “Oil-on-Water” exercise, a regular event conducted jointly with the Norwegian Coastal Administration. The regular, realistic exercise involves the discharge of oil, tests a range of oil recovery systems and documents the implementation and effectiveness of oil spill response technologies and tactics.
The 2015 exercise clearly demonstrated the superior ability of the solution to keep oil within the boom system with two screens without significant loss at up to two knots of speed (Speed-Sweep is capable of up to three knots of speed when more typically configured with three screens). And it is NOFO’s confidence in this performance that has now prompted the organization to invest in a remote-controlled system including booms, boom winder and winch – its first commercial unit of the DESMI Speed-Sweep Oil Spill Response (OSR) product range. To date, in fact, DESMI’s solution is the sole oil recovery solution trialed in the exercise to be announced as an addition to NOFO’s equipment list.
“The new booms will increase the speed of NOFO’s conventional recovery systems significantly without reducing the quantity of recovered oil emulsion,” comments Erling Habbestad, Technical Manager at NOFO. “And this will improve the efficiency of our existing oil recovery equipment, which is especially important when operating in areas where the current is strong.”
“We expect the system to be ready for use during the June 2016 Oil-on-Water exercise, giving NOFO a chance to show that the latest version of DESMI Speed-Sweep can enable the Norwegians to operate at three times the speed of their current equipment,” says DESMI’s R&D Manager for Oil Spill Response, Lars Boldt Rasmussen.