The Offshore Oil and Gas was valued at £5.6 billion in 2017. Meeting the energy needs of our ever-growing population, the platforms used to support these operations are exposed to specific safety risks. For this reason, technology continues to advance to minimise the risk of injury and accident from both those on board and travelling on nearby vessels. Radar has been used at sea for over 80 years and continues to be one of the most reliable options, used alongside others such as autonomous and response monitoring systems. This blog will look at how the technology is adopted, what information it gains and how this benefits offshore oil and gas platforms.

What is radar?

The first appearance of radar was back in 1935 where a radio-based detection and ranging project was first showcased in the UK. From here, it has continued to infiltrate into many different industries but perhaps none so significantly than those at sea. Radar is a form of communication. It is used to detect the presence, direction, distance and speed of objects both within the water, in air and in space. It does this by sending out a radio signal which hits the object in question. This signal is then reflected back to the radar where it uses the relevant information received to calculate an estimate of the object.

How is it used in the offshore oil and gas industry?

Working at sea presents very unique, and very real, hazards to all involved. These include drowning, excessive vibration, excessive noise, entanglement in mooring lines and burns. Along with the demand, technology continues to develop in order to support the individuals who work here. Radar is one such way this can be done. It is in the following ways.

Storm information

The impact of severe storms can cause significant danger to those working on offshore platforms. When strong winds and the cold ocean’s surface come into contact, it causes the water to rise and bulge – putting both the individuals and the equipment found here at serious risk. Radar can be used here to send pulses of energy into the atmosphere and detect objects like rain or hail. This can then be interpreted by an expert and used to predict the impact a weather environment could cause. Precautions can then be put into place to minimise these. The information gained here is also used to safeguard the lives of those travelling to and from the platform.

Collision prevention

Offshore platforms are large. But poor visibility, either due to weather conditions or sub-par technology, increases the risk of collisions from travelling vessels. Radar can be used to detect the presence of ships that are either travelling towards or too close to the platform. With this, workers can pass messages on to those onboard, advising them of the hazard and encouraging them to move to a different location.

Risk assessment

Radar is also used to assess the purpose of vessels travelling nearby and detect danger when it exists. Using the knowledge of the ship’s location and direction of travel, workers can cross-examine this with the information they already have to discover the owner and reason for the vessel’s movements. If anything seems suspicious, the information can be fed back to on-shore teams for further assistance.

Radar is one of the most reliable and widely used forms of safety equipment onboard vessels. If you would like any more information on products that can help you benefit from its practicalities, get in contact with our team here at Pinpoint Electronics Ltd.