Published on 16 July, 2008
In these days of historically high oil prices, new drilling rigs and locations are in high demand. Aker Solutions is building the latest-generation of semi-submersible platforms specially designed to conquer the challenges of deepwater drilling operations in harsh environments: the model H-6 drilling rigs. They include the MH DrillView™ system for optimal monitoring of the operations in action, which has integrated Milestone IP video surveillance software at its core.
The latest model, the Aker H-6e, is one of the largest drilling rigs ever, constructed by Aker Solutions in Dubai and towed to Aker Solutions' yard on the west coast of Norway. There it gets assembled in the topside facility and installed with the integrated Milestone video surveillance system with components delivered by Last Mile Communication AS.
The MH DrillView system provides a user-friendly interface for acquisition, logging, storage, distribution and display of drilling data, as well as set-up and remote control of drilling equipment. This integrates the drilling systems into one common control and monitoring centre for greater efficiency, safety and ease of use. Real-time drilling data can be shared between the driller, rig offices, shore base or other locations accessible by telecommunications.
Built-in drilling rig surveillance system
The surveillance system is interfaced to Milestone XProtect™ Enterprise software, which has been tailored by Milestone consultants to the specific Aker Solutions system use requirements. The Milestone XProtect software provides powerful management and control functions, and can also be easily made accessible to remote users over the internet or company Intranet.
Safe operation of an automated drilling system requires effective monitoring in very demanding environments. To address this, Aker Solutions installed up to 90 or more video cameras on each rig, and make the outdoor camera housings specially designed and certified for handling the harsh milieu. The stainless steel enclosures are explosion-proof.
The dome type pan/tilt/zoom camera used is very small, weighing less than 12 kilos with a sunshield: the entire unit is only 155 mm in diameter and 300 mm high, which can therefore be placed in very small areas inside the hull of the drilling rigs. The PTZ camera movement is remarkably fast at 100° per second, with endless panning. The system can also be delivered with fixed cameras, with or without zoom.
The Milestone IP video management software supports a mix of hardware models, including a dome model WV-NS202 camera from Panasonic. Other network cameras used are the Panasonic WV-NP1004 and ACTi ACM-1430 from ACTi Corporation. On drilling equipment where close-up images are required, ‘the world's smallest ATEX approved camera' (analogue) from Orlaco is used. For converting the analogue signals to IP, ACTi SED-2610 or 2120 video servers are utilised.
"The open platform architecture of the Milestone IP video management software includes rich integration capabilities, which in this case have been utilised by our own consultants to customise surveillance for the drilling rigs' demanding environments," explains Eric Fullerton, Chief Sales & Marketing Officer at Milestone Systems.
"Milestone integrations in other industries are also proving very valuable for improved safety, efficiency and operational control - such as traffic and transport, Point of Sale and people counting, ATM machines, access control, alarms, smoke detectors, lighting and building management solutions."
Safe drilling in hazardous deep waters
The MH DrillView systems with integrated Milestone IP video software have already been delivered to such customers as Maersk, Seadrill and Aker Drilling.
Aker H-6e rigs weigh 16,000 tons and can drill in water depths up to 3,000 meters deep, with a maximum drill string length of 10,000 metres. Drilling operations are mainly conducted within enclosed areas of the topside facilities for safe, year-round operations. Exposed operating and inspection areas are shielded from wind and water, and a variety of heating systems compensate for Arctic-weather conditions. The H-6e hulls provide enhanced stability, so drilling can continue in weather conditions that would require other rig designs to shut down.