Bjarte Johansen is a computer scientist working for Equinor, at our Sandsli office in Bergen. At the age of 31, he’s written a doctoral thesis on automated analysis of Norwegian text, and he takes a passionate interest in how the Norwegian language is structured.
“Our language is very interesting,” he says. “For example, they don’t use the feminine class in Bergen, and they use different endings in ‘nynorsk’ (New Norwegian) compared with ‘bokmål’ (the more common written form of Norwegian). We also use different sentence structures and phrases depending on which part of Norway you are in.
“That’s why we meet some pretty unique challenges when trying to teach computers to understand what we write. So we can’t just describe the language using simple rules that the computer can apply; instead it has to learn how to interpret all the different nuances in our language.”
Developing Operational Planning Tool
Johansen is part of the development team working on Equinor’s Operational Planning Tool. On a quest for the best coffee in the building he has just escorted us around Equinor’s office at Sandsli in Bergen. After a summer of long hours spent at the office, he’s had plenty of time to locate the elusive elixir. He sips his piping hot coffee from a cup bearing the CERN logo, and explains:
“The computer works as a tool to assist users to make better decisions,” he says, and goes on to explain.
“A work order is prepared every time there is a job to be done out on the platforms, and this is given to the people who will do the actual work. Occasionally, things go wrong, and an incident report is written every time an abnormal situation occurs. The challenge with these incident reports is that they are stored in multiple systems, and even though we have routines to make sure that everyone takes note of relevant reports, there is no guarantee that this actually happens.”
Does Equinor know what Equinor knows?
“Now we have gathered all the reports in one system, and the system can say, “You really should read this report, because the last time someone did something similar, something went wrong,” he says.
While the underlying technology is advanced, Johansen himself describes it as relatively simple.
Enthusiastic platform manager
Bjørnar Skulstad is convinced that there are grounds for saying that the system that Bjarte Johansen and his team are developing, could save lives. He’s platform manager on the Oseberg platform, 63 years old, and a self-declared enthusiast of modern digital solutions.
So you believe that this expertise can be used to save lives in Equinor?”
“Yes. Without a doubt! Although that’s probably a slight exaggeration, there’s no doubt that this technology can contribute to greater safety on the platforms — and in that way it certainly can contribute to saving lives,” he says.