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Sharing experience from Norne operation

October 21, 1999, 10:00 CEST

Statoil's experience from two years' operation of the Norne field in the Norwegian Sea will be in focus at the Deep Offshore Technology conference this year.

The topic of this annual conference, being staged in Stavanger on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week, is faster and cheaper deep-water drilling operations and field developments. Most of the 780 delegates from 22 countries are senior executives from major international oil and contractor companies. This is the first time the conference is held in Norway.

Norne is Statoil's first production ship off Norway. An issue being highlighted at the conference, although given little attention before the field came on stream, is which forces cause damage to marine equipment when waves overflow the main deck during rough weather and sea conditions.

According to marine engineer Tone M Vestbøstad of the group's production plant and marine structures unit, the technical term for this condition is "green sea".

"The sea is either white or green," she explains. "If it's white, we're just talking about unproblematic foam. If the sea is green, however, we are faced with massive water which could cause damage to deck equipment."

In Norne's case, therefore, Statoil has chosen to reduce the number of loading and unloading operations during winter. In addition, sea barriers are being installed along the ship's sides. Experience from Norne is transferred to the Åsgard A ship, which will also be provided with wavebreakers along its sides.

Ms Vestbøstad says that through this presentation the group wants to share the learning process from Norne with the contractor industry, other oil companies and future offshore projects based on production ships as technical development concept.

"When choosing a technical development solution which involves production and operation under special and variable weather conditions, it may be useful to devote some advance attention to the design part of the concept," is the message she and her colleagues will share with the other delegates at Deep Offshore Technology.