Statoil is to station a rescue helicopter on the Heidrun platform in the Norwegian Sea as of 1 July this year.
This follows collaboration by the operators Statoil, Shell and Norsk Hydro intended to strengthen emergency response procedures in the Halten/Nordland area.
"The first step is to install a search and rescue (SAR) helicopter," says Thor Haakon Helgesen, vice president for Halten/Nordland.
In addition, the stand-by vessels and some of the lifeboats will gradually be replaced by more modern vessels. As a result of the upgrading, one of the stand-by vessels will be taken out of operation.
According to Mr Helgesen, this change has come as an answer to the companies' and the employees' wish to improve the overall emergency response procedures.
Statoil will upgrade the survival suits used during helicopter journeys. They are to be equipped with dual area beacons whose signals can be registered by the helicopter.
Arne Strand, deputy head of Statoil's offshore branch of the Norwegian Oil and Petrochemical Workers Union (Nopef), is pleased that area emergency response is being strengthened in this way. He notes that a rescue helicopter on the Heidrun field will help to reduce flying time in connection with any required emergency medical aid in the Norwegian Sea.