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Investing in new control system technology

October 6, 2005, 10:45 CEST

A new solution for testing control systems on ships and offshore systems which offers improved safety, enhanced efficiency and lower costs is being backed by Statoil Innovation.

The CyberSea Simulator developed by Marine Cybernetics makes it possible to devise possible errors and operating problems by plugging a simulator device into the control hardware.

That in turn allows the system to be tested while the ship or installation is under construction or in operation.

This not only improves safety, but also reduces the time and cost of sea trials and possible disruptions during normal activity.

“We have great faith in this solution and in the company’s expertise, which is why we’re taking an equity stake,” explains Asle Jostein Hovda, investment manager for Statoil Innovation.

“The technology allows us to verify and certify both our own vessels and those we charter, improving our operational efficiency.

“We envisage this becoming a significant contribution to making future e-operation solutions possible.”

Advanced control systems are used for dynamic positioning, navigation, autopilots and crane operations, and are becoming increasingly important on modern ships and offshore installations.

Faults in such facilities could cause collisions between vessels and installations, and hazardous conditions during manoeuvring, diving, pipelaying, installation and drilling.

Statoil has been a prime mover in developing the CyberSea Simulator, and Marine Cybernetics got its first support from the group’s supplier development programme (LUP).

A frame agreement concluded by Statoil with the company this year covers safeguarding dynamic positioning systems for ships and floating offshore installations.

Other Marine Cybernetics partners are Det Norske Veritas, Norsk Hydro, the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and Innovation Norway.

Statoil Innovation is an investment company wholly-owned by Statoil ASA, which aims to commercialise technology by creating and developing new companies.

It also invests in external start-ups which support Statoil’s technological development.