Lasers, sounds and bird guano

The annual cost of cleaning a helideck of built-up bird guano can cost AU$146,000 per platform

The annual cost of cleaning a helideck of built-up bird guano can cost AU$146,000 per platform

A collaborative group of businesses have developed and installed an automated laser and sound system to stop birds building up guano, or seabird excrement, on offshore oil and gas project helidecks.

Offshore installations provide birds with a perfect landing spot. However, their presence is a globally recognised problem because, if left undisturbed, guano build up can reduce the safety of helidecks and thus compromise the efficiency and safety of offshore oil and gas platforms.

“The UK CAP437 and ICAO regulations mandate a clear visibility of navigation marks and lights. Guano can obscure these markings” said Jack van Sligter, Helideck Inspector at CHC Helicopter.

According to the report Bird guano accumulations and their effect on offshore helicopter operations by the UK Civil Aviation Authority, all UK operators experience problems with birds on offshore sites. There have been cases of as much as 90 per cent coverage of an installation by guano and the annual cost of cleaning a helideck of guano can amount to €100,000 (AU$146,000) per platform.

CHC Helicopter, Bird Control Group and Total E&P Nederland (a subsidiary of the French energy company Total) worked together to build the Aerolaser Helipad automated device that combines a laser and sound to keep birds at distance from helidecks. 

The system can be configured to the specific conditions of an installation and has minimal impact on the environment and the technology used has the support of the World Wildlife Fund.

“By implementing this bird repelling system, Total is the first oil company in the world to integrate its offshore activities with nature in such a sustainable way” said Steinar Henskes, CEO of Bird Control Group.

“We are always looking to improve safety across our operations. We are proud to be the first company to install the device and we are confident it will help to improve health and safety on our platforms,” said Yvonne Hoddenbach, Manager of PR and communications for Total E&P Nederland.

Total is working with Bird Control Group to install the bird scaring system at three other locations.

Mr van Sligter said “We want to provide our crew and passengers with safe working conditions, and this includes a safe landing offshore. Pilots are glad to see actions are being taken to improve the situation.”

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