A Christmas surprise

OOC in Stavanger

Intro
Christmas Eve of 1969 should turn out to be a special one for Norway.   On this day, the Ekofisk field was discovered on the continental shelf and marked the start of an oil boom in the North Sea and the beginning of a new chapter in Norway's history. Today, the production of oil and gas in the North Sea plays a fundamental role in the Norwegian economy. But working on offshore platforms can also be dangerous. Avoiding endangering the health of employees, their safety or the environment does not only require extensive technical solutions, but also small, invisible helpers in the background.

About Aker BP

Founded in 2001, Aker BP is a Norwegian company in the oil and gas industry. In addition to the headquarters in Lysaker, the company has further branches in Trondheim, Stavanger, Oslo and Harstad and employs almost 1,400 people. With a turnover of 2.56 billion US dollars (2017), it is one of the industry's most important companies in Norway.
To the website of Aker BP
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Bigger becomes better – and OOC becomes OCC

The need for larger premises led to a desire to not only create more space, but to develop something completely new. The classic control rooms were to become a flexible "multi-purpose collaboration and interaction centre", which should completely redefine and digitise the cooperation between the staff at sea and on land. This led to the idea for the new Onshore Collaboration Centre – OCC for short.

Helpers in the background

While remaining discreetly in the background, KVM solutions played a central role in the technical redesign of the OCC and the secure and reliable connection of onshore and offshore: They are invisible to operators since the computer technology, video feeds and other applications are switched via integrated touch panels at the workplaces.

KVM solutions for the highest technical requirements

The new onshore collaboration centre had to meet extremely high and diverse technical requirements: The KVM-over-IP™ systems required 1GBit bandwidth.
In addition, the devices should be easy to implement in the video controller technology via API interface. The installation was carried out by the Norwegian company Cyviz, a global technology provider, who chose the appropriate KVM solutions from G&D.

The backbone of IT

Using KVM solutions, it is possible to remotely operate all computers located in access-secured server rooms without any latency and in real time from the OCC. Here, the video feeds of the pre-installed surveillance cameras on the drilling rigs run together and can be flexibly switched on the controller workplaces as well as on video walls. All processes shown on the huge displays, projection screens and canvases in meeting and control rooms are supported by KVM systems.
KVM technology  is practically invisible to users, but it is the backbone of the entire IT system – an invisible helper in the background.
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KVM expert Andreas Gerlach
Field Application Engineer bei G&D

High-tech by the North Sea

The new OCC in Stavanger now includes five control rooms to monitor Aker BP's five offshore platforms. Each of the collaboration rooms has four controller stations, one of which is a master console. All controller desks are equipped with multiple monitors. A high-end video wall in each room displays the video feeds from the offshore surveillance cameras. With the master console, it is possible to control the video wall, exchange video feeds and switch between servers.
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KVM-over-IP-extender lines
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Redundant Control-CenterIP Matrix System
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KVM-over-IP devices in the OCC

Focus on usability

To make the staff's working environment more user-friendly, all controller stations have been equipped with CrossDisplay-Switching and can thus be switched easily by moving the mouse. In addition, a CrossDisplay-Switching frame always indicates the currently active monitor-computer constellation. The MatrixGuard function of the ControlCenter-IP ensures the security of the entire system. With this function, extremely secure, redundant clusters can be implemented into KVM-over-IP environments.

VLAN for maximum security

The KVM infrastructure includes a total of 13 different systems. The demands on the systems are extremely high, as they must be always available, fail-safe and redundant. All of these aspects are covered by VLAN and routed networks. The system architecture is based on several independent VLANs. This way, operators from the individual control rooms are not permitted to access the servers of the adjacent control rooms or to see them at all.

Ready for the future

By building the new OCC in Stavanger, Aker BP has gained significant advantages for overall business operations, employee comfort and, above all, increased the efficiency of all processes. But the future remains exciting at Aker BP. To expand its operational excellence, the company is planning to build more collaboration centres in other locations. With a robust and highly flexible infrastructure and the best possible technology, they are ideally equipped for further growth.

History of oil and gas production in Norway

After gas deposits had already been discovered in the Netherlands in 1959, experts were certain that there must also be deposits in the North Sea. This led to the search for oil and gas off the coasts of other North Sea countries. In addition to the Netherlands, Great Britain and Denmark, Norway now also entered the ring. It quickly became clear that the countries had to clarify who was entitled to which areas. Finally, in 1963, they came to an agreement and divided the waters and the seabed according to the centreline principle. Norway thus secured the rights to an area almost as large as the entire Norwegian mainland. The first experimental wells were drilled from 1966, but it was not until three years later, on Christmas Eve 1969, that the Ekofisk field, the first commercially interesting gas deposit, was discovered. Since then, the gas and oil business has grown steadily and now accounts for almost half of Norway's exports.

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