Eni Norge has won the 2013 Emergency Preparedness Award for Innovation and Development. The award was announced in Stavanger on Wednesday 29 May during the annual Emergency Preparedness Conference. Eni Norge receives the award in recognition of its leading role in the development of new survival suits adapted for use in the Barents Sea.
The award criteria state that the Emergency Preparedness Award for Innovation and Development shall be given to a person or organisation which displays an outstanding ability to contribute towards improved emergency preparedness and response initiatives. The award is primarily dedicated to new concepts and technical systems. Work to develop the new survival suits was headed by Eni Norge, but companies such as Dong Energy, Nexen and Total also made a contribution during the first phase of the project and thus received the award jointly with Eni Norge.
“The four companies have participated in the exemplary development of a new type of survival suit designed for operations in the southern Barents Sea”, says Ketil Karlsen, Technical Director for HSE Offshore at the trades union Industri Energi. “They have achieved this by working together in a trusting relationship with their respective employees’ organisations”, he says. “With my own experience of winter operations in the Barents Sea, and as representative of a trades union with members in this industry, it was only natural that I should nominate Eni Norge and its partners Dong Energy, Nexen and Total for this award”, says Karlsen.
Karlsen himself sits on the Programme Committee for the Emergency Preparedness Conference, and adds that the committee was unanimous in its decision.
“This is in recognition of a project into which we have put a lot of time and effort”, says Liv Nielsen, HSEQ Director at Eni Norge. “The safety of our employees always comes first, and as operator for the first oil field to come on stream in the Barents Sea it is important for us to develop tailored systems”, she adds. “The survival suits represent just one example of such solutions”, says Nielsen.
The new suits have been developed and manufactured jointly by SINTEF and Hansen Protection AS. The oil companies Total, Nexen and Dong Energy worked together with Eni Norge during the initial phase of the project. This collaboration has been vital in defining the suppliers’ requirement specifications.
“We employ a great deal of robust equipment in the North Sea, but in the Arctic we must take much lower sea and air temperatures into account”, says Nielsen. “The new suit provides better insulation against the cold, especially around the hands and feet”, she adds. “It is also equipped with LED lights which make it easier to see and be seen in the dark. Tests demonstrate that it should be possible to survive for three hours in cold water in these suits”, says Nielsen.