Horizon Systems Group out of Nova Scotia, Canada, provides ice management services to a large offshore oil exploration company in the Canadian Beaufort Sea.
A Potential Problem
When Horizon Systems was looking for a weather station to support their operation in the Arctic, they knew they had a job on their hands. According to their research, most conventional systems freeze up when the temperatures hit -40 degrees C.
Ice Management Defined
Sean McDermott of Horizon explains: "Ice management is a term we coined almost 25 years ago when we were responsible for monitoring and tracking ice that might impact the safety of our operations and possibly cause us to stop drilling. In open water years (summer), this involves tracking individual ice floes using onboard radar, helicopter recon, fixed wing recon and satellite tracking."
"In winter, we need to monitor the ice type and form around us. We need to make sure that the ice is stable enough to support our on-ice activities such as building ice roads, relief well pads, evacuation shelters (in case of uncontrolled blowout) and runways."
"We tie our knowledge of the ice stability in with our weather monitoring and forecasting program. Currently, by using historical weather information, we know just what sort of wind strengths must occur to make our ice become mobile and unusable."
Orion's Heated Sensor Option Provides Solution
Research and colleagues in the industry pointed them towards Columbia Weather Systems' Orion station. With no moving parts and a heated sensor option, the Orion was well-suited to the application. "The gear arrived and was quickly installed, which was good…the wind chill was -57 degrees C," relates McDermott, in his capacity as ice advisor. "The rest of the installation was similarly easy, and the few questions we had were quickly and efficiently answered from Columbia's toll free support."
"The WeatherMaster Software is flexible, and the Weather Display is a big hit, especially with the frequent visitors to our ice office," he adds. "I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the Orion System to anyone who has a demanding application and even those who don't."
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