Black Elk Energy deploys sensors to enhance safety on offshore platforms during hurricane season

Source: Black Elk Energy

US independent Black Elk Energy has commenced a proactive project with ES&H Consulting & Training Group to strategically place waterproof sensors on each of its US Gulf of Mexico platforms to protect the facilities during hurricane season

The sensors emit a continuous location signal that is used as a tracking device. If the sensor becomes submerged or is damaged, as it might in hurricane conditions, the signal is then lost, suggesting damage to the structure and thus a possible environmental impact. This would alert ES&H Consulting & Training Group and Black Elk Energy to quickly investigate the incident, enabling a more effective management response. Currently, Black Elk Energy has half of the sensors deployed, with the remainder to be installed within the next 45 days. 

The units are manufactured by ESSI Corporation and utilize low earth orbit satellites (LEO) and transmit on L-band frequencies, providing excellent rain fade performance. The systems send a small data packet with location information, battery status, etc., every four hours as long as there is a clear line of sight to the sky. If no signal is received, resources can be concentrated within 4 hours’ passage of a storm. The lithium ion batteries last an entire hurricane season and are field serviceable. 

“We understand the importance of being prepared for what may come with hurricane season,” says John Hoffman, CEO of Black Elk Energy. “This new technical measure will aid in the overall tracking and management of our platforms in the Gulf. Black Elk Energy maintains an intranet site that provides a gulf-wide view of each of our platforms, which indicates a green symbol for every structure that’s operating normally.” 

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