Eight years of service on the Barents Sea have demonstrated that the ’Esvagt Aurora’ is ideally suited to working in Arctic regions. The vessel and its crew have saved lives and even extinguished a fire on land.
Norway’s oil and energy minister, Tord Lien, called it a “milestone in Norwegian oil history” when the floating platform, ’Goliat’, went into action on the Barents Sea in 2016.
It followed 30 years of gas production in the area, but the Goliat would now – as the world’s most northerly oil platform – take the first steps in oil production in a region that is both harsh and cold to work in – as well as having unique natural resources that needed protecting.
That combination called for something special, which is why the ’Esvagt Aurora’ was built. This 87-metre-long multi-purpose vessel is packed with innovative emergency response equipment for any situation imaginable. The vessel entered service in the region in August 2012 and has proven its worth from day one.
‘The Goliat field is an especially demanding workplace in many ways. It is dark for half of the year and cold for the entire year; we are a long way from anyone else and we are responsible for the safety of both people and the environment,’ says Ib Hansen, Head of Commercial for ESVAGT:
‘Those conditions place special demands on both the vessel and the crew. We have an incredibly dedicated crew that continually trains to make sure they have the best possible chance of handling any situation. The fact that they have done this to perfection for eight years demands respect,’ he says.
Safety prize for rescue
The vessel and crew have made a vital difference in real life situations on several occasions.
On a cold February morning back in 2015, an engineer fell from the semi-submersible drilling rig, ’Scarabeo 8’, into the water. Thanks to a lightning-fast rescue effort from the crew of the ’Esvagt Aurora’, the engineer was found and rescued.
This rescue feat was an important reason why ESVAGT was awarded the ENI Safety Award in 2016.
Apart from being responsible for safety and oil spill alert tasks, the ’Esvagt Aurora’ has also performed other tasks using the hose for the loading system and the vessel’s own ROV to ensure and video document that everything is in order below the surface.
Most recently, the vessel has made a somewhat unusual crucial difference on land: In October 2020, the ’Esvagt Aurora’ was on its way out of the harbour in Hammerfest when it was called upon to extinguish a fire in a turbine in the Melkøya gas production facility.
‘We hadn’t foreseen fire-fighting on land as a potential task or realistic scenario, but the fact that we could also perform this job says everything about the vessel’s capabilities and the attitude and skills of the crew on board,’ says Ib Hansen.
The ’Esvagt Aurora’ is on contract to Vår Energi in the Barents Sea until 2022.
The ’Esvagt Aurora’ was built specifically to service the Goliat field and area. The vessel, for example, has extra steel built into its bow to deal with brash ice; heating in all its ladders and escape routes to prevent people slipping as well as heat in the masts to prevent ice formation. The vessel also has an extensive array of oil spill equipment with oil recovery storage and highly complex and powerful FiFi (firefighting) equipment.
ESVAGT is a dedicated provider of safety and support at sea and services both the offshore wind industry as well as the oil & gas industry.
We service offshore wind farms and have a fleet of dedicated Service Operation Vessels (SOV), which ESVAGT pioneered in 2010. The SOVs provide accommodation for technicians, spare time facilities, offices and conference room, storage for small turbine parts, workshops, etc. The SOV offers flexible personnel and equipment transfer capabilities by either Walk-to-Work gangway system or Safe Transfer Boats.
We support the offshore Oil & Gas industries with a wide range of specialized services: Standby, Emergency Response and Rescue Vessels (ERRV), Oil spill response, Firefighting, Tanker assists, Rig moves, Supply services and Interfield transfer of cargo and personnel.
ESVAGT was founded in 1981 and has a fleet of more than 40 vessels and approximately 1100 employees offshore and onshore.