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Restrata - using data to track offshore people

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Restrata is helping oil and gas companies better track the location of staff offshore, gathering data from multiple systems and using logic to resolve conflicts in the data.

Restrata, a company with offices in London, Aberdeen and Dubai, is helping companies to keep track of people working offshore, by taking data from multiple software systems and using logic where there might be conflicts, to present a single picture of where people are.

It can be used to keep track of people during evacuations, and for other safety and management purposes.

The same technology can also be used to track assets including equipment and spares, or for tracking vehicles.

In September 2019, North Sea operator Serica Energy signed a contract to use the Restrata software on its 'Bruce' Northern North Sea offshore platform.

The software can be used to manage personnel safety and other operations, and to quickly locate people in an emergency situation. Serica's operating procedures will be integrated with the software.

Restrata had been providing emergency response support to Serica Energy over the past year, and the deal 'reinforces the relationship between the two firms,' Restrata says.

To support evacuations in real time, Restrata has a 'global command centre' in Aberdeen, launched in 2011, with a new centre opening in 2017, and another in Dubai in 2019.

The name Restrata comes from Latin 'Res' for resilient and 'Strata' meaning layers, signifying that resilience is achieved through a multiple layers approach.

Multiple data sources

The software draws data from a number of digital systems customers use which contain data about personnel location and status.

Companies can have software to manage travel and personnel logistics to the platform, then various hardware solutions to locate personnel onboard.

There are various positioning systems, including door card systems, RFID tags, and tracking via 'Bluetooth Low Energy' or BLE, usually considered better than RFID. The Restrata Platform integrates with all of these technologies and more to create a holistic picture for the client.

ATEX approved BLE locators can be installed around an offshore platform, recording data as personnel walk past them.

Some companies still have personnel tracking systems which are largely manual or isolated and the response center checks where people are via radios and telephone calls, says Botan Osman, CEO of Restrata.

The software compiles a 'single source of truth' from the various systems. If there is a conflict, i.e. the systems do not agree, then the platform resolves these conflicts automatically.

So, a location from a BLE beacon would be considered more reliable than data from a door card system, because it is possible for two people to enter the door on one person's card. A position data based on a mobile phone app needs to bear in mind that someone may have left their phone at home.

The resolution of the systems varies, with Bluetooth typically having one 'ping' a second, but door access control only recording data when someone goes through a locked door.

Ultimately, a data conflict can be sent to a human being for a decision, but this 'hardly ever happens', Mr Osman says.

Further benefits

During evacuations, the software can monitor everybody's location, useful both in ensuring that all the personnel are at the muster station, and also for looking at ways the evacuation might be improved in future.

Counting 200 people at a muster station by manually can take crucial minutes in an emergency - the software can tell you immediately who is there, but more importantly who is missing, and where they are.

It has proven very interesting analyzing evacuation data, making discoveries such that people sometimes go in the wrong direction, or walk slower in evacuations at different times of day or in different temperatures. 'If you have a history of every muster, you can learn from that,' he says.

The system could be extended, including incorporating gas sensor data to make sure people do not enter unsafe atmospheres, linking with permit to work systems to ensure people only do work they are authorized to do.

There are some issues with achieving integrations, such as hardware & software using proprietary standards, lack of communications bandwidth, but these can usually be overcome, he said.



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