The Met Office is working in partnership with the oil and gas industry to enhance its weather forecasting, providing vital information to pilots, offshore workers and the wider marine community by launching sophisticated data network, Helimet.
Oil & Gas UK Health & Safety Director Robert Paterson says weather data reports, obtained from over 104 oil and gas platforms and mobile installations across the North Sea in real time, enable forecasters to predict and analyse weather patterns more accurately and provide bespoke forecasting advice.
Mr Paterson said:
“Helimet is an internet-based weather data network originally designed to share data between UK offshore installations and helicopter operators. This collaboration is a great example of how cutting edge data technology, driven by the oil and gas industry can be of great value to other areas.”
Helimet uses a network of automated weather stations located on offshore oil and gas platforms and mobile installations. They provide detailed reports of cloud, visibility and weather and in some instances, information on wave conditions. These data are fed into a network allowing more accurate definition of the weather across the North Sea, an area prone to adverse weather conditions.
“The safety of the offshore workforce is the absolute priority for the offshore oil and gas industry. Up to date and accurate weather forecasting allows the managers of installations in the North Sea to operate in a safe environment and the helicopter pilots to fly as safely as possible,” he added.
CHC Helicopter’s regional flight operations manager Jon Hopkinson says tracking and evaluating weather is critical to the helicopter operator’s daily operations.
Mr Hopkinson said:
“This system provides up-to-the-minute weather data. The analysis is an important part of the thorough flight planning each pilot does before every flight, across all of our UK operations.”
Met Office Metocean Advisor John Mitchell says data from Helimet makes a significant contribution to the Met Office’s ability to accurately monitor and provide weather advice.
“Accurate guidance is critical to the safe and efficient operation of not only the oil and gas industry but also the wider offshore renewables, shipping and aviation activity. In addition, coastal communities will benefit through the more accurate analysis of wave activity and potentially damaging surge events as recently experienced along the east coast of England.”