28 January 2015

Drills Boost Spill Preparedness and Readiness in China

The Chinese government continuously monitors and implements new laws governing oil spill response. “China’s growing environmental awareness and tighter environmental legislation has significantly increased during the past few years. This spurs responsible Chinese governmental organizations and industry players to continuously be prepared through joint exercises and drills,” says Lamor’s Linda Xu, Key Customer & Regional Manager. China’s State Oceanic Administration (SOA) South Sea Branch together with the Shenzhen Branch of China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) dedicated oil spill response department, CNOOC Offshore Environmental Services Co. Ltd (COES) organized a large scale oil drill and exercise in the eastern area of the South China Sea.

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Ongoing joint drills

The COES exercise in the South China Sea included eight individual oil related companies with over 170 personnel coupled with 16 vessels and two helicopters. Onboard one the vessels was Lamor’s Xu and Technical Engineer Kerry Wang to assist COES responders.

Lamor’s state-of-the-art Umbilical Hose Reel with Telescopic Crane Arm (LUT) was deployed successfully during the recent COES organized training. COES Engineer, Xing Chenglu stated: “The entire drill and exercise was a success. Responders were able to quickly assimilate the needed expertise and experience to operate equipment and as a team to effectively tackle the situation. Any exercise creates unforeseen challenges, and this is an excellent opportunity to learn from a controlled oil spill drill.”

“I do want to add that Lamor’s LUT system is considered as one of most advanced offshore skimmer system in China. We are very happy to work with Lamor people since they continuously show knowledge, professionalism and passion in their work ethic and the high quality products they represent, which is all very important for us,” Xing highlights.

Established in 2003, COES has worked with Lamor since its beginning in building its arsenal of oil spill recovery equipment. “COES is based in Tanggu and has subsidiaries in Suizhong, Longkou, Huizhou, Zhuhai, Shenzhen and Weizhou Island. The company organizes drills such as these frequently in order for responders to be ready and prepared for oil recovery operations,” says Xu.
“Joint drills and training such as this prepares responders for their mission, thus enhancing success in containing and recovering oil spills and reducing risks,” says Lamor’s Peter Rigby, Director China.
COES has not only organized hundreds of similar drills but has also responded to oil spills. “COES responded to Dalian oil spill and the Penglai 9-3 oil platform spill to name a couple. In these, CNOOC 252 and 253 oil spill response vessels with inbuilt Lamor Oil Recovery Systems (LORS) were deployed to respond,” says Rigby.

The LUT reach

“The telescopic crane arm can be positioned by a single operator and is built in accordance with NOFO standards that can be deployed even from below deck through a side hatch,” says Lamor’s Kerry Wang, Project Manager.
Wang explains the technical details: “The oil transfer and hydraulic hoses are connected to a manifold at the hub of the reel with pump-through swivel joints to allow the hoses to be energized continuously and at any deployed length. The LUT is powered by a hydraulic motor with hydraulically released brake. The swivel has gone through extensive EX testing in Finland at the Technical Research Center (VTT) during a four week period in + 90ºC, humidity 90 % and another test in –40 ºC for 2 days.”

Acquisitions for freezing conditions

In line with the scope of responsibility and OSR strategy, COES acquired two Lamor Arctic skimmers (LAS 125) in 2014. “The LAS 125s will be stored at Tanggu OSR base for use during the winter when temperatures drop dramatically in Bohai Bay, China Yellow Sea and China East Sea, should the need arise,” highlights Wang.
“These actions coupled with their continuous training and preparedness exercises truly show how COES is determined and dedicated to tackle oil spills. COES is committed to its mission and due to Lamor’s equipment being robust, durable, effective and ease of use, COES invests in our equipment,” says Rigby.

SOA’s responsibility

SOA is responsible for regulating the coastal zone of the People’s Republic of China. “This includes islands, internal sea, neighboring sea, contiguous zone, continental shelf, exclusive economic zones (EEZ) and other sea area under its jurisdiction,” Xu highlights.

Moreover, it is also responsible for issuing permits for sea area use such as laying of underwater cables and pipelines. Xu explains its vast scope: “It is responsible for environmental protection of the marine area and regulating pollutants, discharges into the sea and monitoring of the health of the sea areas. The agency assesses marine oil and gas exploration and developments, ocean dumping and ocean engineering projects to ensure the environmental impact is minimized and regulations are followed. The agency organizes and regulates marine scientific surveys and research activities. This can involve approving research from foreign countries or foreign nationals.”
SOA is also the law enforcement agency protecting the maritime and sea area. This involves coastal surveillance, investigation and prosecution of illegal activities. The agency also organizes basic and comprehensive survey of the maritime area to promote scientific research and understanding of the environment for protection, economic activity or conservation.

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