Hibernia Platform collision avoidance system


In the path of the annual North Atlantic iceberg migration, the Hibernia platform was built to withstand the impact of a 1-million-ton iceberg without damage. With a design capacity of 230,000 barrels of oil per day, Hibernia is a significant artic offshore development and a study in oil exploration & production under extreme conditions. For radar surveillance their supplier of choice is Kongsberg Norcontrol, with its reputation for high reliability even under extreme conditions.


The Hibernia platform is located off Canada’s east coast, on the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, situated in waters of about 80 meters.  The majority owners of the Hibernia Oil Field are ExxonMobil, Chevron and Suncor.

The Challenges

In addition to cold weather and icebergs, the Grand Banks as the foggiest place on earth; 40% fog coverage in winter and up to 84% in summer months, which greatly increases the risk of strikes from passing vessels. Yet the main danger each Spring, remains icebergs as they drift southwards along the coast of Newfoundland passing through the Hibernia oilfield. Close encounters with icebergs can force a stop in production, and bottom scouring iceberg can damage the (OLS) Offshore Loading System network of pipelines on the ocean floor.

The Solution

Hibernia’s aggressive Ice Management Strategy ensures the risk of an iceberg strike are very low. The radar tracking provided by Kongsberg Norcontrol’s C-Scope System is a critical element of this strategy, which includes ice patrols, satellite surveillance and ice-management trajectory programs.

Three radar antennas provide 360 degree all round coverage of the platform and present a composite picture on the C-Scope system. The system detects and tracks icebergs at a very early stage – the first alarm occurring at 18 nautical miles from the platform – which gives platform personnel the time to take necessary actions when a potential collision threatens the platform or the OLS.  The Kongsberg Norcontrol system is also used to monitor against incursions into the security zone by unauthorised craft such as fishing vessels, as well as track authorised vessels such as shuttle tankers and multipurpose support vessels.

Maintaining this critical safety system is of utmost importance.  Toward that end, the Hibernia Management and Development Company entered into a comprehensive maintenance support contract with Kongsberg Norcontrol, which includes a 24/7 telephone help desk.