The idea that changed everything
Leading position: The development of dynamic positioning is a story of how a good idea turned into a billion dollar industry.
Costly and hazardous
When oil was discovered in the North Sea in the 1970s tankers had to anchor using chain so they could load the oil from the platforms. This anchoring process was costly, time-consuming and, not least, hazardous. At that time, Kongsberg Maritime had already developed a system for dynamic positioning (DP), primarily used by diving vessels. However, Kongsberg Maritime was quick to realise the potential found in adapting the DP system to tankers in the North Sea and in developing a safer and more efficient system for loading oil to ship.
The company contacted shipowners and oil companies to market the potential for such an innovation. Although this was a new and radical idea, making use of new technology in a challenging environment, both shipowners and oil companies were interested.
Leading position worldwide
In close cooperation with the oil industry, Kongsberg Maritime went on to develop a system for tankers using the weathercocking principle, allowing the long tankers to maintain an optimal position in relation to wind direction and weather. Dynamic positioning has subsequently been advanced and now enjoys a leading market position for tankers loading oil offshore from production fields. It has partly resulted in a leading position worldwide for Kongsberg Maritime within dynamic positioning. One example of product innovation, where products are developed to suit new areas of application , is dynamic positioning of shuttle tankers. Moreover, the development of dynamic positioning has formed the basis for a number of other technological innovations from Kongsberg Maritime, such as subsea and satellite based reference systems.