The saw that can limit the scope of oil spills
On April 20, 2010, something happened that should not have occurred. The Deepwater Horizon oil platform exploded in the Gulf of Mexico and 11 people lost their lives. Thousands of tons of oil gushed into the sea and soiled the coastline of the southwestern United States. At that time, there was no saw that could cut the platform loose to stop the oil leak. The 1Diamond company wanted to do something about it.
Published 6. July 2016
The accident in the Gulf of Mexico resulted in the largest oil spill in the industry´s history. The explosion on the Deepwater Horizon platform led to oil escaping from the well for 87 days. The biggest challenge was to cut free and move the platform, so the well could be capped. Because there were no tools in existence that could accomplish the task, it took three to four months before the spill could be stopped. By then, a total of 4.9 million barrels of oil had leaked into the Gulf.
I can go so far as to say that, if the Barracuda saw had been available in 2010, a great deal of time and money could have been saved, not to mention the environmental damage would have been greatly reduced, says Harald Ramfjord, President of 1Diamond LLC and 1Diamond AS.
Barracuda – world´s best remote controlled cutting tool
In brief, Barracuda is a saw, and is a result of many years of development to create the best remote controlled cutting tool in the world. This summer, the first Barracuda saws from 1Diamond will be installed on offshore vessels, with the ability to limit damage should similarly tragic oil accidents happen again. With a saw like the Barracuda available on an offshore boat, response time is reduced significantly in the event of an accident.
– If the technology is housed on land, it can take up to 24 hours to arrive with help. If it is stored on an offshore vessel, help is suddenly only 6-8 hours away, explains Ramfjord.
Demanding industries require high tech equipment
The oil and gas industries have a goal of extracting the greatest possible amount of oil and gas, but they have not had the necessary equipment available should an accident happen. The Barracuda saw can serve both to make offshore work easier, and as a tool in an emergency situation. In the future, 1Diamond looks to space as another useful arena of application.
– Research in space also calls for cutting tools. In addition, NASA practices in water and we can contribute crucial technology there as well, says Ramfjord.
The need for a tool that can cut steel deep down on the sea floor arose at the end of the 1990´s. 1Diamond was and still is the only company that develops this type of technology, and the Barracuda saw that will be launched this summer will be able to cut down to 3000 meters.
– Imagine you are in an airplane at 10,000 feet and you need to cut a pipe that is 30 cm wide down on the ground. This is the same type of challenge as when you want to operate at a depth of 3000 meters. Imagining it this way makes it a little easier to understand the difficulties we have faced, explains Ramfjord.
Bryn Aarflot a part of the team
For 1Diamond, an American-owned company, the top priority has been solid cooperation between Bryn Aarflot and American patent engineers and offices.
– We have been able to get Bryn Aarflot to work together with our patent office in Texas. It can be challenging to get patent offices across borders to cooperate efficiently, but in our case it has functioned very well, thanks to the strong contributions from Bryn Aarflot, says Ramfjord.
Patent engineer and partner in Bryn Aarflot Jon Heggstad also praises the cooperation between 1Diamond and American patent offices.
–1Diamond has been our client for many years and it works well because we know and complement each other. To supply customers with good solutions and useful advice, it is important that the American partners know and understand the technology. The US market is important and patents have high recognition and are essential for the documentation of innovation, says Heggstad.
The key word in 1Diamonds´ work is innovation. As the sole developer of the machines they produce, legal advice is very important, not just in patent issues, but also in the launching of high tech products in a commercial market.
– Deciding which technology is fit to commercialize and which is not, is something Bryn Aarflot facilitates. They help us to clarify whether an idea has some value, or if it is something we should use less time on, explains Ramfjord.
Heggstad appreciates working on projects with solid support for taking on compelling challenges.
–It is exciting to work with creative people that don´t set limits for what is possible to achieve, says Heggstad.
The journey continues
Today, 1Diamond is ready to develop two large machines, one that will contribute to removing the large cement platforms that were installed in the North Sea many years ago. The first platform will be removed next year. The company is also developing a tool that will cut up ships that wreck at sea to allow them to be removed from the ocean floor. And Bryn Aarflot will be part of this journey as well, says Ramfjord.
– We develop technology based on needs. We know that the oil industry will explore deeper and deeper in the years to come, so we keep pace with equipment that can also prevent the huge oil spills we have seen earlier. Our journey continues, and we will continue to work together with Bryn Aarflot.