24 July 2009

Lighting Developed to Reduce Bird Strikes at Oil Platforms

A new-type of lighting friendly to migratory birds has been developed by Royal Philips Electronics and Nederlandse Aardolie Maatschappij. It radiates in "only a limited part of the colour spectrum," influencing what birds see at an oil platform.

"... under a certain combination of weather conditions many migratory birds are attracted and disoriented by traditional lighting on oil and gas platforms" according to a summary of the testing for the alternate lighting.

"The studies showed that the key to solving the problem lies mainly in the colour of the lighting currently being used on the offshore platforms. Birds are distracted predominantly by the red part of the spectrum, and much less by blue or green. Blue lighting would however mean less safe conditions for the people working on the platforms, partly because that kind of light impairs the sharpness of one’s sight. Fire extinguishers are also less clearly visible in lighting without the red part of the spectrum.

"NAM and Philips got round the table with this information and jointly set about developing a new type of light that would not distract birds whilst at the same time and will at the same time not impair safe working conditions.

"The new type of lighting has already been installed as a pilot project on one of NAM’s platforms - L15 in the Dutch part of the North Sea "

"Platform L15, just off the island of Vlieland along the Dutch coast, is the first platform in the world to be equipped with the new type of lighting. Almost all the 380 floodlights have been replaced by a mixture of new special TL and HID lamps."

Results have been promising thus far.

"During the present trial period the number of distracted birds is being counted whilst at the same time the welfare of the people working on the platform is also being studied. The trial is being carried out entirely in accordance with the regulations for safe, healthy working conditions. The platform workers are enthusiastic about the project and far fewer disoriented birds have been observed. The first scientific results will become available after the main bird migration season this autumn."

"Every year some 60 million birds migrate across the North Sea."

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