Network General Provides 'Black Box' for Oil Rig 'Flight Deck'

Network General says that National Oilwell Varco has integrated high speed data logging technology from Network General into Cyberbase, its command centre for controlling drilling machinery.

Cyberbase, which resembles the flight deck of an airliner, allows oil rig operators to take complete control of complex drilling machinery from a single chair. The introduction of Sniffer InfiniStream from Network General effectively creates a flight recorder which enables users to track back and quickly solve any operational anomalies quickly.

"Safety during drilling is always our number one concern," explains Frode Roed, senior engineer at National Oilwell Varco. "The machinery controlled by Cyberbase is safety critical and for this reason it is essential that we monitor all operations to identify any potential problems early. InfiniStream makes this possible and is key to avoiding unnecessary, and costly, halting or postponing of rig operations. Unwanted drilling events are efficiently investigated and flexible reports generated in no time as part of the system."

Cyberbase chairs provide operators with a standard series of joysticks and keypads -- the functionality of which is dynamically explained on-screen as tasks change. Key information is then relayed back to remote operation centres on the mainland.

'Real life flight integration' tests for InfiniStream were successfully completed in Spring 2006. National Oilwell Varco plans to integrate Network General's technology into all future Cyberbase chairs as well as for a large number of retrofits already in operation, worldwide.


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