The Cygnus Alpha installation, which is the largest producing gas field in the southern North Sea, has become the first ever offshore platform to be accessible via Google Street View.
The platform consists of two installations, the Alpha and Bravo, which at its peak will contribute 5% of the UK’s total gas production with an estimated production life of at least 20 years. Via Street View, virtual visitors can traverse the bridges linking the platforms and visit the complex’s helipad, control room, wellhead, accommodation, fitness area and restaurant spaces.
Although much of the platform is accessible in this format, both Neptune and Spirit noted that some areas were strictly off-limits due to issues of safety, security and confidentiality.
Tour to Make Information About Oil and Gas More Accessible
As they explore the facility, visitors have the option to learn more about the platform through virtual notes and to watch interviews of the onboard staff members such as the installation manager, lead production manager, medical team and resident chef.
A spokesperson for Neptune commented: “Our staff were fully informed in advance of the planned filming, interviews were optional and those involved were consulted in more detail about the potential personal implications of being posted on Google in perpetuity.”
According to Neptune Energy and Spirit, the tour is meant to make information about the oil and gas industry more accessible to the public. The hope is that the tour will fill knowledge gaps and improve energy literacy in the next generation.
A Neptune spokesman told Rigzone: “We believe that the current generation of school and college leavers has grown up with less visibility and understanding than their parents of where their energy comes from.
“Time and resource pressures mean that field trips to energy and other infrastructure projects are increasingly rare, while programming and content for young people has become less physical and more virtual.”