Rutter oil spill technology may head to the Gulf of Mexico

Staff ~ The Telegram
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Rutter Inc. may send three of its oil-spill detection radar systems to the U.S. Coast Guard to assist in tracking the massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

"We're talking as much as three systems … we won't know anything for another week or two," said Fraser Edison, president of Rutter. "They're negotiating with BP."

Edison made the announcement at the NOIA conference in St. John's today and demonstrated the technology that can both detect and track oil spills at the Atlantic Canada Petroleum Show.

Rutter has sent information about its Sigma S6 radar to the U.S. Coast Guard.

"Coast guard have been back to us and talking to our people about that."

Edison said the technology will be useful when a more detailed clean-up at sea begins in the Gulf of Mexico. Right now, cleanup efforts are focusing on beaches and capturing oil from the ruptured well.

"As you get out offshore the oil breaks up and is in patches all over the place, then they're going to need the sort of equipment that we have to put on these ships."

The St. John's-based marine technology company recently completed tests of the Sigma S6 radar in Norway.

The company is working to have the technology certified under the European Maritime Safety Agency and the Norwegian Clean Seas Association.

The radar was used aboard a Statoil offshore production platform known as Troll C.

Edison said the radar proved to be effective in detecting and tracking oil spills during those trials, and in all types of weather conditions.

He said the company has also been contacted by Capt. Mark Turner who is conducting a review of the province's ability to prevent and cleanup oil spills off its shores.

"We've had to supply him with a lot of information, and I think sometime next week he wants to come and visit me and go through it."

Rutter makes ice-detection systems which are used in the Newfoundland and Labrador offshore industry.

"We have our radar technology … for ice and small targets on those rigs," said Edison. "We'll certainly will be working with them on other technologies."

Organizations: Rutter Inc., U.S. Coast Guard, BP NOIA European Maritime Safety Agency Norwegian Clean Seas Association Statoil

Geographic location: Gulf of Mexico, St. John's, Norway Newfoundland and Labrador

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