Liquid Robotics, Schlumberger Form Joint Venture
To Deploy Wave Gliders in Oil and Gas Industry
Liquid Robotics Inc. (Sunnyvale, California) and Schlumberger (Houston, Texas) have created Liquid Robotics Oil & Gas (Houston), a joint venture to develop services for the oil and gas industry using Liquid Robotics' Wave Glider AUVs.
The companies have equal ownership of the joint venture, which was announced earlier this week. Liquid Robotics Oil & Gas will provide metrology and oceanography surveillance, containment loss detection, and subsea and broadband communications gateway services.
Liquid Robotics will provide fleets of its wave-powered Wave Gliders with relevant engineering, piloting and maintenance services, while Schlumberger will bring upstream technology and market experience, the companies said.
"We are extremely excited about the new capabilities the unique Wave Glider platform will bring to offshore exploration and production—particularly in the areas of seismic, subsea and environmental monitoring," said Ashok Belani, chief technology officer of Schlumberger.
Wave Gliders are able to operate offshore for up to a year without requiring a crew, fuel or a dedicated support vessel during their mission.
Caption: A Liquid Robotics Wave Glider conducts missions near an offshore oil platform.
Source: Liquid Robotics Inc. press release
Chinese Manned Submersible Breaks
7,000 Meters in Mariana Trench Dive
The Jiaolong, China's manned submersible, reached depths of 7,020 meters during its fourth dive into the Mariana Trench in the western Pacific Ocean last Sunday.
During the 11-hour dive, the oceanauts worked for almost three hours on the seafloor, placing markers and collecting water samples and sediments, state-run news agency Xinhua reported.
The Jiaolong had succeeded in reaching depths of 6,671 meters, 6,965 meters and 6,963 meters in its previous three dives from June 15 to 22, surpassing the record of 5,188 meters it set last July. Submersibles from Russia and Japan have reached depths of 6,000 meters.
The Jiaolong has enabled China to join the ranks of deep-sea faring countries, such as the U.S., Japan, France and Russia, according to Xinhua. Chinese officials have said the aim of the Jiaolong operation is to develop ocean-resource management and exploration.
"The breakthrough of diving deeper than 7,000 meters will enable China to conduct scientific surveys in over 99.8 percent of the world's seabed areas," said Liu Cigui, director of the State Oceanic Administration.
The submersible will attempt two more dives into the Mariana Trench and is expected to return to China in mid-July with its oceanographic mother ship Xiangyanghong 09. Each dive could last eight to 12 hours.
Caption: China's manned deep-sea submersible Jiaolong is lifted out of the water after reaching 7,020 meters beneath the sea on Sunday.
(Photo credit: Xinhua)
Source: Xinhua, State Oceanic Administration
Tritech North America Open for Business
Tritech International Ltd. (Aberdeenshire, Scotland) established last week its first overseas office, Tritech North America (Houston, Texas).
The office will offer sales and customer support services for the region, focus on developing opportunities there and work to establish closer working relationships with its original equipment manufacturer partners and customers.
Maurice Fraser has been appointed president of Tritech North America and will lead the operation.
"The North American region is already the largest of our overseas markets and we recognize the need to invest in further support and development of our key customer relationships," said Simon Beswick, managing director of Tritech. "We have seen many of our customers adopt an increasingly global approach to their businesses, and our new office will seek to reflect this."
Source: Tritech press release
US to Expand Arctic Drilling,
BSEE Tests Shell's Capping Stack
The U.S. government will announce today its Five-Year Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing program, which will include two potential lease sales in the Arctic, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said.
The five-year plan schedules Arctic lease sales in the Chukchi Sea in 2016 and the Beaufort Sea in 2017.
The government will take a "targeted leasing" approach, which aggregates information from stakeholders, the scientific community and the public to identify the size, location, and terms and conditions of sale areas, Salazar said.
As an example of this approach, Salazar cited the government's plan to continue a 25-mile buffer along the coast of the Chukchi Sea that had been excluded from leasing because it is important for Native Alaskan subsistence use.
Also this week, Shell Oil Co. (Houston, Texas) successfully deployed its proposed Arctic capping stack in Puget Sound near Everett, Washington, during two hours of compliance testing conducted by the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE).
The capping stack was deployed from the icebreaker Fennica to a depth of 200 feet, which is deeper than the proposed well sites in the Arctic. The tests confirmed the capping stack would function properly under pressures exceeding the maximum they are expected to encounter, BSEE said.
Shell's capping stack is similar to the one used to stop the oil flowing from the Macondo well after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, BSEE Director Jim Watson said earlier in June following his visit to Shell's Kulluk and Noble Discoverer rigs.
The company is also required to test its containment system under BSEE supervision. The containment system is expected to be completed, inspected and tested in July.
Shell is in the final stages of having its Arctic drilling plans approved by the U.S. government. If drilling permits are approved, Shell will maintain the capping stack in a ready-to-deploy state on the Fennica, which would be stationed roughly midway between the proposed drill sites in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas this summer.
Shell has requested approval to drill two exploratory wells in the Beaufort Sea and three in the Chukchi Sea this summer. Earlier this year, BSEE approved Shell's oil spill response plans for both seas, but Shell must still obtain approval for well-specific drilling permits before commencing operations.
Caption: BSEE Director Jim Watson visited Shell's Kulluk and Noble Discoverer in Seattle, Washington, earlier in June.
Source: Department of the Interior, BSEE press releases
Fugro Builds Metocean System for Total's Usan FPSO
Fugro GEOS (Wallingford, England) has designed and built a new environmental and marine monitoring system for Total SA's (Paris, France) newbuild Usan FPSO in Nigeria.
The real-time meteorological and marine data are provided by sensors located on a surface Wavescan buoy, together with a range of instrumentation on board the facility.
Fugro's system acquires and processes data and distributes them in real time via displays in both the radio room and the central control room on board; it also interfaces with the FPSO's distributed control system.
Real-time metocean data provided by the system include wind, temperature, humidity, pressure, cloud, visibility, precipitation and vessel motion. Sensors on the Wavescan buoy provide marine parameters such as waves, current profiles and sea temperature.
The 320-meter-long FPSO is connected to 42 wells at the Usan field, Total's second biggest project offshore Port Harcourt.
Caption: Fugro's Wavescan buoy being deployed.
Source: Fugro GEOS press release
Subsea Vision Buys Saab Seaeye ROV
Subsea Vision (Corfe Mullen, England) has taken delivery of a Cougar XT Compact ROV, manufacturer Saab Seaeye (Fareham, England) said last Friday.
The ROV, designed for working in high-current areas, will be used in the North Sea oil and gas industry. Subsea Vision will be able to use the Cougar XT Compact to service FPSOs.
Subsea Vision will be able to work for longer periods in strong tidal areas and offer larger tooling packages, such as pipe-tracking systems, and manipulator and hydraulic skids for light-class work operations, said Chris Bryant of Subsea Vision.
Bryant added that Subsea Vision's Cougar XT Compact comes with dual fiber optics that will bring greater video quality and multichannel flexibility for integrated tooling options, and a dedicated fiber-optic link for client-specific tooling.
This latest purchase adds to Subsea Vision's existing fleet of Saab Seaeye vehicles.
The Cougar XT Compact could also be used in the offshore wind and tidal markets, where strong shallow-water currents are a particular problem.
Caption: The Cougar ROV with flexible riser cleaning wire.
Source: Saab Seaeye press release
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