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October 31, 2013
Oil and Gas Industry Forecasts Increase in Robots
Oil and gas industry professionals believe that robots will be deployed at scale across the production industry in the next 15 years, according to a poll conducted at the SPE Intelligent Energy International 2013 exhibition. Ninety-five percent of participants said more robots would be deployed. The poll was conducted by BP plc (London, England).
BP is conducting three delegate polls this week. Delegates were asked to vote on whether implementing real time, big data analytics will be the next challenge for digital oilfield implementation. Another survey topic covered whether the digital generation will enable emerging technologies to optimize production and enhance safety management.

Source: BP plc press release

Tidal Turbine Generates 100 MWh of Electricity
Alstom’s (Levallois-Perret) tidal device installed at the European Marine Energy Centre (EMEC) in Orkney, Scotland, has now injected more than 100 megawatt-hours of electricity into the grid.

The tidal device is part of the ReDAPT 1 testing program, which aims at demonstrating the performance of the machine in different operational conditions. With autonomous runs without interruption, the machine is able to efficiently operate independently.

The tidal technology minimizes installation and maintenance costs. The buoyancy of the turbine enables the nacelle to be towed to and from the point of operation and attached to its preinstalled foundation. This reduces the time and costs needed to install or retrieve the turbine and avoids the need for specialist vessels and divers.

Caption: Alstom’s tidal turbine at EMEC site. (Credit: Alstom)

Source: Alstom press release

Gulf of Mexico Oil and Gas Leases to be Auctioned
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will hold the Gulf of Mexico Central Planning Area (CPA) oil and gas Lease Sale 231 in New Orleans, Louisiana, on March 19, 2014. The sale is the second CPA lease sale and the fourth overall sale under the 2012 to 2017 Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Natural Gas Leasing Program. The auction will offer 39 million acres offshore Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama, including all available unleased areas in the CPA.

Central Gulf Lease Sale 227 held last March netted $1.2 billion in bonus bids. This proposed CPA lease sale encompasses approximately 7,508 unleased blocks covering about 39.4 million acres. The blocks are located from 3 to around 230 miles offshore, in water depths ranging from 9 to more than 11,115 feet. BOEM estimates the proposed lease sale could result in the production of 1 billion barrels of oil and 4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

Caption: An offshore oil platform in the Gulf of Mexico. (Credit: Chad Teer)

Source: Bureau of Ocean Energy Management press release

Eastern Steller Sea Lion Makes a Comeback
No longer considered an endangered species, the eastern Steller sea lion population has been on the upswing the past few years, reported LiveScience. Last year, NOAA proposed removing the Steller sea lion from the list, and this week said that the species was recovering.

The eastern Steller sea lion can be found along the coast between Alaska and California. Appearing on the Endangered Species List in 1990, the Steller population had been dwindling for decades due to hunters killing the animals for their meat and hides and fishermen eliminating the sea lions to protect their catch. At the end of the 1970s, biologists estimated that the Steller's numbers were down to about 18,000. Since then, the population hit a growth rate of more than 4 percent a year, with more than 70,000 sea lions reported in 2010.

A statement from NOAA said that the agency will continue to monitor the species and work with other groups to oversee the sea lions continued health.

Caption: Steller sea lions in Alaska. (Credit: NOAA)

Source: LiveScience

Low-Oxygen Waters Linked to Extinction
When animal life first began to appear around 600 million years ago, there was a significant rise in the oxygen levels in the ocean and the atmosphere. Scientists have found a correlation between biotic events and a drop in the ocean's oxygen, reported ScienceDaily.

By studying the chemistry of rocks during a biological extinction that occurred around 93 million years ago, scientists concluded that waters low in oxygen and high in sulfides made up about 5 percent of the world's oceans at the time. Despite the researchers' numbers showing significantly less euxinia (low-oxygen, high-sulfide areas) than previous estimates, there were still repercussions for the global ocean's chemistry. The findings showed that even if only a portion of the ocean contains sulfides, there could be a major effect on the chemistry and biology of the world's oceans.

The researchers also found that during this time period the atmosphere contained high levels of carbon dioxide, further contributing to changes in the chemistry of the ocean.

The project's former advisor said that given the current rise in ocean temperatures, the results of the study could give a warning as to what could happen in the future.

Source: ScienceDaily

Caption: A deep-sea coral. (Credit: NOAA)

Sylvia Earle on Necessity of Oceans
Representing more than 140 nations, civil society groups and private sector interests, the Global Partnership for Oceans (GPO) was started by the World Bank to address threats to the health of the oceans. The Blue Ribbon Panel, comprised of 21 members elected from around the world and convened by The World Bank, was given the task of recommending priorities for GPO action that would boost the sustainable use and protection of ocean resources while considering the economic and cultural value of oceans to people worldwide. Sylvia Earle, Blue Ribbon panelist and founder, Mission Blue/Sylvia Earle Alliance, spoke to Sea Technology about the Panel's recent report.
What has been the process of putting the report together?
The global ocean community was invited to nominate and vote on individuals from government, industry, NGOs and science to serve on the Blue Ribbon Panel. From that group, 21 individuals representing a diversity of perspectives, regions, genders and sectors came together to come up with priorities and solutions for ocean action. Meetings were held in the U.S., Africa and Asia and conversations were continued extensively online as we composed and assembled a report with our suggestions. 
Was there any section of the report that was a point of contention among the panelists?
A deliberate effort was made to have a broad range of perspectives, so there naturally were vigorous discussions about priorities. We were asked to recommend guiding principles that considered livelihoods, food security, ocean health and viability when prioritizing action. Within that framework, despite differing views on the magnitude of impacts humans are having on the ocean through fishing, mining, shipping and other activities, there was consensus that human prosperity, health, security and even our very existence hinge on understanding the limits of what we can take out and put into the sea without serious negative consequences. We agreed: the ocean is in trouble, and, therefore, so are we, but it is not too late to take actions to reverse the trends now posing threats to the future of human well-being.
What are some of the recommendations from the panel?
The Blue Ribbon Panel recommends that solutions must take into account a long view of the combined social, economic and ecological issues, emphasizing public-private partnerships that are scalable, sustainable and inclusive, aimed at yielding positive outcomes in the next decade before changes become irreversible. The panel recommended five guiding principles for high-impact solutions: sustainable livelihoods, social equity and food security; healthy ocean and sustainable use of coastal resources; effective governance; long-term viability; and innovation and capacity building.

So, solutions must be aimed not only at addressing overfishing, pollution and habitat destruction, but also at finding viable economic alternatives for those engaged in practices that are doing harm. Within the five guiding principles, the panel urged that investments be made in ways that would catalyze change that could be sustained without continued economic assistance. Successful solutions must take into account careful allocation of rights and responsibilities, thoughtful design of management practices, the efficiency of markets and appropriate incentives—all within the context of maintaining or improving the health of the ocean.

For example, while aquaculture can make a contribution to meet growing markets for animal protein while providing income and other benefits, care must be taken to account for environmental factors, governance issues and who will be the true beneficiaries of investments made.

The panel recommends that the GPO lead in the establishment of global networks of expertise and research, centers-of-excellence, to help integrate knowledge concerning aquaculture, fisheries reform, combating marine pollution, conserving habitats and species, engaging in ecosystem-based management, developing and sharing the required knowledge and experience. Educational networks and shared knowledge platforms could involve the full range of partners—industry, philanthropy, government, NGOs and others—to build global capacity and scholarship on the significant challenges that face ocean ecosystems—and humankind. The full report can be accessed at the GPO's website.
How will the recommendations in the report be implemented?
The recommendations have been designed to help the World Bank and the Global Partnership for the Oceans, or any institution investing in the ocean, achieve positive impacts and sustainable outcomes. As the Chairman of the Panel, Ove Hoegh-Guldberg noted in the report, “While there is no ‘one–size-fits-all’ approach to solving the urgent problems facing the ocean, there are solutions. Properly designed, integrated efforts can result in sustainable and shared economic development, poverty reduction and healthy ecosystems... We stand at a point in history where it is neither too late nor impossible to turn the tide to restore ocean health. A new approach, like the Global Partnership for Oceans, can bring about the transformation required to change our course.”
What do you believe is currently the most pressing issue facing the ocean?
Without question, the greatest problem facing the ocean—and therefore the future of humankind—is complacency borne of widespread ignorance about the importance of the ocean to the economy, health, security and very existence of every human being, past, present and future. Many think of the ocean as a source of food, minerals, oil and gas, transportation, or a source of pleasurable sailing, swimming or diving. Others regard the ocean as the best place to discard toxins, wastes and other unwanted substances. In reality, the most important thing we extract from the ocean is our existence. The most important thing we can put into it is a concerted effort to explore, understand and care for the living ocean systems that make our lives possible. Now we know what was impossible to see half a century ago when many thought the ocean was too big to fail. Now we know: the ocean is in trouble, and, therefore, so are we.
How can the average person help to preserve the health of the ocean?
First, look in the mirror. Think of your personal power. Are you a teacher? A lawyer? An engineer? A government official? A corporate leader? A parent? A child?

Do you have a way with numbers, with words, with art, with music, with humor? Use your power—everyone has some—to create greater awareness about the importance of the ocean.

Be informed! Realize that the ocean governs climate and weather, regulates planetary temperature, holds 97 percent of Earth’s water, generates most of the oxygen in the atmosphere, provides life support for all living things, ourselves included. Be aware! More than half of the coral reefs and forests of kelp have disappeared or declined since the middle of the 20th century. Many marine mammals, birds and fish have declined by 90 percent or more, owing to human actions. Consider what the numbers will be in another half century if present trends continue.

Take a child to a river and ask him or her to imagine where it goes.  Take a child to the ocean and ask him or her to imagine what lives in the great depths below. In a restaurant or supermarket, take stock of the wildlife offered there, the tunas, swordfish, orange roughy, lobsters, oysters and crabs. Ask where they came from, how old they are, and what methods were used to extract them.  Avoid consuming anything you can’t identify. Dine low on the food chain.

Make smart choices! Imagine the world fifty years from now if we—if you—continue to regard the ocean as we do today. Think about your personal choices magnified by several billion and realize that we must start somewhere at sometime with someone, and it might as well be you. Treat the ocean as if your life depends on it, because it does.

Caption: A floating village in the South China Sea. (Credit: Jack London)

Buyers Guide Changes
Alert—If your company is listed in the Buyers Guide, we will no longer snail-mail listing forms. Listing forms have been sent electronically to the e-mail contact we have on file. If you would like a new listing in the Buyers Guide, you may go to our website,, and click on the Company Listing Form in the drop box under the Buyers Guide tab at the top.

Help Us Celebrate 50 Years of Oceanography:
Share Your Memories With Sea Technology

In honor of our 50th anniversary, which we're celebrating all year long, we would like to hear your thoughts on the most historic moments at your company and/or industry in the past five decades. Send your memorable moments to us here.

We'll sift through your submissions for our timeline feature, which will run monthly this year to illuminate highlights in oceanography. We look forward to sharing your big moments as we celebrate our industry together.

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