Home | Contact ST  


Offshore Oil & Ocean Engineering

2013:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC
2012:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC

October 2012 Issue

Shell Authorized to Proceed with Prep Activities in the Chukchi Sea
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) gave Shell Oil Co. (Houston, Texas) permission to move forward with certain limited preparatory activities in the Chukchi Sea offshore Alaska in August, including the creation of a mud-line cellar, which ensures that the blowout preventer is adequately protected below the level of the seafloor. Shell is also authorized to drill and set the first two strings of casing into shallow non-oil-bearing zones around 1,400 to 1,500 feet depth.

Shell stopped preparatory drilling in September 70 miles off the Alaska coast as a precautionary measure against encroaching sea ice, the Associated Press reported. The Noble Discoverer will continue drilling once the ice moves on.

The preparatory activities are expected to be “well short of oil-bearing zones [and] can be done safely now prior to the certification and arrival of the containment system,” BSEE Director James A. Watson said.

Shell’s applications for permits to drill into potential oil reservoirs are still under review, and Shell will not be authorized to drill in areas that could contain oil unless and until the required spill containment system is fully certified, inspected and located in the Arctic.

Under Shell’s approved Chukchi and Beaufort Sea exploration plans and oil spill response plans, Shell must receive certification of its containment system, which is designed to capture flowing liquid hydrocarbons during loss of well control, from the U.S. Coast Guard and have its vessel positioned in the Arctic before any drilling into oil-bearing zones can occur. BSEE engineers have conducted an initial inspection of Shell’s containment system, but the company has yet to secure the final Coast Guard certification. The oil spill response system involves the Arctic Challenger barge, which has not yet been federally certified.

BSEE inspectors will be present on Shell’s Noble Discoverer to provide continuous oversight and monitoring of all approved activities, and has conducted inspections of the drillship and Shell’s response equipment. There have been news reports, however, of the vessel having mooring problems.


Oil and Gas Thrives in UK, But Faces Possible Labor Shortfall
According to U.K. government statistics, oil and gas is one of the largest investors among U.K. industrial sectors, supporting about 450,000 jobs across the U.K. economy, with an estimated annual turnover of £16 billion.

Exploration and recovery of oil and gas reserves in the North Sea have created demand in the U.K. for new subsea engineering solutions to help address the challenges of safe and reliable performance in increasingly hostile and complex deepwater production projects. The experience gained from U.K. projects will enable the industry to support a vital export market by meeting similar demand in other parts of the world. The U.K. oil and gas export business is estimated at more than £5 billion a year.

Labor shortage is potentially problematic. A report from PwC in September indicated that Aberdeen, Scotland, must attract 120,000 recruits by 2022, the equivalent of the city’s workforce now, if it is to realize its potential as a global energy capital. Almost 50 percent of its workforce is more than 45 years old. 

The city should turn to highly skilled engineers with transferable skills to maintain its position at the forefront of the energy industry, Keith Lewis, managing director of the U.K. engineering recruiter Matchtech, said.


Department of Energy Grants Fugro Two Research Awards
Fugro GeoConsulting Inc. (Houston, Texas) received two research awards in August totaling $591,000 to develop plans for a pressure coring program at locations in the Walker Ridge 313 and Green Canyon 955 areas of the Gulf of Mexico, and to develop analytical techniques that help better identify the existence of methane hydrate accumulations. The research and planning will be done by gas hydrate specialists and engineers in Fugro’s Houston offices with collaboration from Fugro scientists and engineers in the Netherlands.

The first project will prepare detailed scientific and operational plans and recommendations for future offshore drilling, determining the hydrate deposit characteristics through electronic measurement and recovering samples of hydrate under pressure to study its characteristics. The second project, which will receive $147,000, will develop techniques to generate more robust and reliable information on methane hydrate accumulations, including analyzing seismic data to determine how they interact with free gas accumulations.


Gardline and Canyon Offshore Establish Strategic Alliance
Gardline Geosciences Ltd. (Great Yarmouth, England) and Canyon Offshore (Houston, Texas) established in September a three-year strategic alliance to provide seabed drilling, sampling and in-situ services to complement Gardline’s existing capability in the offshore site investigation market.

  “This agreement is a perfect synergy to enable Gardline to offer full geotechnical services in the deepwater market and to add enhanced operational performance in extreme shallow-water environments,” Eric Zon, managing director of Gardline Geosciences, said.


BG and Talisman Sign Up for Altor’s Emergency Response Hub
Altor Risk Group (Aberdeen, Scotland) will now provide crisis management facilities and services to BG Group plc’s (Reading, England) North Sea operations and Talisman Energy Inc.’s (Calgary, Canada) West Africa operations from its emergency response hub in Aberdeen.

The center, managed by crisis management and logistics specialist Andrew Couper, will provide round-the-clock support in the event of an emergency situation, including specialist responders, practical training exercises, simulations and consulting.

Global asset tracking and command, control and information management software systems will allow responders to make decisions based on real-time information and log every step of an incident to ensure lessons can be learned at every stage.


2013:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC
2012:  JAN | FEB | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUG | SEPT | OCT | NOV | DEC

-back to top-

Sea Technology is read worldwide in more than 110 countries by management, engineers, scientists and technical personnel working in industry, government and educational research institutions. Readers are involved with oceanographic research, fisheries management, offshore oil and gas exploration and production, undersea defense including antisubmarine warfare, ocean mining and commercial diving.