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Offshore Oil & Ocean Engineering


July 2013 Issue

Ballast Water System To be Retrofitted to LPG Vessel
Wärtsilä Corp. (Helsinki, Finland) will retrofit its AQUARIUS UV ballast water management system for the Marola, a 37,000-cubic-meter, fully refrigerated liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) vessel of the Carbofin S.p.A. (Genova, Italy) fleet. The retrofitting will take place in fall 2013 when the ship is dry docked.

Wärtsilä is providing engineering support, commissioning and start-up for the retrofit.

The Wärtsilä AQUARIUS UV ballast water management system allows installation for both retrofit and new-build applications. The system can be tailored to meet specific requirements, while enabling conformity with legislation and helping owners and operators to minimize their environmental footprint.

The vessel will operate in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean and South American waters.

Ratification of the IMO’s Ballast Water Management Convention is anticipated within the next year.

BSEE to Establish Ocean Energy Safety Institute
As part of U.S. President Barack Obama’s all-of-the-above approach to domestic energy development, the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) is taking steps to establish an independent Ocean Energy Safety Institute to further enhance safe and responsible operations across the offshore oil and gas industry.

The institute will provide a forum for dialogue, shared learning and cooperative research among academia, government, industry and other non-government organizations in offshore-related technologies and activities that ensure safe operations with limited impact to the environment.

The institute stems from a recommendation from the Ocean Energy Safety Advisory Committee, nongovernmental organizations and the academic community. The recommendation calls for establishing a body that will provide a program of research, technical assistance and education and serve as a center of expertise in oil and gas exploration, development and production technology.

The Institute will be a source of unbiased, independent information and will not have any regulatory authority over the offshore industry.

BSEE and USCG Sign Agreement For Regulating Offshore Drilling
The U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) and the U.S. Coast Guard signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for regulating mobile offshore drilling units (MODU) on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS). Through this agreement, both BSEE and the Coast Guard will work together to identify and coordinate responsibilities for the inspection and oversight of MODUs.

Under the current regulatory system, both the Coast Guard and BSEE share jurisdiction over the regulation of MODU activities on the OCS. This MOA ensures a comprehensive joint approach in the regulation of MODUs by clearly outlining the responsibilities of each agency for inspection and oversight of the systems and subsystems associated with MODUs engaged in offshore drilling operations. BSEE and the Coast Guard will use this MOA to better align policies and procedures while collaborating on future regulatory projects.

The MOA is implemented in accordance with an overarching Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between BSEE and the Coast Guard. The MOU outlined the efforts of the two agencies to coordinate responsibilities for regulation and enforcement on the OCS and for future agreements.

New Rules for Offshore Gas Production
Lloyd’s Register (London, England) has published a comprehensive rule set to guide the design, construction and operation of floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) facilities. The intent is to render natural gas safer and cheaper, with a lower environmental footprint.

With natural gas prices set to vary greatly between countries in the near future, FLNG is needed to supplement pipelines in the transportation of fuel. The energy industry requires more effective storage solutions as demand fluctuates.

Flexibility is also a rising concern. FLNG could offer easy transportation as well as storage and flexible supply of natural gas in an increasingly uncertain energy landscape.

Lloyd’s Register’s offshore rules for FLNG vessels and facilities are based on real-world projects and extensive work with key industry alliances.

GE Signs Agreement with PEMEX For Deepwater Exploration
GE Oil & Gas (Firenze, Italy) has signed an $84 million agreement with PEMEX (Mexico City, Mexico) to supply and install subsea wellheads for PEMEX’s deepwater and ultradeepwater drilling projects in the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf of Mexico is estimated to hold more than 50 percent of Mexico’s prospective resources. However, such reserves are located in deepwater and ultradeepwater sites, and advanced technology is needed to extract them.

GE Oil & Gas has designed high-technology subsea wellheads that provide a larger load, pressure capacity and a full-bore design. For the PEMEX project, GE will supply SMS 800 and DWHC 700 high-capacity wellheads.

Similar technology has been installed at several Mexican oil fields, including Perdido, Lakach and Kunah.

Subsea Integrity Specialist Completes UK Field Trial
Flexlife (Aberdeen, Scotland) has used its integrity monitoring technology at Chevron’s (San Ramon, California) Captain field in the North Sea.

The FlexGuard technology was tested on the 10-inch flexible riser at the Captain FPSO vessel. A bespoke FlexGuard clamp had to be designed and manufactured to fit the riser. This was installed on the riser 40 meters below the water line during the initial phase of the project.

FlexGuard is an early detection system for possible riser integrity issues, designed to provide continuous real-time data on the condition of flexible risers. With more than 3,000 risers in use globally, and the number forecasted to rise to 5,000 by 2015, there are cost savings and environmental benefits to the system, the company said.

Flexlife has developed a range of technology with the aim of reducing the risk of equipment failure.


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