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DOI Cancels Arctic Lease Sales
In light of current market conditions and low industry interest, the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) will cancel the two potential Arctic offshore lease sales scheduled under the current five-year offshore oil and gas leasing program for 2012 to 2017. This comes in the wake of Shell abandoning its Arctic drilling efforts for now. BSEE also denied requests from Shell and Statoil for lease suspensions, which would have extended the expiration date of the leases beyond their primary terms of 10 years.

Sonar, Profiler System for Turkish Research
The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey, TÜBITAK, has taken delivery of an EdgeTech 2000-DSS side scan sonar and sub-bottom profiler system. The system, supplied by MacArtney Underwater Technology, will be used on board a Turkish multipurpose vessel to study marine pollution and marine biology and explore offshore oil fields, pipeline surveys, wrecks and UXOs. The fully integrated system comes with a combined towfish, digital telemetry, and a topside processor. The vessel was already equipped with two MacArtney CORMAC Q winches and a CTD solution with sensors for conductivity, temperature, depth, PAR, dissolved oxygen, pH, and light transmission.

Exploration of 1935 US Airship Wreckage
Archaeologists from NOAA, the Naval History and Heritage Command’s Underwater Archaeology Branch, and Ocean Exploration Trust have led an exploration of the wreckage of the USS Macon. Designed for long-range scouting, the airship crashed off the coast of California in 1935 following a successful exercise over the Channel Islands. A storm led to the vessel sinking to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, causing the death of two crew members and ending the Navy’s quest to use airships as long-range scouts. The expedition’s goal was to piece together a clearer map of the wreck site and study how the remains of the airship were faring in the sea. Using the Polatrak Deep C Meter 3000, researchers found that the wreckage is corroding faster than expected.

Major Oil and Gas Companies Support Climate Agreement
The chief executive officers of 10 of the world’s largest oil and gas companies declared their collective support for an effective climate change agreement to be reached at the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Paris. The CEOs of the 10 companies in the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative (OGCI)—BG Group, BP, Eni, Pemex, Reliance Industries, Repsol, Saudi Aramco, Shell, Statoil, and Total—set out key areas of focus for their collaboration: efficiency, natural gas, long-term solutions, energy access, and partnerships and multi-stakeholder initiatives.

New Research Vessel for VIMS
JMS Naval Architects will complete the contract design package of a 93-ft. research vessel for Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) to replace their current research vessel. A solicitation will be issued to shipyards by the end of the year. The primary mission of VIMS’s fleet is to provide inshore and offshore work platforms for the support of fisheries-related oceanographic research. The new vessel will be capable of conducting fisheries assessments of greater capacity in deeper waters and with a larger science complement.

EV9 Advanced AIS Satellite Launch
exactEarth Ltd. has launched an advanced AIS satellite, exactView-9 (EV9), expanding its exactView global vessel monitoring constellation to eight in-orbit satellites. Complementing the existing polar-orbiting satellites of the exactEarth constellation, EV9 orbits around the equator every 97 min., providing expanded and detailed coverage to the busy tropical shipping regions of the world. EV9 will be supported by a network of high-data-rate Earth stations to rapidly provide data to global customers.

$7.4 Million for MHK Tech
The U.S. Department of Energy selected four entities to receive $7.4 million to spur innovation of next-generation water power component technologies for marine and hydrokinetic (MHK) systems. The projects will address challenges in advanced controls, crosscutting power take-off (PTO)—which converts mechanical motion into electrical power—and innovative structures. The selected projects will help improve the performance and reduce the cost of MHK technologies. The selected projects are: Re Vision Consulting, LLC in collaboration with Ocean Energy USA, Resolute Marine Energy, CalWave, Dresser-Rand, Navigant Consulting, and University of Michigan to develop an optimal control system that predicts ocean conditions and adjusts device settings accordingly to optimize power production for three different wave energy converter (WEC) devices; Virginia Tech in collaboration with Resolute Marine Energy, Energy Harvesting Technology, LLC, THK America, Inc., and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to develop and test a novel mechanical solution for converting AC to DC power; Dehlsen Associates, LLC in collaboration with Helios Engineering, Wedge Global, Oregon State University, Time-Variable Systems, LLC, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory to develop a linear generator capable of supplying a WEC device with power to implement advanced controls; and Pennsylvania State University in collaboration with Verdant Power to develop a low-cost, single-piece, three-blade composite turbine with integrated health management technology.

Christopher Nicholson Passes
Christopher J. Nicholson—founder and president of Deep Sea Systems, International, now Oceaneering International—passed away October 5 in his home. He was 62. An internationally recognized inventor and developer of underwater robotics, he received the National Oceanographic Institute Award from the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences in 1992. He is survived by his wife of 20 years, his daughter and two brothers.

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