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Offshore Oil & Ocean Engineering


July 2014 Issue

Offshore Spill Detection System From Intel, Moxa and Miros
Increasing demand for environmental protections has spurred the demand for oil spill detection systems. One leading system provider, Miros AS (Asker, Norway), has selected Moxa's (Brea, California) MC-5150-AC-DC series (built around advanced Intel processors) as the base platform in their advanced oil spill detection (OSD) system.

The combination of Intel processors with Moxa design and engineering has resulted in certified marine computing platforms suited for critical high-performance applications like oil spill detection systems.

Basic OSDs must integrate radar sensors, processors and advanced central controls. In Miros's system, X-band radar is used to produce sea clutter images that allow the OSD to detect distant oil spills, even in the dark, enabling skimming operations to continue around-the-clock. The base processor is the heart of an OSD system, the place where raw information from the radar is collated with information received from navigation devices such as GPS, the gyrocompass, and AIS to create an effective, valuable map that may be used to coordinate cleanup operations.

ExACT Downhole Tool Successfully Deployed Offshore
Expro (Reading, England) has successfully deployed its new design ExACT (Expro Annulus-Operated Circulating and Test Tool) in its first live offshore well. The successful operation, a tubing-conveyed perforating 'shoot and pull,' took place on the Vermillion field offshore in the Gulf of Mexico, following trial work onshore in Brazil last year.

The tool combines downhole shut-in and circulating functionality. Rated at 15,000 pounds per square inch (psi) and temperatures up to 400°F, ExACT features minimal fast-cycling to position the ball and ports in the required position, shortening times between cycles and reducing cost.

A key aspect of the tool is its flexible application to fit with a range of downhole operational conditions and objectives. During the deployment, TCP guns were fired using a pressure-activated firing system set to detonate with 2,400 psi applied annulus pressure.

Using a bespoke in-house software program, the ExACT tool was set up at surface to fully function downhole with applied annulus pressure between 1,100 and 1,400 psi, leaving the desired firing head safety margin of 1,000 psi. ExACT operated within 50 psi of calculated values in all tool positions.

Floating Harbor Transhipper to Act as Offshore Warehouse
Research underway at the Australian Maritime College at the University of Tasmania could help save billions of dollars in port infrastructure, dredging and transhipping costs.

Traditional transhipment involves an export vessel, such as a Capesize bulk carrier, mooring as close to the mining operation as its draft allows and being loaded by smaller feeder vessels. This project looks at using a floating harbor transhipper (FHT) that acts as an 'offshore warehouse' to meet the growing demands for coastal transhipment in the mining sector and commercial port operations.

Ph.D. candidates Nick Johnson and Lauchlan Clarke are working with industry partner Sea Transport Corp. (STC) to refine and test the FHT concept, which is the first of its kind in the world. The three-year project has received an $A420,000 Linkage grant from the Australian Research Council and STC.

The FHT, estimated to be worth around US$90 million, is approximately 315 meters long and features an enclosed conveyor system to facilitate the transfer of the bulk product from the feeder vessel into its own stockpile, and from this stockpile to the export vessel.

Using an enclosed conveyor system eliminates spillage and allows for dust-free transhipment, reducing impact on the surrounding environment and any nearby residential areas.

The FHT system aims to significantly reduce transhipment delays caused by inclement weather by greatly reducing the relative motions between the FHT and the feeder vessel. This is achieved by mooring the feeder vessel inside a well dock at the aft end of the FHT, rather than the side-by-side method that is typically used in traditional transhipping.

The project has potential to minimize the environmental impact of bulk product export (such as iron ore, bauxite, coal and grain) and save billions of dollars in onshore infrastructure costs thanks to offshore warehousing. It eliminates the need for major dredging and earthworks to enable access to coastal ports.

DNV GL Sets New RP on LNG Bunkering in Mideast, South Asia
DNV GL (Høvik, Norway) is launching a new Recommended Practice (RP) on LNG Bunkering in the Middle East and South Asia. The launch in Doha, Qatar, is in conjunction with Qatar's announcement that it is going to establish a strategy of supplying LNG as a marine fuel in the countries that comprise the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

'Qatar's entry as a provider of LNG for the marine industry will be a game changer, given that it is the largest single exporter of LNG globally,' said M. Shahrin Osman, DNV GL regional manager.

Throughout the last two to three years, it has become apparent that LNG will doubtless become a major shipping fuel. The milestone of 100 LNG-fueled ships either already operating or as confirmed newbuilds has already been achieved.

But the development of international standardization has lagged. The first step in addressing that gap was the ISO Committee's draft guideline on LNG Bunkering in June 2013. On the basis of the ISO principles, DNV GL has prepared an RP for LNG Bunkering that will establish guidelines and recommendations to protect people and the environment during the development and operation of the LNG bunker facilities.

DNV GL expects the market to develop and that the ship types using LNG will increase from short-sea to long-haul trade. There will also be a greater need for harmonization to ensure safety and efficiency in the bunkering process worldwide.


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