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Offshore Oil & Ocean Engineering

2015:  JAN | FEB | MARCH

March 2015 Issue

14 Potential Lease Sales In Draft of Next OCS Program
Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell and BOEM Director Abigail Ross Hopper announced the next step in the development of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Oil and Gas Leasing Program for 2017 to 2022. The Draft Proposed Program includes 14 potential lease sales in eight planning areas: 10 sales in the Gulf of Mexico, three off the coast of Alaska, and one in a portion of the Mid- and South Atlantic.

The draft proposal includes a new approach to lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico by proposing two annual lease sales in the Western, Central, and the portion of the Eastern Gulf of Mexico not subject to Congressional moratoria. This shifts from the traditional approach of one sale in the Western and a separate sale in the Central Gulf each year.

In Alaska, one sale each in the Chukchi Sea, Beaufort Sea, and Cook Inlet areas is proposed. President Barack Obama has designated Bristol Bay and portions of the Beaufort and Chukchi Seas off limits for future oil and gas development.

The draft proposal invites public comment on one potential lease sale late in the program for a portion of the Mid- and South Atlantic OCS, which includes areas offshore Virginia, North and South Carolina and Georgia. The potential lease sale would require a 50-mile coastal buffer to minimize multiple-use conflicts.

Areas off the Pacific coast are not included in this proposal because Pacific coast states are opposed to oil and gas development in their region.

New Guide to Prevent Offshore Explosions
Lloyd’s Register’s (London, England) Guidance Notes for the Calculation of Probabilistic Explosion Loads provide recommended practices to help engineers, operators and designers define blast and explosion loads to control and mitigate risk measures in offshore operations. The new guide (www.lr.org/guidance-notes) provides information on how to establish explosion loads based on probability considerations of different operating oil and gas scenarios. To maximize safety in offshore operations, structures and equipment that could be subjected to blast pressures need to be designed for accidental blast loading. Lloyd’s Register’s approach allows for a detailed examination and assessment through a range of probabilistic risk assessment techniques, which help companies to predict possible explosion scenarios.

The Lloyd’s Register methodology can be applied to any offshore unit where gas explosion hazards are possible. It also includes special guidance on how to handle leak scenarios from LNG plants.

BMT Opens New Lab For Environmental Testing
BMT Asia Pacific (Hong Kong, China) has opened its first ever environmental testing facility in Jakarta, Indonesia. Certified to ISO 17025, the new laboratory provides high-quality technical testing services for noise, ambient air quality, water quality, toxicity and emissions for BMT’s oil and gas clients. This is particularly important in light of increasingly stringent government regulations for environmental monitoring.

Previously outsourced, these technical testing services have been brought in-house to better support BMT’s environmental assessment and consenting offering, which includes statutory compliance, environmental impact assessments and decommissioning studies.

Intertek Expands Center For Corrosion Testing Services
Intertek (London, England) has invested £1.2 million to expand its center of excellence for corrosion testing services to meet growing demand for asset life extension solutions in the oil and gas industry. The expansion, which has been driven by major new contract awards worth around £1 million, takes the total investment in the Manchester, England, site to more than £5 million since it first opened in 2008.

Originally consisting of two units with a total size of 10,000 square feet, the facility has been extended twice to meet rapidly growing demand for corrosion testing services, primarily from the oil and gas industry. Now covering 27,000 square feet, it is one of the world’s largest independent laboratories dedicated to corrosion testing.

Large-scale, bespoke test rigs can simulate specific environments and issues. The upgrade recently enabled a pilot plant-scale flow loop and full pipe section subsea simulation studies.

The site provides specialist laboratories for sour service, high pressure/high temperature, coatings and nonmetallics, chemical treatment testing and corrosion fatigue studies.

Corrosion costs the oil and gas industry $1.4 billion annually, with subsea, topsides and onshore equipment all vulnerable. Vital assets are increasingly expected to operate beyond their projected lifecycles, driving a rise in demand for corrosion testing services.

Reftrade UK to Supply NaturaLINE
Reftrade UK (Westhill, Scotland), a specialist in the sale and lease of refrigerated containers and temperature-controlled units to the offshore energy sector, has made a significant investment to upgrade its fleet with breakthrough, environmentally friendly technology.

The world’s first refrigeration system to use carbon dioxide as a natural refrigerant, NaturaLINE, has been installed in Reftrade UK’s entire fleet. The innovative system has been designed by Carrier to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and reduce the power usage of each unit.

The six-figure investment makes the company the only supplier of refrigerated containers to offer the technology.

“Reducing their carbon footprint and adopting technology that has less impact on the environment is of great importance to the oil and gas industry,” Greg Spence, managing director of Reftrade UK, said.

NaturaLINE uses two stages of compression, which improves the overall efficiency of the unit.

The technology includes a custom-designed, variable-speed drive that electronically adjusts the compressor’s speed to provide the precise amount of cooling capacity to meet demand, saving considerable energy compared to conventional units. NaturaLINE can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 28 percent, compared with other units.

2015:  JAN | FEB | MARCH

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