Marine Technology Reporter Blogs - subsea

New Pre-salt Bidding Dependant on Industry Development

December 29, 2013

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The Brazilian Government has decided that any future bidding rounds involving pre-salt blocks will only be launched according to the local industry capability to supply the demand in equipment and services needed by the sector. Local industry has been struggling to keep up with the demand placed by O&G players already involved in pre-salt E&P in Brazil, which are all Petrobras partners, such as BG and others. A study is being done by the Brazilian government to define which is the adequate exploration rhythm for pre-salt development that will allow local industry to keep up with demand realistically. This is an important initiative by the Brazilian government because it will allow sector of local industry to develop technologies and services required by the deepwater pre-salt players.

Abrolhos Islands - Reefs, Humpback Whales and Oil

December 7, 2013

Mapa Abrolhos
Portuguese explorers were the first to arrive at the Abrolhos National Marine Park., having named the islands and sailed along the Caravelas Rivers since 1503. The name Abrolhos is short for open your eyes in Portuguese, and is an indication of the dangers to navigation in the area, which has numerous reef and rock formations just shy of the surface of the sea or even awash, and is dotted with shipwrecks. In 1987, a small remnant humpback whale population was discovered during the Marine Park’s implementation and thus Abrolhos was suggested as the species’ main “nursery” ground on the Western South Atlantic. The Humpback Whale Project was then created to promote research and protection for these mammals in Brazil.

Abrolhos Islands - Reefs, Humpback Whales and Oil

December 7, 2013

Portuguese explorers were the first to arrive at the Abrolhos National Marine Park., having named the islands and sailed along the Caravelas Rivers since 1503. The name Abrolhos is short for open your eyes in Portuguese, and is an indication of the dangers to navigation in the area, which has numerous reef and rock formations just shy of the surface of the sea or even awash, and is dotted with shipwrecks. In 1987, a small remnant humpback whale population was discovered during the Marine Park’s implementation and thus Abrolhos was suggested as the species’ main “nursery” ground on the Western South Atlantic. The Humpback Whale Project was then created to promote research and protection for these mammals in Brazil.

O&G reserves in the South China Sea: Tempers Flaring

November 28, 2013

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Geopolitical location, an abundance of fish and huge O&G reservoirs make the South China Sea (SCS) particularly attractive to the countries that all lay claim to parts of it, such as China, Taiwan, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand and Cambodia. While the Chinese National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) estimates the SCS holds around 125 billion barrels of oil and 500 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in uncorked reserves, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates the SCS contains only approximately 11 billion barrels of oil and 190 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in proven and probable reserves, although the EIA admits this figure could increase pending geological surveys of peripheral locations.

OTC Brasil 2013 – Tech Highlights: Marlin AUV

January 6, 2014

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The Technical Program at the OTC Brasil 2013 was definitely one of the event’s major attractions. There we’re dozens of presentations and panels during each of the 3 days, and it was definitely hard to pick which to attend. I personally went to about 12 of these and not one disappointed me. I have to start somewhere, so I actually chose a presentation from the last day to begin this series. At this point I believe that just about everyone knows what an AUV is, but in case you don’t, it is the acronym for Autonomous Underwater Vehicle. These come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, having various capabilities and possible uses. I must admit that I was impressed with the Lockheed Martin Marlin® AUV. At first glance it resembles what you’d expect from any top of the line AUV.

MMT Upgrades ROTVs for Offshore Surveys

October 16, 2013

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MMT is a Swedish marine survey company offering turnkey services, including two remotely operated towed vehicles (ROTV) equipped with various survey equipment for complete geophysical surveys. MMT has now upgraded the systems to be fully equipped with side scan sonars and sub bottom profilers, in addition to multi-beam echo sounders, inertial navigation system and doppler velocity log. This means a complete geophysical survey can be done from this platform in a speed of 6 knots and down to a water depth of 400 meters. The advantage of the ROTV is that it is a powerful tool for accurate line keeping during a survey. The upgrades system enhances the control of the tow-fish and allows both a constant altitude above the seafloor as well as maintaining the planned survey lines.

Submersible Incubation Device (SID)

October 1, 2013

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The main idea leading to the instrument developed by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) Oceanographers was to automatically run microbiological incubations in situ – in this case underwater. This was deemed necessary in order to avoid having to bring the samples to the surface in order to incubate them, because by doing this, the samples would not be in the same habitat in which they live and would be subjected to different pressure, temperature, light, and other conditions, which would probably alter the way they function. The SID concept began to unfold more than 30 years ago through the vision of microbiologist Craig Taylor and engineer Ken Doherty at WHOI. They wanted a way to see exactly what the multitudes of microbes in the ocean were doing.

Tidal Current Power and Subsea Turbine Technology

September 30, 2013

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Tidal Current Technology extracts energy from the high tide bulge created by the gravitational pull of the Sun and Moon moving horizontally around the Earth’s surface. It does not require blocking of any waterways, and does not have the adverse environmental effects associated with Tidal Barrages. Coastal locations with strong tide variations and strong currents abound around all continents and Tidal current power gives us another opportunity to harness power from the sea without polluting it. If we take into consideration that seawater is 832 times denser than air, then a 1knot current has more kinetic energy than 70 km/h of wind. Tidal current energy takes this kinetic energy available in ocean currents and converts it into electricity.

Subsea Flow Assurance and Pipeline Pigging

September 7, 2013

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Pipeline pigging is actually a form of flow assurance for O&G pipelines and flowlines. This is because the use of pipeline pigging helps maintain subsea pipelines clear of unwanted material or debris that may build up in a pipeline and eventually cause the passage of O&G to slow or even stop altogether if the pipeline is plugged with these materials. This unwanted debris, such as wax and paraffin, when obstructing a pipeline's flow, may cause the subsea pipelines to crack, by increasing the pressure in the pipeline. A highly clogged pipeline section may also cause damage to other sections of the same pipeline, due to pressure increase along the line caused by the decrease in flow along the clogged pipeline section.

Ultra-Deepwater Subsea UHP Water Jet

November 2, 2013

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There is a wide array of equipment used in deepwater oil and gas E&P, many are well known, others less so and some are simply unique. Deepwater subsea ultra-high pressure water (UHP) jets belong to this last category. Chukar Waterjet is the only water jet manufacturer in the world that offers UHP water jets that operate in the ultra-deepwater subsea environment, down to depths of up to 10,000 feet (3000 meters). Chukar’s deepwater subsea water jet system has numerous applications for deepwater emergency response operations, salvage operations, and rapid de-mobilization operations. It can cut steel up to 250 mm thick and quickly blast away concrete weight coatings, corrosion and marine growth at pressures up to 55,000 psi (3800 bar).

Subsea Connection Systems - FMC's UCON System

August 2, 2013

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Subsea oil fields are dependent on a large amount of connections between various kinds of subsea equipment in order to function. They allow umbilicals, flowlines, risers and rigid jumpers to connect to manifolds, x-mas trees, BOPs, pipelines and riser bases. These connections need to be absolutely safe and reliable as connection problems can cause a series of problems in operating subsea equipment which may affect exploration and production only a little or cause these to partially or completely stop. On top of that subsea connection failures may also cause oil spills or gas leakage in the environment in small or large amounts, driving operators and subsea service and equipment providers to invest heavily in research regarding ideal connection manufacture…

Libra Pre-salt Development

July 20, 2013

As the time for the first pre-salt bidding round approaches, solid data begins to appear related to production forecasts and assets needed for the field’s development. Brazil’s National Petroleum Agency (ANP) has confirmed that the first pre-salt bidding round will take place in October 2013 in Rio de Janeiro and the rules concerning it have already drawn criticism from potential operators. ANP maintains that these rules will not be changed and has come forth with information concerning the field’s development. According to thr ANP, Libra is expected to produce first oil in 2018, that is, 5 years after the winning consortium signs the E&P contract for Libra. This contract will be signed by November 2013.

Efficient Drill Bits for the Pre-salt

July 23, 2013

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The expression "pre-salt" refers to an aggregation of rocks located offshore along large portions of the Brazilian and West African coasts, it forms a carbonate rock interval that ranges under an extensive layer of salt which, in certain areas of the Brazilian coast, can be as much as 2,000 meters thick. The total depth of these rocks formations, or the distance between the surface of the sea and the oil reservoirs under the salt layer, can be as much as 7,000 meters. Drilling in the pre-salt is extremely complex and may require multiple trips being made by the drill bit in order to drill short lengths due to different rock layers with varying degrees of hardness. Another challenge is that the salt is very corrosive and is also plastic, as you drill down, it tends to close the well walls.

Structural Collapse of Corroded Deepwater Pipelines Subjected to External Pressure

June 20, 2013

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Deepwater O&G pipelines, used to transport oil and gas from offshore production units to onshore refineries, are subjected to the corrosive effects of salt water and to massive internal and external pressures. The risk of structural collapse in a pipeline is largely dependent on the levels of internal and external corrosion affecting pipe sections and on the amount of internal and external pressure on the pipe. Corrosion is a time dependent phenomenon that usually requires several years to produce a corrosion defect sufficiently large to cause a significant reduction in the collapse pressure of a pipeline. Consequently during installation it is considered that the pipeline is free of any metal loss due to corrosion.

Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion – Renewable Energy from the Sea

June 19, 2013

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According to OTEC International LLC (OTI), in 1870, Jules Verne introduced the concept of ocean thermal energy conversion (OTEC) in his book, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Within a decade, American, French and Italian scientists are said to have been working on the concept but the Frenchman, physicist Jacques-Arsene d’Arsonval, is generally credited as the father of the concept for using ocean temperature differences to create power. “I owe it all to the ocean; it produces electricity, and electricity gives heat, light, motion, and, in a word, life to the Nautilus.” Jules Verne, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. D’Arsonval’s student, Georges Claude, built the first OTEC power plant in 1930 in Cuba, which produced 22 kilowatts of electricity.

Brazil’s O&G Market - mid 2013 Review

June 18, 2013

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Brazil is the largest country in South America and its oil and natural gas markets have expanded massively in recent years, causing the resurrection of its shipbuilding industry as a bonus. The challenging deepwater development projects have high priority in investments both is subsea technology for deepwater field development and onshore and offshore logistics infrastructure. In recent years Brazil has experienced rapid growth in the petroleum sector. O&G production went from 1.5 million barrels per day in 2001 to 2.4 million b/d in 2010. Offshore production accounted for almost 90% of this figure in 2010. Yet there have also been large onshore natural gas discoveries…

World's Largest PLV

November 8, 2013

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The extraordinary growth of the world subsea market over the past decade and the raising demand for O&G plays in deep and ultra-deep waters to begin production and for the deep and ultra-deep water drilling to continue in Brazil, at the GoM and in WA, has led to the development of a range of new offshore field development and support vessels, including a large new pipelay vessel, currently laying its pipelines along the GoM. Since 2012 Saipem has been operating the MV CastorOne, it is a ship-shaped pipelay vessel with an overall length of 330 m (excluding stinger) and DP 3 capable. The CastorOne was classed by ABS (American Bureau of Standards) and is also Ice classed, capable of berthing 700.

Subsea Well Response Project to be launched in Brazil

June 15, 2013

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With the continued increase in deepwater drilling off the coast of Brazil, it is good to see that Petrobras, Brazil’s national operator, will soon have a well containment device ready for immediate deployment in case of a deepwater blowout such as was experienced in the Deepwater Horizon tragedy at the GoM. According to a Petrobras drilling inspector who prefers to remain anonymous, the Brazilian super-major player believes that their well drilling and completion systems are totally reliable as long as their safety procedures are followed, however, they are taking no chances and have joined forces with other major operators to increase drilling, completion and production safety standards worldwide.

New Subsea Center in Rio – Facing Challenges and Meeting Industry Demands

June 15, 2013

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With the continuous increase of subsea equipment and services companies setting up in Rio de Janeiro, including local companies, The State Government, through its State Office for Local Development (Secretaria Estadual de Desenvolvimento Econômico), has decided to create a subsea center in order to stimulate the sector and bring investments to subsea technology suppliers eyeing the Petrobras orders. Today there are around 35 subsea companies located in Rio (8 offering equipment and 27 offering services). These companies have a workforce of almost 1,200 employees, and the idea behind the subsea center is to attract suppliers and investors for these companies.

Rio Oil&Gas 2012 – Great Outlook for New Business

June 15, 2013

A major opportunity for new business and new joint ventures was the prime result of the 2012 edition of the Rio O&G. Brazil’s National Petroleum Organization (Onip) believes the event may have been a catalyst for R$ 152,8 million (US$76,4 million) in new business for the next twelve months. A study made by Onip with companies present and the Rio O&G 2012 showed that 84% of these companies expected to undertake some for of new business opportunities in the near future. A total of 13 foreign and 17 local O&G companies negotiated to form joint ventures in the industry, of these 13 expect to close a deal on new joint ventures in the near future. These include local companies and companies from Canada, U.S, England, Argentina, Italy and France.
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