Marine Technology Reporter Blogs

Future of AUVs in Brazil

June 15, 2013

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With companies such as Kongsberg and ECA bringing state of the art AUV models into the Brazilian market, and with the great demand for AUV services from the O&G industry, government agencies and universities, the future of AUVs in Brazil looks really promising. Presently, most AUVs are being employed by the O&G industry for pipeline routing and monitoring, seabed mapping and other specialized services. However there is a growing demand from academia to employ AUVs is oceanographic research and environmental research, this is an important development because it will allow universities to have unprecedented leverage to undertake complex research programs from shallow water to the deepest ocean basins off Brazil and off all the eastern South American coastline…

C&C Technologies Thriving in the Brazilian AUV Market

June 16, 2013

C&C entered the Brazilian market with its autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) almost ten years ago. The company has had a steady growth in the country and now provides services that involve measurement of water properties, seabed topography, and seabed soil characterization. C&C uses their own vessels as platforms to launch their AUVs, covering the depth range from ultra shallow all the way to ultra deep 4500 meters and their clients use the data acquired by their AUVs to support their underwater infrastructure construction plans. In Brazil the company has enlarged its scope of services on demand by clients after the success of their seafloor mapping technology using side scan sonars mounted on AUVs C&C is also undertaking extensive work in oceanography and environmental monitoring.

Another Successful Collaboration for New England Marine Technology Groups

May 29, 2012

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Recently in an effort to celebrate the 20 anniversary of the Stellwagon Bank National Marine Sanctuary (SBNMS), a program was held at the University of Massachusetts Advanced Technology and Manufacturing Center in Fall River Ma. The program was a collaboration between the Marine & Oceanographic Technology Network (MOTN), Marine Technology Society (MTS) and the USGS. The event was held to discuss current research efforts in the Sanctuary and how technology is being used to enhance results, as well as inform management decisions. Panelists presented snap shots of their research and industry representatives presented overviews of their technologies. The networking event also focused on possible collaborations.

Small Dolphins in Risk of Extinction in Rio

June 16, 2013

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The “Toninha” as small dolphins of the Pontoporia Species are called in Brazil are part of the Group denominated Odontocetos Cetacean. It is one of the smallest existing species of dolphins. Its coloration varies from pale gray to light yellow with its lower part being lighter. Their face is visibly elongated and it has more than 200 teeth. Their eyes are small and so is their dorsal fin, when compared to other species of dolphins. Its dorsal fin is also rounded at the extremities. The full name of the species is Pontoporia blainvillei. Today there are only 2,000 toninhas left off the coast of the states of Rio de Janeiro and Espirito Santo. This number represents less than half of the minimum population number considered safe. The safe population number is around 5,500 individuals.

U.S. Administration Continues Efforts to Implement Ocean Policy

May 22, 2012

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The Obama Administration has proposed a National Ocean Policy (NOP), in an effort to help federal agencies manage research, and data collection to create better policy making decisions. The policy has been created to help in the efforts to save money and reduce conflict between policy makers and ocean users. The policy has highlights several goals including issues causing the most concern fro the oceans and Great lakes. The draft Implementation Plan includes more than 50 actions the Federal Government will take to improve the health of the oceans, coasts, and Great lakes. According to the National Ocean Council this will support tens of millions of jobs, contribute millions of dollars a year to the national economy, and are essential to public health and national security.

DOF Launches Largest AHT Ever Built in Brazil

June 16, 2013

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Last Month the DOF Group named on the largest anchor handling tug vessel (AHT) ever built in Brazil, the Skandi Iguaçu. The vessel has over 32,000 BHP installed and bollard pull of more than 300 tons. Having been built at the STX OSV shipyard accros the bridge from the city of Rio de Janeiro, in Niteroi, the vessel will be ready for delivery to Petrobras three to five months in advance of contract requirement. Skandi Iguacu was ordered from STX OSV shipyard, with financing from the Brazilian Merchant Marine Fund through the BNDES (Brazilian Development Bank). The Skandi Iguaçu is part of a new generation of high powered anchor handling vessels, designed for operations across a wide range of deepwater depths and environmental conditions.

Pipe laying at All Time High in Brazil

June 16, 2013

As deepwater O&G discoveries abound up and down the coast in Brazil and as the early pre-salt discoveries begin to produce, along with other post-salt deepwater discoveries. All three main Basins; Campos, Santos and Espirito Santo are seeing a marked increase in pipe laying by all super major players involved in the development of deepwater plays in Brazil. There has also been an increase in custom deepwater pipe and flowline manufacturing and in the acquisition and leasing of pipelaying vessels for the Brazilian oil frontier. The newest order announced is for the supply of electrical power systems and energy efficient propulsion systems for two deepwater pipe laying vessels with the total order value being $18 million. Daewoo chose ABB to supply these systems.

Drilling to Increase off Kenyan Coastline

May 17, 2012

The Kenyan government, in a move by the Ministry of Energy, published an official gazette recently announcing notice of eight new offshore sites. With these eight new sites the total number of exploration blocks in the country is now 46. With the increase in oil and gas exploration off the Kenyan coastline, corporations are jockeying to negotiate with the government. These negotiations will be for the rights to explore the area with depths between 3,000 and 4,000 meters. The Australian company FAR is slated to raise $15.04 million to fund oil and gas exploration off the Kenyan coast. Funding for the company will be raised through the placement of 280 million shares…

Scientist Look to Commercial Fleet to Provide Tsunami Warnings

May 15, 2012

Tsunami early warning systems currently relay on land-based networks that require water-based systems of deep ocean sensors and tide gauges to reveal how large a tsunami is as well as its direction of travel. The systems are costly and their distribution is spotty. Ships using geodetic GPS systems can detect tsunamis in the open ocean even though they are thousands of miles away. Researchers are now looking at how commercial ships that are equipped with GPS tools, could provide a network in order to improve tsunami early detection warnings. This would provide a network of accurate tsunami sensors around the world. Providing and equipping…

ROV Demand Still Increasing in Brazil

June 16, 2013

With a number of new O&G discoveries popping up nearly continuously in Brazil, both in shallow and deepwater, there has been a significant increase in ROV demand by operators, not only the major players but by all players involved on the Brazilian oil boom. In general the delivery of a complete ROV system may take around nine months, this includes the delivery of key equipment such as heavy duty winches, power and control umbilicals, flotation foam blocks, control modules, tooling kits and backup equipment. Here in Brazil, ROV manufacturers, which are basically all foreign companies with local offices, have been increasing their local stocks of ROV systems.

New Research Ship to Identify how Brazilian Forests and Seas Affect World Climate

June 16, 2013

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The Alpha Crusis is a 64 meter (213feet)  long and 11 meter (36 feet) wide research ship, capable of carrying up to 20 passengers, weighing 972 tons and with a 40 day sailing autonomy. The research ship was bought by Fapesp (Foundation for the Support of Research of the State of São Paulo) from the University of Hawaii for use by the Oceanographic Institute of the University of São Paulo. The ships total cost including renovations ran at $11 million. When it belonged to the U of H, the ship was called the Moana Wave and was being run by NOAA until it was acquired by Brazilian Fapesp, after which it went through 10 months of renovations and refurbishing in a Seattle shipyard.

Advances in Undersea Communications

May 9, 2012

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The process of undersea monitoring, mapping, and observation is experiencing major changes and advancements. The new paradigm is moving toward data collection and sensing operations using networks of autonomous platforms rather than platform centric and human-controlled sensing, processing and interpretation. A new command and control paradigm is called Nested Autonomy. It is implemented using MOOS-IvP architecture. This architecture is a set of open source c++ modules for providing autonomy in robotic platforms, including AUV technology. It provides fully integrated sensing, modeling, and control allowing each platform, either in collaboration or individually the opportunity to detect, classify, and track a human-created or natural event. It is then able to report back to the operator.

NOAA Scientist Look for Ways to Ease Commercial Fishing Economic Impact

May 1, 2012

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NOAA is moving forward in efforts to minimize the economic loss for the Georges Bank Fishery. Commercial fishermen have been facing cuts in fishery quotas in an area that is jointly fished and managed with Canada. Due to fish stock not growing to catchable sizes than officials expected the allocation of certain species such as yellow tail flounder will be reduced by 61 percent this season. The scallop and ground fisheries divide the yellowtail flounder allocation for by-catch. Yellow tail by-catch is high in the scallop industry due to their preference for living on the ocean floor and on sandy bottoms, a habitat also preferred by sea scallops.

Scientists Find Venice is Still Sinking

April 23, 2012

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Scientists from the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in collaboration with the University of California, San Diego have found that although previous studies have shown Venice to be stabilizing, it is in fact continuing to sink at a rate of about 2 millimeters or .07 inches per year. Yahuda Bock a research geodisist with Scripps Institute of Oceanography at UC San Diego is the lead author on a new research paper about the sinking of the city worked with colleagues from the University of Miami and Italy's Tele-Rilevamento Europa. Tele-Rilevamento Europa is a company that measures deformation to then analyze data collected by GPS and inSar, space borne radar instruments. The GPS measurements are used to get absolute elevations.

Scientists Identify New Ocean Current

April 16, 2012

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Recently scientists have discovered a new ocean current. The previously unknown current is located off the coast of Iceland and was verified by a Woods Hole Oceanographic team lead by oceanographer Bob Pickart, The current is called the North Icelandic Jet current and has proven to be an important aspect in oceanic currents that transport equatorial heat to the North Atlantic therefore tempering the climate. During an expedition cruise on board the WHOI vessel Knorr, Prickart, along with colleagues from MRI and the University of Bergen in Norway took detailed water measurements confirming the existence of the current. The international teams findings were published in Nature Geoscience.

U.S.-to-Brazil submarine cable to be laid

June 16, 2013

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In an importand development for Brazilian high-speed communications with the United States, U.S. based Seaborn Networks service provider is primed to lay a new system of submarine cummunications cable that will provide a direct route between the Unites States and Brazil. Set to go active in 2014, the new Seabras-1 submarine cable will offer 32 Tbps of capacity connecting Miami and Sao Paulo, with a branch that lands in Fortaleza, Brazil. The service provider's timing couldn't be better as the Brazilian government prepares to adopt a National Broadband Plan and the country is also preparing to host upcoming 2014 Soccer World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games, which will drive greater growth of voice, video and data services throughout Brazil. The major increase of U.S.

NURP Facing Funding Losses

April 10, 2012

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NOAA has given the ax to the Undersea Research Program (NURP) for the fiscal year of 2013. NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and NURP officially merged on October 1 of 2007. NURP has provided NOAA the ability to use and access submersibles, technical diving, unmanned or remotely operated vehicles as well as seafloor observatories. NURP’s goal was to provide scientists with the tools and expertise needed to investigate and explore the underwater world. NURP also worked to provide grants to both federal and non-federal research communities through its six regional centers and the National Institute of Undersea Science and technology.

Identifying Oil Spill Origins

June 16, 2013

An interesting article by the leading Brazilian newspaper O Globo, signed by Journalist Marcio Beck, brings to light the need to urgently create a database with information on the “DNA” of oil produced in Brazilian fields. According to researchers from the Academia and from the O&G industry, this is essential in order to speed up the identification of those responsible for any given oil spill. According to the article, the basic characteristics found in the formation of an oil reservoir, such as types of stones, sediments and organic matter along with time, temperature and pressure conditions, which give a distinct DNA to each different oil reservoir. Therefore, it would be possible to identify from which field any given oil sample originated from.

Major New O&G Pipelines Raising Environmental Concerns

June 16, 2013

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Recently Petrobras, the Brazilian national O&G operator announced that it had awarded Technip a 5-year frame agreement contract for the supply of around 1,400 kilometers of flexible pipes, with supply starting in 2013 and orders are guaranteed for at least 50% of the total value, which is currently estimated to be worth around US$2.1 billion. Flexible pipes for the contract will be produced both at Technip's existing manufacturing site in Vitoria, and also at our new manufacturing facility under construction in Açu, Brazil. This agreement is a direct spinoff of the investment Technip made last year in building a second state-of-the-art flexible pipe plant in Brazil…

New Pre-salt Port Worries Environmentalists

June 16, 2013

The Ponta Negra Terminal (TPN) to be built at the south side of Jaconé Beach at Ponta Negra Point is to be one of the biggest ports in the country. DTA Engineering, responsible for the project, unofficially called the Pre-salt port and with an investment forecast of $5,4 billion in an area of 557,2 thousand square meters, is expected to link oil & gas pipelines from the Pre-salt plays to the Petrochemical complex of the state of Rio de Janeiro (Comperj), which is located in the nearby city of Itaborai. The project includes a port, a ship and rig maintenance shipyard and a refinery. Authorities consider the location ideal due to the fact that the point has a natural depth of 30 meters.