Marine Technology Reporter Blogs

Frade Deepwater Oil Spill – Lies, Lessons & Consequences

June 16, 2013

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The recent deep water oil spill at the Frade appraisal well in the Campos Basin off Rio de Janeiro, has already highlighted the lack of transparency by well operator Chevron and local regulator ANP (National Petroleum Agency). The ANP basically just took as gospel Chevron´s minimalistic information on the spill, without actually digging for the true facts. It took Skytruth and the Brazilian Federal Police, which in these parts does the work of a Coast Guard organization, to blow the whistle. While Chevron insists that there is only around 65 barrels on the surface at this point and the total spill did not surpass 650 barrels, Skytruth geologist John Amos however, estimates a spill of at least 3,738 barrels per day from November 9th to November 12th, based on NASA satellite images.

UMASS Professor Receives Award for Work to Preserve Massachusetts Coastline

November 18, 2011

The 2011 University Service Award was presented to Professor Brian Howes at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth Alumni Dinner. UMASS Dartmouth is the location of the School of Marine Science and Technology. The presentation went to Dr. Howes as  "a professor who has worked for decades to preserve the Massachusetts coastline," Dr. Howes Coastal Systems Program provides basic and applied scientific information to address the growing ecological degradation of coastal ecosystems, with an emphasis on public outreach and education. The Coastal Systems Program includes the Estuaries Project, a science based management program for the restoration and protection of Massachusetts’ estuarine resources.

New Players Tackling Brazilian Pre-salt – Barra Energia

June 18, 2013

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Barra Energia do Brasil Petróleo e Gás Ltda or Barra Energia was established in 2010 as an independent O&G exploration and production company. Its headquarters is in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, close to all the main O&G Basins in Brazil and where all other players working the Brazilian offshore are based. The company was launched by executives, engineers and geologists that with long career histories in the O&G business, most hailing from super-majors like Petrobras and also from Repsol. The company advertises its main competitive edge as being its technical and commercial expertise and local knowledge. Barra Energia is counting on this expertise to guide them in their E&P efforts which will primarily focus on the three major offshore O&G areas in Brazil…

New Impulse for Fisheries in Rio

June 16, 2013

The fisheries industry in Rio de Janeiro particularly and in Brazil in general, has historically received few investments from the government or the private sector. In reality, even fisheries monitoring, regulations and inspections are lax, at best. Many species have become basically extinct, such as the large lobster. This many soon begin to change. Recently the environmental secretary for Rio de Janeiro, Carlos Minc, announced that investments in fisheries and aquaculture will be included as part of the demands for local environmental licensing. This will be mostly directed to industrial environmental licensing in the north part of Rio but will eventually be an integral demand in all environmental licensing procedures along the coast of Rio.

Centre for Arctic Resource Development Launched in St. John's

June 22, 2011

C-CORE, an international leader in research and development based at Memorial University in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, has launched The Centre for Arctic Resource Development (CARD), an initiative to help unlock the potential of the Arctic’s rich – and largely untapped – natural resources. CARD is supported by $16.5 million in combined funding from the Hibernia and Terra Nova projects and the Research & Development Corporation of Newfoundland and Labrador (RDC). The Hibernia and Terra Nova projects will each contribute $6.25 million over five years ($1.25 million each per year) to support leading-edge research projects and programs, as well as technology development. RDC will provide $4 million to build a 1,260 square metre expansion to C-CORE’s Dr.

Frade Spill a Wakeup Call for Deepwater O&G Exploration off Brazil

June 16, 2013

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The seabed oil spill that is still ongoing next to the Frade oil field in the Campos Basin is again raising the local awareness to the inherent dangers associated with O&G exploration. As many politicians and environmentalists hit the panic button, this kind of spill is, if not expected, is a definite possibility. There is simply no failsafe way to drill for oil and when the actual drilling is done underwater the risks compounded and the time it takes to resolve the issue is also increased. As this particular spill is a deep water event 1,200 meters deep it may not be so easy to stop and Chevron, the well operator has already taken steps to shut down the well permanently, this may also point to a loss of well control and a possible blowout.

The Role of ADCP Technology in Marine Energy Farms

November 16, 2011

Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) technology is carving a role in site location and operation management of marine renewable energy farms. With its diverse measurement capabilities the ADCP can aid in various phases of design and operation. The versatile sonar based device, similar to the hand-held radar used by police officers in speed traps, is a valuable tool that can provide multiple water measurements such as wave, current, and water level profiles. The ADCP has the capability to make four different measurements simultaneously. Using sound to measure its environment the ADCP sends a sound burst and an echo is then returned from suspended particles carried by the currents in the water column and seabed.

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management: Impacts of EMF on Marine Life

November 11, 2011

Ms. Donna M. Schroeder from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), presented findings of the study for potential impacts of electro magnetic fields on marine life at the Marine Renewable Energy Center Technical Conference. There is the recognition that there are marine species that rely on magnetosense or electric field receptors for life functions. How changes in these electric and magnetic fields affect these functions is not fully understood. The study’s objectives were to understand the sensitivities of marine species to electric and magnetic fields produced by undersea transmission cables. Studies took into consideration types of fields such as electric, magnetic and induced electric.

3rd Annual New England Marine Renewable Energy Center Technical Conference

November 10, 2011

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On Novenber 7 and 8, the third annual New England Marine Renewable Energy Center (MERC) technical conference was held in Cambridge, MA. There were forty presentations including offshore wind, tidal systems, modeling, ocean energy systems, wave energy technology, and considerations for commercial applications. In addition to technical papers presented there were also ten poster presentations set up in the lobby adjacent to the conference room. Peter Fraenkel, Chief Technology Officer at Marine Current Turbines was the keynote speaker. Mr. Each day technical presentations were broken into four sessions. On November 7 following the keynote speaker, the first of eight total sessions throughout the two-day conference, focused on environmental impact.

Virtual Shipyards in Brazil – Still a long way to go to supply the demand for ships from the O&G Industry

June 16, 2013

Most of the new shipyards to be built in Brazil are still on the drawing board. The exceptions are the Inhaúma yard, which was taken over by Petrobras and is being renovated as a ship repair yard, and the OSX shipyard which will be located within the Açu port complex in the northern part of the state of Rio de Janeiro. As both the port and the shipyard are owned by the EBX group, which also owns OGX OIL & GAS, they have guaranteed orders and have already received a partial environmental license and construction has already begun. The orders are guaranteed by the demand for ships from OGX, so they do not depend directly on orders from Petrobras.

Bringing ROV Technology into the Classroom

November 3, 2011

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Recently Keith Bradley from Henry Lord Middle School in Massachussets, along with Meghan Arabella-Bowen from Bristol Community College, also in Massachusetts, brought together 75 middle school students for an ROV competition. The students approach the competition as though they are running an ocean technology business. They break into teams to form a company and set about to design an ROV that suites a particular need. Students must design and build the ROV within a budget. At the end of the project kids will be judged not only on their design but also their costs. Ms. Bowen is the Director of the SAGE (Sustainability And Green Energy) Project at Bristol Community College.

Full Shipyards in Brazil

June 16, 2013

Brazilian shipyards are trying to become internationally competitive in terms of product quality, pricing and keeping to deadlines. There are presently around 280 units in construction in Brazil, including PSVs, tankers and rigs, with a workforce of around 56 thousand and growing. The shipyards are full to capacity and even though there are over twenty new yards being built, there is still a demand for more. One of the main problems faced by these new yards is to maintain a high quality standard in order to compete with experienced foreign yards. This is no easy feat. However many of these new yards being built have some form of partnership with international shipyards, looking to enter the Brazilian market.

International Opportunities in Marine Technology

October 31, 2011

On Tuesday October 25 the Marine and Oceanographic Network in association with Maritime Alliance and the Marine Technology Society held a meeting covering International Opportunities in Marine Technology. Overseeing the program were Mr. Harlan Doliner, President of MOTN, Chris Jakubiak, Chair, New England Section of the Marine Technology Society, and Michael B. Jones, President of The Maritime Alliance in San Diego. The Maritime Alliance is a San Diego, CA-based non-profit that looks for innovative, dual/multi usage defense/security and maritime technologies from around the world and tries to create visibility so they will be utilized as quickly as possible in the U.S. and elsewhere. TMA is the recognized cluster organizer for the San Diego maritime technology cluster.

MiniROVs – Deep Trekker

June 16, 2013

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As work class ROVs used in the O&G industry and S&R missions reach new peaks in demand, small inspection class ROVs, better known as mini or micro ROVS are also becoming accessible to the general public. These light weight ROVs come in various shapes and sizes, although most models are limited to shallow water depths, there are exceptions and the probability is high that in the near future these MiniROVs will be capable of reaching deeper waters. Based in southern Ontario, Canada, Deep Trekker Inc. is specialized in the design and manufacture affordable subsea exploration tools, targeting the growing world consumer market for U/W exploration tools.

NUTECMAR – Mini ROV leader in Brazil

June 16, 2013

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With the sharp increase in ship and shipyard construction, port construction and port safety awareness, all prompted by the mayor pre-salt and post salt oil discoveries off Brazil, many new local service companies, specialized in subsea services have been launched. Some of them are actually developing, Work Class ROV´s in Brazil using foreign or even locally developed technology. There has also been a marked demand increase for smaller ROV´s to be used in various fields including video inspection, side-scan sonar mapping, marine environmental research and training. It is likely that demand for small AUV´s will be increasing steadily as they can be very useful for environmental research…

Petrobras set to announce winner of offshore LNG production unit tender

June 16, 2013

The group that will be awarded the construction contract for this novel offshore LNG production unit will be known by October 31 Petrobras is keen to begin construction of the unit as it considers offshore natural gas liquefaction vital to guarantee a efficient output for the Santos Basin pre-salt gas. Many of the Santos Basin pre-salt fields are located over 300km from the coast, which convinced Petrobras to seek other options in order to deliver the gas to the market. Normally gas is transferred from wells to the coast through underwater pipelines but with such distances involved and with many of thereservoirs located in deep water…

OSX looking at building drill rigs for Petrobras

June 16, 2013

With the work on its new shipyard underway, OSX, the shipbuilding and ship rental company belonging to the EBX Group, is planning on entering tenders in order to try and get a piece of the contracts for 21 drillers for Petrobras. The OSX shipyard is being built within the Açu Port area (the Açu Port is also in construction and is also owned by the same EBX Group). Sete Brasil is administering the construction of the 21 drillers, which will then be leased to Petrobras. Petrobras itself will oversee the tender process. Sete Brasil is one of the local companies participating in the tender and they have already been awarded the contract for construction of the seven first drillers, which are being built at the Atlantico Sul shipyard in the Brazilian northeast state of Pernambuco.

Habitats Project - Campos Basin Environmental Studies

June 16, 2013

Since 2007, Petrobras, along with national research institutes and industry suppliers, has been busy researching physical, chemical, geological, biological and socio-economic characteristics of the Campos Basin, a region that starts at the north end of the State of Rio de Janeiro all the way to the south of the State of Espirito Santo, encompassing an area of some 100 thousand square kilometers. The project has two main parts, one about fisheries and its socio-economic impact and the other about environmental issues, which is called the Habitat Project. The information is being transformed into a database, which will be used to support decision making concerning environmental issues, environmental management and will also be edited as a scientific publication.

VAM Drilling opens new mill targeting pre-salt

June 16, 2013

VAM Drilling is a company belonging to the French drilling pipe manufacturer Valourec. The new VAM Drilling mill will be located in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, adjacent to already existing Valourec & Mannesmann (V&M do Brasil) steel production and pipe rolling plant. With this the company expects to be able to respond more rapidly and efficiently to its customers in South America, lowering logistics costs and reducing the production time. Accortding to Hector Arevalo VP of South American sales for V&M do Brasil “Because of the local steel production and pipe rolling capabilities of V&M do Brasil, the new mill will be able to provide full capabilities.

Siemens Eyeing Brazilian O&G

June 16, 2013

Siemens has recently announced that it plans to invest around $150 million in Brazil, of this sum $50 million alone will be invested in a new technology in Rio de Janeiro. The new technology research center will be located within the UFRJ (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro) technology park at Fundão Island, where Siemens plans to concentrate all of its research and development activities. The UFRJ Technology Park is already a hub for research centers related to the O&G industry, harboring research centers belonging to the Brazilian national operator Petrobras and also to major O&G industry service providers such as Schlumberger, Baker Hughes and Halliburton.