Marine Technology Reporter Blogs

Asymmetrical Icebreaker - Arctic Multipurpose Vessel

September 21, 2013

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A new asymmetrical design for Arctic icebreakers is capable of opening larger paths for other ships to navigate in the harsh Arctic winter, this oblique icebreaker, NB 508, is being built by Finish shipbuilder Arctech in Helsinki. This icebreaker drifts sideways allowing it to cut a channel as much as 30% wider than channels made by conventional icebreakers that hit the ice head-on. The €76 million ($103 million) ship has been designed with an asymmetrical hull that inclines steeply and is heavily reinforced on its left side, to bear the brunt of the icebreaking. Although the ship can go faster in open water or while icebreaking head-on…

BP Capping Stack for Well Blowout Containment

September 16, 2013

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Since the Deepwater Horizon tragedy in 2010 the industry has taken long strides in well control and well blowout containment. British Petroleum, having been directly involved in the accident at the Macondo well, was forced to look into a solution that would permanently seal the gushing deepwater well. However, even before they could come up with a permanent solution, BP needed to cap the well over the damaged BOP (Blow-out Preventer). This eventually took BP a few months to accomplish, yet using a large amount of engineering ingenuity a capping stack was manufactured which got the job done. Since at the time there was no off-the-shelf solution to capture the spilling oil straight from the BOP…

Triple-E Class Impact on the Container Ship Industry

November 2, 2013

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The new Triple-E class container ships are set to debut with Maersk livery. Maersk’s purpose in acquiring these behemoths is to take advantage of thier enormous capacity, which will enable Maersk to carry the greatest number of containers in the most energy efficient way, with the smallest CO2 footprint. Maersk thinks the time is ripe to order these new vessels as the annual market growth for Asia to Europe (westbound) trade is forecast to be in the 5-8% range during 2011-2015. The Triple-E’s design expanded the ship’s inside cavity, attaining a 16% capacity increase in comparison to the Maersk Emma (equivalent to 2,500 containers), despite relatively little change in length and width. The Triple-E is designed to transport more cargo without adding engine power.

Building Big – Maersk’s Triple-E class Container Carriers

September 12, 2013

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Maersk Line is building the world’s largest container ships to be known as the Triple-E class. Each ship will have a capacity of 18,000 20-foot containers (TEU) or most probably 9,000 40-foot containers, the later being more in use than the former. It’s important to note that TEU stands for twenty-foot equivalent units, therefore when dealing with 40-foot containers, we describe these as FEU (forty-foot equivalent). FEU may also be used to categorize two 20 foot containers. With the launching of this new class of container carrying ships Maersk will break its own world record. The Triple-E class ships are 400 meters long, 59 meters wide and 73 meters high, and the 20 new vessels on order are expected to be deployed on the vital Asia to Europe trade routes.

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.

Wave Power – The Pelamis Concept

August 7, 2013

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Wave energy is produced when electricity generators are placed on the surface of the ocean. The energy provided is most often used in desalination plants, power plants and water pumps. Energy output is determined by wave height, wave speed, wavelength, and water density. Waves are generated by the wind as it blows across the sea surface, so that energy is transferred from the wind to the waves. Wave energy is sometimes confused with tidal energy, which is quite different. Waves travel vast distances across oceans at great speed. The longer and stronger the wind blows over the sea surface, the higher, longer, faster and more powerful are the waves.

Ultra-Deepwater Subsea UHP Water Jet

November 2, 2013

jet Edge custom engineered a psi waterjet intensifier pump to power a robot operated waterjetting lance and blast away
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).

Remora’s HiLoad DP for the Pre-salt

August 30, 2013

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Remora is a Norwegian company, focused on providing solutions for offshore O&G loading. The company was established 2002 and has its head office in Stavanger, Norway and an office in Houston. Remora does business using a ship-owner structure by building, owning, leasing and operating HiLoad units. The range of HiLoad applications spans from offshore loading of crude oil, turret mooring of FSOs and FPSOs, as well as a mobile propulsion or DP system for seagoing vessels such as barges and floating rigs. The HiLoad concept is an innovative offloading solution which utilizes a ballasting system combined with a large square area of friction rubber which enables the HiLoad units to replace the water pressure on the tanker hull with no mechanical connection…

O&G Mergers and Acquisitions on the rise in Brazil

August 21, 2013

According to data from KPMG consulting there were 22 merger and acquisition operations in the market during the first 6 months of 2013, 4 times higher than in the first semester of 2012. This is mostly due to the 11th round of bidding that took place in April sponsored by the ANP (National Petroleum Agency). According to a KPMG executive, since the O&G sector had not had any bidding rounds for 5 years, a score of new business opportunities arose that attracted many foreign investors. Of these 22 operations, 10 were buy-outs, where foreign companies bought Brazilian companies in order to enter the market. Another fact that relates to…

North Brazil Oil – Deepwater Oil off the State of Pará

August 12, 2013

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Brazil’s Equatorial Margin, which is the country's coastline facing north, has recently had offshore exploration blocks acquired by a number of players during the 11 bidding round in early 2013. One of the states with a coastline on the Equatorial Margin, the state of Pará already has proven reserves established by Petrobras, which has been drilling there since the beginning of the year. More recently it has been established that these reserves are economically viable to be explored commercially. Rumors had it that Petrobras was satisfied by the way the exploration effort was developing. The Harpia exploration well, which began drilling in January 2013 in water depths of 2…

Pelamis P2 – How the Wave Energy Converter Operates

August 9, 2013

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The Pelamis P2 is the second-generation Pelamis Wave Energy machine and includes a number of significant design improvements. The P2 design has been sold to utility customers E.ON and ScottishPower Renewables and are currently being tested for a number of commercial scale projects. At 180m long, 4m diameter and weighing around 1350 tons (mostly sand ballast), the P2 Pelamis is wider, longer and heavier than the P1 design machine. This allows the Pelamis to capture more energy while substantially reducing the cost per MW. Comprised of five tubes with four joints, the P2 has an extra tube section and an extra power module. An improved power take off system for the P2 allows higher efficiencies, enhanced control resolution and increased reliability.

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…

Angola Pre-salt Development

July 31, 2013

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Few people acknowledge this but the exploratory campaign that led to the 2006 discovery by Petrobras of the Tupi (renamed Lula) field, at the Santos Basin in Brazil was partially triggered by early pre-salt finds in West Africa and the knowledge that the petroleum systems on both sides of the South Atlantic were similar. With the experience gained from drilling Lula and other subsequent pre-salt discoveries in Brazil, interest returned to the pre-salt in Angola’s conjugate Kwanza-Benguela and Namibe Basins. The common origin of the reservoirs and similar tectonics increased the belief that similar plays should exist in Angola. The Santos Basins is a major hydrocarbon basin along Brazil’s Atlantic coast.

Portuguese Investment in Brazil’s Pre-Salt

July 29, 2013

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Galp Energy, which is Portugal’s major O&G operator, is aiming at increasing its investments in Brazil through acquisition of new block during Petrobras’ pre-salt bidding round next October. Galp is already considered a preferred partner by Petrobras as can be seen by the fact that Galp currently partners Petrobras in four deepwater pre-salt blocks in the Santos Basin, with the biggest blocks being Lula and Cerambi, both large pre-salt plays, which are producing. Earlier this year Galp again partnered Petrobras in acquiring nine blocks in the Parnaíba, Potiguar and Barreirinhas Basin, during the 11th bidding round which mainly encompassed block along Brazil’s Northeast Coast and Equatorial Margin.

OSV Market in Brazil – Bravante Group

July 30, 2013

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The Bravante Group has been active in Brazil for around 50 years. Bravante Offshore, one of the companies that make up the group is a 100% Brazilian company specialized in leasing and operating OSVs for the O&G industry. Bravante is also Brazil’s market leader in transportation and supply of bunker fuel, supported by an extensive fleet of specialized bunker barges. Bravante has its own 20,000 square meter shipyard in São Gonçalo, across the bridge from the city of Rio, it’s name is São Miguel Shipyard and it is where Bravante provides construction and repair facilities for its fleet and clients. The yard was recently remodeled to meet new market demands for the construction, repair and modernization of offshore vessels such as PSVs, OSRVs and AHTSs.

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.

A Possible Rival to the Panama Canal

July 17, 2013

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Nicaragua recently granted a 50-year concession to Hong Kong based HKND Group, led by Chinese telecom executive Wang Jing, to cut a channel between the Caribbean Sea and the waters of the Pacific. This channel would rival the Panama Canal with the added benefit that the proposed passage through Nicaragua would be wider, and leave the country well placed to capitalize on a predicted rise in global shipping over the next twenty to thirty years. The argument for the canal is that even with its current expansion, the Panama Canal will still be too small to accommodate the world's largest container ships. In addition to the canal, the HKND Group has won rights to build a railroad, two ports, an international airport and an oil pipeline.

Preventing Ballast Water Invasive Species Propagation

July 13, 2013

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Ballast water is used to stabilize ships at sea, being pumped-in to weigh down a ship for safe navigational conditions when the ships hull is not filled with cargo for a voyage. Controlling the amount of ballast water embarked helps to reduce stress on the hull while providing transverse stability when underway. The correct use of ballast also makes ship propulsion more efficient and increases maneuverability. By correctly controlling the amount and location of ballast within the hull an officer can compensate for weight lost due to fuel and water consumption during a voyage, always maintaining optimum stability. Just by reading the paragraph above it becomes clear to any landlubber that ballast water is vital for safe ship operations.

X-Craft Midget Submarines

July 12, 2013

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There were a number of different midget submarines employed during World War II with their main objectives being to infiltrate ports and lay explosives on or under enemy ships and coastal reconnaissance and hydrography. One of the most successful midget submarine programs was the X-class developed by the Royal Navy. The X-class was specifically developed to attack and sink Nazi battleships KMS Tripitz, KMS Sharnhorst and pocket battleship Lutzow which were frequently docked in Norwegian ports. The X-Craft was about 51 feet (15.5 m) long, 5.5 feet (1.68 m) in maximum diameter and displaced 27 tons surfaced and 30 tons submerged. Its propulsion system was governed by a 4-cylinder Gardner 42 hp diesel engine…

Badger Explorer –Rigless Reservoir Evaluation Concept

July 8, 2013

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Offshore field development begins with the examination of geological studies of a given location, followed by sample collection and seismic data acquisition, which is interpreted in order to make a final decision on launching exploratory drilling or not. This is a time consuming and immensely expensive enterprise, involving a series of vessels equipped with specialized equipment and ultimately a drilling rig. In deepwater plays the operational cost involved in the initial phases of field development is exacerbated by the water depth, local ambient pressure and usually also by the presence of strong deepwater currents. For over a decade…