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Offshore Oil & Ocean Engineering


February 2013 Issue

US Interior Dept. Reviews Shell Alaska Offshore Drilling
The U.S. Department of the Interior launched in January an expedited assessment of the 2012 offshore drilling program by Shell (The Hague, Netherlands) in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas to review practices, and identify challenges and lessons.

Shell was limited in its preparatory drilling operations last season, achieving only the construction of top-hole sections for one well each in the Chukchi and the Beaufort.

The review, which is expected to be completed by March, will look at Shell’s safety management systems, its oversight of contracted services and its ability to meet the standards in place for Arctic development.

It will pay special attention to challenges that Shell encountered in connection with certification of its Arctic Challenger containment vessel, the deployment of its containment dome and operational issues associated with the Noble Discoverer and Kulluk drilling rigs.

Leading the review will be the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Director Tommy Beaudreau, who has been selected to serve as the acting assistant secretary for Land and Minerals Management.

The review will help inform future permitting processes in the Arctic. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar acknowledged that “the unique challenges posed by the Arctic environment demand an even higher level of scrutiny.”

The U.S. Coast Guard will provide technical assistance for the review. It has also initiated a comprehensive marine casualty investigation regarding the grounding in January of Shell’s Kulluk drill rig off the coast of Alaska.

Wärtsilä 50DF Engines Complete Load Tests
The new P-63 FPSO vessel featuring Wärtsilä Corp. (Helsinki, Finland) 50DF (dual-fuel) engines, the first such ship to utilize gas engines to produce more than 100 megawatts electric, has successfully completed all the required full load tests. The tests were carried out at the COSCO (Dalian) Shipyard in Dalian, China, and the vessel will commence operations in Brazil’s offshore Papa-Terra field in 2013.

The engines can run on treated well gas, treated crude or marine diesel oil. They will have significantly lower levels of CO2 emissions compared to conventional technologies. It is estimated that the level of carbon emissions will be reduced by as much as 93,000 tons per year.

Wärtsilä was contracted by QUIP (Rio Grande, Brazil) to provide a turnkey package for this vessel, including three main power modules, each comprising two 18-cylinder Wärtsilä 50DF engines in V-configuration, alternators and all required auxiliary equipment, as well as commissioning start-up and operational supervision.

BRIL Expands Fleet With Its Biggest Vessel Charter Yet
Bibby Remote Intervention Ltd. (BRIL), based in Liverpool, England, is expanding its fleet by signing a contract to charter the multipurpose offshore vessel Toisa Warrior in its biggest vessel charter to date. With this vessel in the fleet, BRIL will target key contracts in the North Sea.

The vessel will come under the control of BRIL in February 2013 on a 180-day charter and will act as the front runner ROV support vessel for the division. It will join Bibby Offshore Holdings Ltd.’s (Liverpool) international fleet, which now consists of six subsea support vessels.

BRIL will install a mixed fleet of ROVs on board the vessel, including an SMD (Wallsend, England) 150-horsepower Quasar work-class ROV, Saab Seaeye Ltd. (Fareham, England) Cougar inspection-class ROV and Saab Seaeye Lynx inspection-class ROV.

Bibby Offshore (Aberdeen, Scotland) recently invested £11 million in BRIL.

Deep- and Ultradeepwater Production to Go Up in 2013
The global deepwater and ultradeepwater exploration and production market will reach a value of $83.2 billion this year, Visiongain has reported. The sector will experience strong growth in 2013 as development of large offshore oil finds drive expenditure for ongoing projects and create an incentive for further exploration.

The deepwater and ultradeepwater exploration and production market is a rapidly growing segment of the global oil and gas market, where technological advances have allowed companies to operate in ever greater water depths.

The discovery of pre-salt oil reserves in Brazil have resulted in increased exploration activity in traditional offshore regions and frontier areas alike.

Despite the negative publicity following the Macondo blowout, the industry is expanding at a strong pace and has the technological knowledge to operate securely and efficiently in the most challenging environments, according to the report. Based on existing and potential deepwater and ultradeepwater projects, investment in the global deepwater and ultradeepwater exploration and production market will grow strongly over the next decade.

CARIS and EIVA Partner To Provide Streamlined Surveying
CARIS (Fredericton, Canada) and EIVA (Hasselager, Denmark) have signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on providing a solution for offshore survey projects that includes acquiring and processing survey data through to managing and manipulating the data in an enterprise GIS environment.

The collaboration goes beyond data compatibility—the software product lines from EIVA and CARIS are in the process of being further integrated. Consequently, the end-user will experience a seamless workflow without data conversions and with the choice to use the individual modules as needed and in desired order.

EIVA’s NaviPac survey acquisition software is supported by CARIS’ HIPS and SIPS data-processing software. Processed bathymetry from HIPS and SIPS is available for further manipulation, including pipeline inspection work in EIVA’s NaviModel 3D application. NaviModel also has the ability to utilize CARIS’ Bathy DataBASE for data storage and retrieval, and allows delivery of digital data sets utilizing standard geospatial formats.

By streamlining the workflow, the companies can provide efficiency and additional functionality, CARIS said.


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