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Using renewable energy can help the oil and gas industry to reduce emissions while getting a stable, high-quality power supply. The renewable energy system can even be used to help the oil and gas facilities with enhanced oil recovery (EOR). These are the results from a project Floating Power Plant (FPP) has just finished with Lundin Energy Norway, NOV-APL, Semco Maritime, Cefront Technologies, and Aalborg University using floating wind and wave power to support an offshore oil and gas facility. The project developed three different designs to see if the concepts set up by the partners were usable solutions from an engineering point of view and as a commercial business case. 'We have shown that using renewable energy in the oil and gas industry is a good idea," said Anders Køhler, the chief executive officer of FPP.
In response to incidents such as the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon in April 2010, the oil and gas industry has worked to generate methods that help ensure safe and environmentally responsible offshore operations. Despite these efforts, a research fellow at the Ocean Energy Safety Institute (OESI) argued that incident prevention methods will not be effective unless industry generates facility, equipment, and system designs that consider potential human-factors issues. At a joint forum titled "Human Factors To Support Safer and Effective Offshore Energy Operations," held by OESI and the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, S. Camille Peres spoke about the progress being made in researching the effects of human factors in offshore projects. Peres is an assistant professor of educational and occupational health at the Texas A&M University School of Public Health. In her presentation, Peres discussed the role human factors can play in major incidents, focusing primarily on the issues surrounding the Deepwater Horizon explosion.
Microsoft deployed a datacenter underwater near Scotland's Orkney Islands, by lowering it 117 ft by cable to the rock slab seafloor. The Northern Isles datacenter is loaded with 12 racks containing a total of 864 servers and associated cooling system infrastructure. It is part of Microsoft's Project Natick, a research effort to investigate manufacturing and operating environmentally sustainable, prepackaged datacenter units that can be ordered to size, rapidly deployed, and left to operate lights out on the seafloor for years. The intention of putting datacenters underwater is to have them near coastal communities to accommodate exponential growth in demand for cloud computing infrastructure near population centers. One of the biggest costs for land-based datacenters is the cooling process and placing the datacenter underwater offers free access to cooling.
In recent years, much progress has been made harnessing offshore renewable energy (ORE)--wind, wave, and current--for use in electrical supply. The complete paper is aimed at giving the newcomer to ORE, both with regard to wind and marine-hydrokinetic (MHK) devices, a basic understanding of the subject. The complete paper focuses on physical and technical issues and does not detail financial aspects of such projects. For any offshore development, especially an ORE project, a specific site investigation is required to qualify environmental, geophysical, metocean-related, and geopolitical issues. Most ORE developments will cover a significant area of ocean or seabed and will require investigation to ensure that marine life, antiquities, unexploded ordinance, and other ocean users will not be put at risk when installation and operation activities are performed.
InterMoor's Marine Project team in Aberdeen successfully recovered the Ocean Power Technologies (OPT) PowerBuoy after a 7-month trial in harsh North Sea winter conditions. The buoy can act as an uninterruptable power supply which constantly recharges itself by harvesting energy from the waves. The team removed the mooring equipment and towed the buoy, landing it successfully. InterMoor and the wider Acteon Group Ltd. will be continuing to work with OPT to review the project and to plan future global deployments of this technology to resolve energy transition challenges.
As projects increase in complexity, the chances for human error have also gone up, and the consequences of error have become more significant. An expert argued that a lot of human error stems from a lack of awareness of what is happening in difficult and dynamic environments. This awareness, the expert said, is necessary for making good decisions. At a joint forum ("Human Factors to Support Safer and Effective Offshore Energy Operations") hosted by the Ocean Energy Safety Institute and the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Mica Endsley examined the role situation awareness plays in drilling operations, as well as the ways in which system design can help improve situation awareness in a work staff. Endsley is the president of SA Technologies, a cognitive engineering firm, and is the former chief scientist for the US Air Force.
The people who make up the offshore oil and gas industry have an expectation that they will be able to do their job each day with zero harm to their safety or the environment. The Ocean Energy Safety Institute (OESI) and the Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA) have teamed up to create a roadmap to achieve this goal. The 21st Century Ocean Energy Safety Research Roadmap identifies four independent pillars to achieving zero harm: human factors, process safety, safety and environmental management systems (SEMS), and technology. The human factors pillar involves developing the proper culture, tools, and training for all workers to apply these resources for a safe work environment. This includes both the way people interact with machines and the way people interact in a social environment. The process safety pillar considers how the oil and gas industry manages hazards to protect people, equipment, and other assets.
The US Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) has issued a final environmental impact statement (PEIS) for proposed geological and geophysical surveys of the Gulf of Mexico regarding possible oil and gas development. It finds that the surveys would pose a danger of significant harm to marine mammals. Projecting for air-gun blasting over the next decade, the statement estimates millions of creatures--including hundreds of sperm whales, plus other whales and dolphins--would be harmed. Air-gun blasting involves seismic air-guns blasting compressed air through miles of water down to the seabed in the quest for oil and gas beneath the ocean floor. Blasts can occur continually at 10-second intervals for weeks or months at a time.
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) will offer approximately 78.8 million acres for a US Gulf of Mexico (GOM) lease sale in November, which will include approximately 14,755 unleased blocks. Lease Sale 256 was originally scheduled for August but was moved to allow further analysis to consider recent changes in the oil and gas markets brought on by COVID-19. BOEM said bids will be accepted by mail only due to the pandemic. All terms and conditions for the sale are detailed in the Proposed Notice of Sale (PNOS) information package. The Notice of Availability of the PNOS is available for inspection in the Federal Register .