Cost and delivery of long-distance natural gas pipelines to a distant liquefaction facility at a warm-water port has become excessive, and environmental restraints have been increasing. An alternative to this type of facility is an offshore ice-resistant liquid natural gas (LNG) port accommodating a new class of LNG transport vessels. The benefits of a deepwater Arctic marine port are undeniable; the concept would create a safe harbor that could be configured to fit the requirements of any Arctic endeavor. The area above the Arctic Circle is underlain by sedimentary basins and continental shelves that hold enormous oil and natural gas resources. Most of this area is poorly explored for oil and natural gas; however, the US Geological Survey estimates that the Arctic contains approximately 13% of the world's undiscovered conventional oil resources and approximately 30% of its undiscovered conventional natural gas resources.
Add Energy has partnered with Transborders Energy (TBE) and joined forces with TechnipFMC and MODEC to create a fast-deployment business model for a FLNG (floating liquefied natural gas) free up for small-scale stranded resources around the world and to establish a new concept in global natural gas field development. The international energy consultancy provider said the new business model targets discovered gas resources of approximately 0.5 to 2.0 Tcf of gas that have little value to their current owners because they are either in remote locations where tieback is capital-intensive, or lack an economically viable development concept. Rather than investing up to 5 years in identifying a gas resource, understanding its size and potential and creating a bespoke development concept, the new model establishes a predefined concept using a 1.0 million ton per annum (MTPA) FLNG vessel. TBE Managing Director Daein Cha said, "The economies of scale pursued by megaprojects have not eventuated. They are too capital-intensive and risky in terms of resilience and flexibility for what is a commoditizing business."
As operators seek to design higher-capacity facilities, separation vessels have grown in size and weight. During early field life, these vessels are expected to handle peak production rates, and in late life the same vessels are also expected to handle large volumes of solids and water. A pair of process engineering experts argued that these expectations have led design engineers and equipment manufacturers to produce increasingly expensive vessels and associated instrumentation without examining the consequences on full life cycle operations. In a presentation held by the SPE Separations Technology Technical Section, Bryan Arciero and Graeme Smith discussed the unforeseen consequences of increased separator size, as well as operating adjustments that can maximize separator performance throughout the life of a field. Arciero is an operations process engineer at Murphy Oil, and Smith is a process engineering consultant.
A Damen 3307 Patrol Vessel has been delivered to Homeland Integrated Offshore Services of Lagos, Nigeria. This is the third vessel of this type for Homeland. A fourth is also currently under construction. Guardian 3, along with its sister ships Guardian 1 and Guardian 2, is now providing security and other support services to the international offshore oil companies active off the coast of Nigeria in the Gulf of Guinea, in cooperation with the Nigerian Navy. The Guardian series of 3307 Patrol vessels are unarmed but, in the course of their duties, carry security personnel along with their firearms.
The oil and gas industry has just 18 months to upgrade critical release hook systems on offshore lifeboats to meet new regulations imposed by the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to improve safety at sea. According to the organization, the number of failures during drills and inspections that resulted in casualties or injured crew members has been unacceptably high. Launched in 2011, the IMO regulations state that lifeboat release and retrieval systems must be evaluated and replaced no later than 1 July 2019. This will involve the complex and costly removal, retrofit, and replacement of lifeboat systems globally. "The IMO deadline is a call to action to ensure that lifeboats are rehooked, fit-for-purpose, and of the highest safety specifications," said Lorenz Nehring, UK business development manager for Ampelmann, a developmer of offshore access systems.
The floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessel is the world's most widely used floating production system, with 218 units worldwide installed or on order. Yet, despite the United States offshore industry's major advance into remote, deepwater projects, there are only two FPSO vessels in the US Gulf of Mexico (GOM). Speaking to the Rice Global Engineering and Construction Forum at Rice University in Houston in June, floating systems consultant Peter Lovie, who has worked on FPSO-related projects for more than 2 decades of a 50-year engineering career, gave a close-up view of the persistent effort to bring FPSO facilities to the US gulf. His talk was titled "2016 and Two FPSOs in the US GOM: The Twenty-Year Saga." An FPSO vessel produces oil through onboard wells or is connected to subsea producing wells and in some cases receives oil from nearby production facilities.
The lower tertiary formation found in the pre-salt layers of the Gulf of Mexico has become a proving ground for extending what is possible when completing multistage fracturing in ultradeepwater wells. The stimulation vessels that pump fracturing fluids, acids, and proppant into these wells are key to achieving the volume of production needed to make them profitable. Baker Hughes operates one of the industry's youngest fleets of such vessels in the North Sea and offshore west Africa, Brazil, and Vietnam. But because of the strength of lower tertiary rocks and the pressure required to improve contact between the well and the formation, some of the company's newest and most advanced vessels are reserved for the Gulf. One of them, the Blue Dolphin, is the world's first 20,000-psi stimulation vessel.
The unprecedented search effort for Malaysian Airlines flight 370 has yet to achieve its main goal of locating the vanished aircraft and the 227 persons on board. However, it has served as an endurance test of sorts for offshore surveying systems such as the autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), which just a couple of years ago was considered an emerging technology with a small track record. Edward Saade, president of the ocean surveying firm Fugro Pelagos, the company contracted by the Australian government to carry out much of the search operation, said he knows of no other commercial project where AUVs have been successfully deployed for such an extensive period of time. Speaking at the 2016 Offshore Technology Conference in Houston, Saade said that to cover large swaths of subsea terrain as quickly as possible and capture high-resolution data, Fugro first deployed vessels equipped with conventional deep-tow side scanning sonar. Then starting in January of last year, the AUV vessel was deployed from Perth.
Allseas Engineering's giant new offshore construction vessel has a new name, prior to its first job. What was once the Pieter Schelte is now the Pioneering Spirit. The change occurred in early February after Jewish groups protested that the original namesake, a pioneer in creating the heavy lift offshore business, supported the Nazi war effort by serving in the SS during World War II. The company said the vessel's new name, "reflects what she stands for: a new technological step in platform installation and decommissioning. It also fits the 30-year tradition of Allseas to pioneer and surpass technical boundaries."
The installation of flowlines in ever-deeper and -more-remote areas requires specific technologies for precommissioning. Coiled tubing can be a solution; however, offshore precommissioning can require coiled tubing to be deployed several times for durations sometimes exceeding a month and requires larger diameters. Therefore, a campaign was initiated to characterize the behavior of coiled tubing under combined plastic and elastic fatigue. In addition, an innovative bend-stiffener design was developed to control the stress levels in the coiled tubing at the hang-off location. Precommissioning is a critical part of flowline installation and operation.