Innovation has always been key to the oil & gas industry and recent years have seen some exciting developments, particularly in subsea technology. For example, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) . . . independent robotic, programmable vehicles . . . have highly advanced capabilities so they may be more cost effective than alternatives, or allow access to previously unreachable areas.
There’s not a quick fix solution to the range of issues currently facing the subsea industry.
The oil price collapse is dominating the current news cycle, with Brent dropping below $28 a barrel for the first time in over 12 years. This continuous dramatic fall spanning 18 months has raised concerns over the future development of many offshore oil & gas fields.
“The problem that the UK had was realised before we had this oil price crash,” Gordon said. “Our costs were spiralling out of control; the writing was on the wall, but we didn’t do much about it as an industry. The drop amplified and compounded those problems.”
Much of this issue is given over to subsea oil & gas and the crisis that it faces. As the big subsea contractors watch their backlogs shrink and doubtless cringe at the thought of taking delivery of the next seagoing “Swiss Army Knife” ordered during the boom and as firms further down the food chain wonder if they’ll still be in business three . . . six months from now, necessity becomes the mother of invention.
Fugro has completed work on the burial of export cables at the Gemini offshore wind park, off the Netherlands coast.
A consortium has been awarded a new contract for the engineering, procurement, construction and installation of a major subsea field infrastructure for ONGC.
Aker Solutions has teamed up with Saipem to cooperate on targeted susbea oil and gas development projects worldwide. The company will make the move through a joint work group which will identify opportunities where they can create value for customers by combining Aker's capabilities in subsea products and technologies with Saipem's assets and expertise in engineering, procurement and construction.
Farstad Shipping has won a new three year contract for its CSV Far Sentinel vessel from Subtec. The vessel will carry out delivery of light construction work and other subsea related activities in the Gulf of Mexico.
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It’s been an extraordinary year for the National Subsea Research Initiative (NSRI) whose launch coincided with the global decline in oil price. Project director Gordon Drummond said while the situation added a whole “new dynamic” to what NSRI was trying to do, the body’s creation has been “hugely positive”. Speaking to Energy Voice Drummond said within the subsea sector there remained a lot of activity in the research and development phase of work.
Public confidence in technologies being used in deepwater will be one of the key components to the success of the Subsea Systems Institute (SSI), according to its director. The institution was set up earlier this year with funding from the RESTORE Act on the back of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010. The federal statute was signed into law by President Barack Obama in 2012 after the incident which killed 11 workers and caused significant environmental, ecological and economic damage in the Gulf of Mexico.
Two Robert Gordon University (RGU) graduates have set up their own company specialising in developing innovative underwater products for the energy industry. Ben Grant, 30, who studied electrical and electronic engineering and Alastair McLennan-Murray, 31, an artificial intelligence and robotics graduate, set up Impact Subsea in February, around the time that oil prices hit rock bottom prior to what turned out to be a small and temporary partial recovery. Impact Subsea offers products and solutions to oil & gas, offshore renewables and scientific markets. Its products are used on remotely operated and autonomous underwater vehicles and in “stand-alone” applications. Given the nature of what they offer, the hope is that they can exploit the current crisis.
Scottish subsea service company Ashtead Technology said its Houston office had gained an industry seal of approval for maintaining the highest oil and gas safety and quality standards in the Gulf of Mexico.
Wood Group will lead five new international joint industry projects (JIPs) working alongside operators, contractors and regulators on subsea projects. The projects will run between 2015 and 2018. Wood Group Kenny chief executive Bob MacDonald, said: "Spearheading these critical projects is fundamental to providing solutions to our customers and we look forward to working with the participants to deliver successful JIPs."
Aberdeenshire firm Bibby Offshore is eyeing a £50billion-plus North Sea decommissioning market for further opportunities after completing two major projects this year. Multimillion-pound deals with Endeavour Energy and Tullow Oil SK have given the offshore services company an appetite for more of the kind of projects that will only increase in number as the basin reaches maturity. Endeavour appointed Westhill-based Bibby to carry out work on the Renee and Rubie fields, located in blocks 15/27 and 15/28 of the central North Sea, about 72 miles east of Aberdeen, in a contract lasting 60 days. The project, completed during the past few weeks, saw dive support vessel (DSV) Bibby Sapphire and a construction support ship, the Olympic Ares, recover a variety of subsea equipment.
Advances in remotely operated vehicle (ROV) technology and the challenges posed by a difficult marketplace will be among the topics under the spotlight at Subsea UK’s 2015 ROV Conference in Aberdeen on Friday. The event, which takes place at the Village Hotel, in Kingswells, will welcome industry experts to debate global market outlook, deepwater construction, trenching and mining and operational efficiencies.
An Aberdeenshire remote operated vehicle (ROV) firm has snapped up its partner firm in a deal valued at £1.2million. Aleron Subsea, which specialises in ROV refurbishment, sales and rental has acquired Rovquip, an Aberdeenshire-based ROV tooling manufacturer. Aleron, which was founded by managing director Mike Bisset in 2010, said the deal ads specialist tooling to its products range including ROV skids, BOP shut down systems, cutters and water jetters.
Subsea UK has launched a new support service to bring fresh, young talent into the subsea sector by making it easier for businesses to recruit apprentices.
Wood Group has won a front end engineering and design (FEED) contract for the subsea development of the Talisman Energy Ca Rong Do field offshore Vietnam. The work will be carried out by Wood Group Kenny (WGK) who will also complete comprehensive flow assurance studies. WGK’s Kuala Lumpur office will conduct the work on the subsea FEED and will be supported by other offices in Asia Pacific.
This image shows the largest structure of the Mariner subsea scope holding up traffic in Norway as it was transported from the fabrication yard. The subsea structure, which stands four metres high and 16 metres long, weighs 130 tonnes equivalent to the weight of 10 S-92 helicopters.
FMC Technologies has seen a drop in second quarter revenue which fell 15% from the year before. The company said the figure decreased from $1.99billion in 2014 to $1.70billion. This was mainly due to decline in North American land market and its impact on the subsea engineering specialist’s surface technologies revenue.
A new online tool will help British subsea firms shift their reliance from the North Sea and instead target the global energy market.
Cameron and Schlumberger company OneSubsea and Chevron have entered into an agreement to form a JIP (Joint Industry Program) to develop subsea systems technology. The subsea development program will try to address the technical challenges presented by high pressure, high temperature reservoir environments for the development of 20,000 psi subsea systems. OneSubsea will lead the JIP by completing a portfolio of technology development projects and managing the evolution of the require enabling technologies.
Underwater Integrity Solutions, which was launched at this year's Offshore Technology Conference, has revealed plans for a subsea roadmap.