Offshore Technology Focus: Issue 56

In this issue: Progress with automated subsea platforms, extracting Japan’s methane hydrate reserves, GE’s digital rig project, Aberdeen’s future as a hub for UK oil, Ghana’s deepwater potential, an alternative to seismic airguns, and more.


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A number of companies are developing competing systems to take the offshore oil and gas platform underwater, with a completely submerged concept that would transform platforms into unmanned, self-sufficient oil and gas extraction factories. The operational and safety benefits of the technology are clear, but who will be the first to make the breakthrough? We check in on the race to the bottom.

We also speak to GE about its plans to improve the cost and operational efficiency of rigs with data analytics, look at Geokinetics’ AquaVib technology which promises a safer alternative to seismic airguns, and find out about new deepwater facilities being developed for Ghana. Plus, we hear about Aberdeen’s future role as a hub for the UK’s oil industry, and find out about the potential of Japan’s methane hydrate reserves.

In this issue

Aberdeen’s Future
Stagnant oil prices and decommissioning in the North Sea have led to concerns about the future of Europe’s oil capital, Aberdeen. Ross Davies asks whether the city’s fortunes can be reversed.
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Fire and Ice
Resource-poor Japan has just begun its second test extraction of methane hydrates, a highly abundant source of natural gas mostly found under the sea. Molly Lempriere asks what the development of this resource could mean for the country.
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A Safer Alternative?
Seismic airguns have proven controversial, with some claiming they may pose risks to marine wildlife. Molly Lempriere takes a look at a potential alternative, the AquaVib Marine Vibrator developed by Geokinetics.
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Digital Solutions
GE and Noble have partnered to develop a Digital Rig, aiming to improve operational efficiency and cut expenditure by 20% with the help of data analytics. Patrick Kingsland finds out more from Andrew McKeran, marine executive at GE’s Marine Solutions division.
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The Race to Bottom
Competing systems are in development for completely submerged, unmanned oil and gas platforms. Patrick Kingsland asks Bjørn Rasch, head of subsea power at Siemens, who will get there first.
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A Growth Story
GE Oil & Gas has expanded its presence in Ghana with a new facility at Takoradi Port, as well as a commitment to providing training for Ghanaian personnel. Abi Millar finds out more from Ado Oseragbaje, GE’s president and CEO for Sub-Saharan Africa.
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Next issue preview

BP and Total’s deepwater drilling project near the Amazon Reef have suffered a setback after a regional agency recommended the suspension of environmental licensing, which could force the companies to start a new environmental impact assessment. We take a look at the project’s potential and its impact on the surrounding coastline.

We also check in on the findings of the Arctic Oil Spill Response Technology Joint Industry Programme, and find out why the US Government is reviewing the Well Control Rule, which tightened requirements for blowout preventers as a result of failures during the BP disaster.

Plus, hear from BP about skills and recruitment, check in on Shell’s progress with decommissioning the Brent Field, and speak to the developers of a new type of safety clothing designed to better protect offshore workers during emergencies such as helicopter accidents.

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