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April 27, 2016

Offshore Technology Focus: Issue 42

In this issue: Fracking off the coast of California, learning lessons from the UK motor industry’s rebirth, lifting sanctions on Iran, the state of oilfield services, dolphin-inspired sonar sensors, decommissioning infrastructure, the health of oil and more.

By Ceri Jones

Issue 42 | May 2016

Fracking off the coast of California has been halted after a request for information exposed the full extent of operations, ease of gaining permits and the flimsy or often neglected environmental assessments. Although a common practice that has taken place for decades, the secrecy and underhand nature of the deals have deepened the public’s mistrust. We investigate how this situation has arisen and what will happen next.

Also, we recall the rebirth of the UK automotive industry to see what lessons can be learned for offshore, look into the effects lifting the sanctions on Iran will have on the market, and find out why oilfield services companies are being forced into making severe cuts.

Plus, we hear about a new underwater sonar detection technology, look into the challenges of decommissioning ageing offshore infrastructure, and GlobalData provides insight into the health of oil for the year ahead.

Read this and back issues for free on your iPad through our app, or if you’re on a desktop computer you can also read it in our web viewer.

In this issue

Are Iran’s oil riches unlocked?
Following a record nuclear deal sanctions on Iran are to be lifted, which will have a profound effect on its oil industry. We investigate the impact of unleashing vast quantities of oil into an already oversaturated market.
Read the article.

Content from our partners
How the North of Tyne region is leveraging its legacy to define its future
Q&A with Chevron Lubricants’ Paul Sly, global industrial OEM specialist, and Nathan Knotts, global brand technical manager
The important role of antifoam agents in oil-gas separation and amine treating

The Schlumberger slump
Oil and gas services giant Schlumberger has announced it will cut 10,000 jobs to offset losses of over $1bn. With low prices forcing many oilfield services companies to make severe cuts, we ask, how has it come to this?
Read the article.

Road to recovery: oil’s fiscal take
Almost two years after crude oil prices started dropping, governments are still struggling to maximise their fiscal take while maintaining exploration activities. GlobalData provides an insight into the stability of oil going forward.
Read the article.

Looking to the motor industry
The UK’s offshore industry should take lessons from the unlikely recovery of the country’s now-healthy automobile market. In the 70s and 80s, UK motoring businesses took direct action to survive and eventually grow – but does the comparison hold true?
Read the article.

California fracking
The US Government has agreed to stop its process of approving fracking off the coast of California without any environmental assessments being completed. Although ongoing for years, the extent of fracking was only recently revealed. We a look at the potential dangers of the practice and how this case has unravelled.
Read the article.

Dolphins lead the way in sonar
Researchers at Heriot-Watt University’s Ocean Systems Laboratory have developed sensor technology inspired by bottlenose dophins’ sonar detection abilities, which can identify the structure and composition of underwater objects without any contact. We speak to the team.
Read the article.

Shutting down the Gulf of Mexico
Ageing infrastructure in the mature US Gulf of Mexico offshore market is boosting decommissioning activities, and low oil prices are likely to accelerate that trend. We profile the challenges of decommissioning in the Gulf of Mexico, and the region’s rigs-to-reefs programme.
Read the article.

Next issue preview

Despite collapsing oil prices, many of the world’s mature offshore oil regions are pushing production. The UK North Sea has increased its output and the Gulf of Mexico is expected to hit record levels next year. We ask, why are operations increasing their production instead of waiting for the market to improve?

In exploration, we take a look at BP’s proposal to drill in the Great Australian Bight and its impact on the environment, assess the chance of building developing a successful offshore industry off the coast of Bulgaria (the EU’s poorest country), and find out about the UK’s National Subsea Research Initiative’s project to small oil pockets of hydrocarbons in the North Sea.

Also, we hear from Permasense about monitoring solutions that support offshore rig building, and speak to Lloyd’s Register about a joint industry project to manage the risks posed by onboard gas turbines.

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