PRESS RELEASE: December 2008 E&P Magazine Article Highlights RPSEA and RPSEA Members

Offshore R&D Pushes the Limits
Operators, engineering firms, service companies, classification societies, and universities are working together to develop the technologies that will take the offshore industry into deeper water, extreme high-pressure/high-temperature environments, and frigid operating conditions.

These are exciting times for innovators in the oil and gas industry.

The depth and breadth of technology development under way today exceeds anything the industry has seen in the past, and more of the R&D projects in the works are collaborative efforts that team not only the different sectors of the industry, but include universities, government agencies, and other high-tech industries.

Though there has been progress across the board, some of the most interesting projects deal with riser technology, floating production, arctic operations, high-pressure/high-temperature (HP/HT) environments, subsea production and processing, flow assurance, and integrated operations (IO).

Reaching deep

In 2003, the American Bureau of Shipping (ABS) certified the use of aluminum alloy for risers (AAR) for Noble Drilling. Since that time, risers made of this material have been deployed on vessels in the Gulf of Mexico (GoM) and offshore Brazil. The industry is now testing deployment of ultra-deepwater AARs that can be installed in 10,000 ft (~3,000 m) water depth. Finding a cost-effective way to use composite materials is one of the industry’s goals. Improving riser design and performance is another.

Companies like 2H Offshore, Acergy, Aker Solutions, and Technip are investing in R&D efforts targeting a range of subjects, such as riser integrity monitoring techniques and data processing methods, vortex induced vibration fatigue responses (particularly in the GoM, where loop currents are a concern), fatigue monitoring, deepwater applications (including new installation techniques), weight optimization, and integrity monitoring.

The Research Partnership to Secure Energy for America (RPSEA) is also funding a number of projects that target riser technology. Two such projects are being led by Tejas Research & Engineering. One is investigating fatigue performance of high-strength riser materials subjected to sour environments, and the other is researching issues related to extreme reach in ultra-deepwater applications. A third RPSEA-funded project incorporates technology from the robotics industry.
Click here to view the entire article on E&P Magazine's website.
Judy Maksoud
Author: Judy Maksoud
Category: rpsea in the news