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Tracerco Awarded Smart Tracer Technology Contract for Statoil's Mariner Field

International oil and gas service provider, Tracerco, part of FTSE100 firm Johnson Matthey Plc has landed a contract to provide smart tracer technology for flow measurement of six new wells in Statoil's Maureen reservoir of the Mariner field in the UK North Sea.

Heavy oil was discovered at the field in 1981, but has remained inaccessible until now. Alternative technology implemented by Statoil has made producing from the discovery viable. As part of field development Tracerco's smart tracers will enable fluid inflow measurement of both oil and water in various zones within the long horizontal wells that would not easily be accomplished using traditional production logging technologies (PLT).

The Mariner Field is located on the East Shetland Platform of the UK North Sea approximately 150km east of the Shetland Isles. Image Courtesy: Statoil

Tracerco's technology, known as a Tracer Production Log (TPL), can be deployed without interruption to well production and allows operators to gain a better understanding of their production inflow by monitoring both the oil and water phases at a fraction of the cost of a traditional PLT.

The contract was awarded to Tracerco based on several factors including: the flexibility of tracer integration into the specified screen design; the proven excellence of its service; and the tracer lifetime performance which can extend to several years.

Nils Gunnar Sætherø, Mariner Petroleum Technology manager commented: "Statoil Aberdeen is focused on ensuring an efficient ramp-up of the Mariner field to production plateau and we see the use of chemical tracers as a key technology for the verification of well clean-up as well as improved well productivity understanding.

We believe the use of chemical tracers gives the optimum cost benefit to the Mariner project in the current economic climate and look forward to working with Tracerco to achieve this goal."

The project is due to commence in Q2 2016 and Tracerco's technology will be deployed to measure clean out efficiency initially, with further measurements being provided into the life of the wells.

Stuart Brown, Head of Business Development for Tracerco said: "We have a great working relationship with Statoil, and are delighted to be working with them on this exciting new development of the Mariner Field. We have been providing smart tracer technology to the UK North Sea region for over 30 years, and despite the drop in overall oil price, we have seen encouraging take-up on our TPL globally. This contract is an excellent example of where operators see value in our technology, as they seek to reduce lift costs.

"Our innovative TPL technology can allow operators to gain effective production data without running a PLT or any well intervention for that matter. In this case, it has helped to bridge the data gap where a PLT is not possible, however we are seeing more and more operators considering it as an alternative to PLTs due to the significant cost savings it delivers on rig time and in the reduction of risk. Plus, it has the clear advantage of giving repeatable measurement over several years without any wires or intervention. All that is required is regular sampling and analysis."

Tracerco is the industry pioneer in developing smart tracer technology for reservoir characterization and continues to invest in cutting-edge tracer research and development. Its commitment to continuous technology innovation promises to deliver many exciting new solutions to customers in the years ahead.

Fugro Awarded A Three-Year Positioning Contract By PGS

Fugro has been awarded a three-year contract by PGS for the provision of precise satellite positioning systems for its entire seismic vessel fleet.

PGS is a leading global provider of marine seismic and electromagnetic services, data acquisition, imaging, reservoir services and multi-client library data.

Fugro, the world’s leading provider of precise satellite positioning to the offshore oil and gas industry, will supply PGS vessels with a number of completely independent Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS). These systems include Fugro’s recently launched Starfix.G4 - the first commercial GNSS service to utilise all available GNSS systems (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and BeiDou), giving sub-decimetre accuracy - and Starfix.G2+, a global service offering centimetre accuracy in both position and height.

In addition to precise vessel positioning, PGS will benefit from a new generation of positioning technology for their seismic sources and tailbuoys. Meeting the high demand for robustness and quality in the offshore industry, this proactive technology provides independent decimetre and centimetre positions and heights for remote (seismic source and tailbuoy) operations.

Cerys James, VP Technical at PGS remarked, “Reliable, precise positioning technology is essential for modern seismic operations. The solution supplied by Fugro will ensure our entire fleet has highly accurate vessel positioning, along with precise source and streamer positioning.”

University of Gothenburg Acquires Leading-Edge Winch for Scientific Research

Antarctica expedition benefits from a state-of-the-art remotely operated vehicle (ROV) winch supplied by MacArtney Underwater Technology. An icebreaking polar supply and research vessel is to map out underwater conditions in the icy waters in terms of subsurface and marine life.

MERMAC R10 AHC - Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Winch to go on its first expedition to Antarctica

The winch system, which was acquired through Swedish SubSea Solutions on the part of University of Gothenburg, will be put to good use on board South African icebreaking polar supply and research vessel S. A. Agulhas II designed to carry out scientific research and supply to South African research stations in Antarctica. Soon it will be heading for Antartica to carry out various underwater explorations, and on board the vessel a MERMAC R10 AHC ROV winch with active heave compensation (AHC) has been installed to ensure dependable and high-quality performance of the studies in question.

The actual winch system

The system supplied is an electrically driven winch ensuring robust and advanced handling systems which safely control the launch, operation and recovery of work class and inspection ROV systems. The winch is extremely dependable, offers high performance and is easy to use. Its design is compact and consists of modular systems. Several components are standardized, making it easy to specify, adapt or upgrade to the performance and capacity required.

-To the MacArtney Group mutual trust and cooperativeness are essential features of succeeding when carrying out cooperation and teamwork with our customers, says MacArtney Vice President of Sales & Marketing Hans-Jørgen Hansen adding: MacArtney is very pleased to provide quality underwater technology to empower the important scientific ocean exploration that is undertaken by the University of Gothenburg and its marine science partners.

Seatronics Delivers Significant Cost Savings with Meridian Ocean Services in Mexico

Seatronics, an Acteon company, has successfully completed a project with marine services organization Meridian Ocean Services (Meridian) in Mexico. The aim of the project was to inspect and chart existing pipelines along the coast of Ciudad Del Carmen, and required a full survey equipment spread utilising a Forum Comanche ROV.

As a light work class ROV would be inappropriate for the type of planned inspection (due to the payload capacity of 250 kg) Seatronics proposed the implementation of the RTS Gen 5 Multiplexer as a suitable solution for the identified issue, as well as the use of a technician to help with the integration of the electronics to the ROV. The technology provided by Seatronics enabled Meridian to run the equipment while utilizing the Comanche’s native 300 voltage direct current (VDC) power supply. Additional buoyancy was also added by Meridian. This enabled a smaller ROV to be used to complete a project that would normally require a much larger vehicle.

John Dunn, engineering and technical manager, Meridian, said, “The project goal was to determine the integrity of the pipe laid previously within the area. Seatronics provided continuous support during the pre-mobilization period for a challenging ROV integration and changing customer requirements in a short time frame. The equipment provided performed effectively and Seatronics’ support in various challenges during the project enabled its successful completion. The innovative configuration we developed made deployment of a smaller ROV spread possible; eliminating the requirement for a work class vehicle to perform the complex project, and delivering significant cost savings.”

The full range of equipment supplied for the project by Seatronics included the Gen 5 Multiplexer; two R2 Sonic 2024 multibeam systems; an Teledyne Workhorse DVL system; an Octans Fiber Optic Gyro; a TSS - 440 pipe tracker; a Tritech bathymetric system and a Sidus green line laser. Seatronics facilitated full factory acceptance testing prior to mobilisation with the supply of subsea cabling, manufactured in-house by Seatronics, providing the client with everything required to ease potential issues during mobilisation.

Phil Middleton, group managing director, Seatronics, said, “Our customers want to guarantee that all project elements are carried out in a cost-effective and efficient manner. With this in mind, Seatronics is dedicated to providing our customers with custom-built marine technology solutions whilst complying with all project restrictions. Following on from our success in this project, we are planning to work again with Meridian on an additional project, due to mobilise in the near future, with the same equipment spread utilised to great effect in Ciudad Del Carmen.”

CGG GeoConsulting Introduces Seep Explorer and GLOGOS

CGG GeoConsulting announces that it has acquired GLOGOS, the Global Onshore Gas-Oil Seeps data set, from Gas Consult. GLOGOS will be incorporated into the new Seep Explorer, creating the world’s only onshore and offshore fully-attributed GIS-based seeps product suite for regional-to-prospect source de-risking.

Hydrocarbon seep detection from satellite imaging maps the location and repeatability of naturally occurring oil seepage offshore and is a recognized and valuable tool for New Ventures and Exploration teams and has been adopted by the majority of the major international oil companies.

6-1CGG1Combined coverage of GLOGOS, FFD and FRogi Seeps, adding verification data to the Global Offshore Seepage Database.

The main component of Seep Explorer is NPA Satellite Mapping’s GOSD, the Global Offshore Seeps Database in GeoConsulting’s portfolio of products. Additional layers of data have been developed for GOSD to provide validation and further information on the origin of the seeps. These include a Fluid Features Database (FFD) of seabed fluid escape features and onshore seeps from Robertson’s FRogi dataset which characterizes the hydrocarbons. With more than 20 years of interpretation on over 23,000 satellite scenes covering all offshore basins in the current database, GOSD is recognized as the premier product in the industry.

Richard Burren, Director of CGG GeoConsulting’s NPA Satellite Mapping, said: “We have created Seep Explorer to reflect the unique combination that we can now offer with GOSD, our flagship offshore seeps database, and the GLOGOS onshore seeps database. It is the industry’s only integrated seepage database and reflects CGG’s strategy to offer the industry the highest-quality exploration screening tools. Seep Explorer is available now either on a subscription basis or as a one-off purchase.”

Repeating natural hydrocarbon seepage slicks in the Mexican Gulf, each colour representing the slick position on 5 separate dates, validating it as a high-confidence natural slick in this well-known and and active hydrocarbon basin (courtesy of NPA Satellite Mapping).

Mark Weber, Senior Vice President of CGG GeoConsulting, said: “With Seep Explorer, we have created a reference product suite in the industry that will help New Ventures and Exploration teams better assess source risk in all phases of exploration. We now routinely use these data in the planning and interpretation of our new generation of integrated seismic and geologic multi-client studies such as South East Barents and the Gabon South Basin. Seep Explorer is the latest innovation in GeoConsulting’s rich portfolio of integrated global and regional multi-client geological products that form a central part of CGG’s geoscience offering.”

ROVOP Secures £3m in Contract Awards

This work, awarded during November, with four new clients is based in multiple geographic locations in the North Sea, Mediterranean and West Africa and includes survey, plough support, unexploded ordnance (UXO) survey, cable repair and construction. As well as SAAB Seaeye remotely operated vehicles, the contracts will see four of ROVOP’s fleet of FMC Technologies Schilling Heavy Duty (HD) vehicles being mobilized.

Euan Tait, commercial director, said: “Having very recently joined ROVOP, I am encouraged by both the contract awards and positive momentum in building our future pipeline of work in what remains a challenging market.

“Current market conditions have resulted in clients re-evaluating their requirements. These wins are a testament to ROVOP’s ability to lower total project cost by using more efficient automated, modular systems with diagnostics that save vessel and rig time in the field. We believe the industry will increasingly look to solutions like ROVOP to meet business objectives. ”

Story Map Navigates Cause and Effects of Climate Change

Esri's Atlas for a Changing Planet Story Map Delivers Geographic Insight for Sustainable

Planning and Development

Esri, a world leader in geographic information system technology, has released an interactive map illustrating the earth's natural and human systems and how they have changed—and will change—over time. With the Atlas for a Changing Planet Story Map, scientists, policy makers, planners, and activists can examine detailed spatial information that is critical for adapting to a warmer future.

"Mitigating the effects of climate change is a global, geographic challenge," said Jack Dangermond, president of Esri. "Understanding how the earth's systems interact and transform is an essential first step in measuring the threat of climate change and making informed decisions to reduce it."

Atlas for a Changing Planet explores a sample of maps, imagery, and data from Esri ArcGIS Online. The Story Map covers five themes: understanding natural systems, mapping human systems, mapping ocean impacts, predicting the future, and international cooperation.

Complex issues, processes, and concepts—such as biomass and ocean acidification—are clearly and succinctly explained with maps and multimedia. For example, users visualize the density of carbon stored in living plants (biomass) with an explanation of how this information is key to estimating how land-use change affects the climate. Interactive maps illustrate which areas will be severely affected by rising sea levels, the changes in sea ice extents in the Arctic Ocean, and population growth in urban cities around the world.

The Story Map also models data from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in three scenarios. With this data, users navigate the Story Map to see projected changes in temperature and precipitation based on the level at which greenhouse gas emissions increase or decrease over time.

Esri created the Story Map in time for the November 30 start of the United Nations 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21). World leaders are gathering at the annual meeting to negotiate an international agreement with the goal of keeping global warming's increase below 2 degrees Celsius.

See the Atlas for a Changing Planet Story Map at For more information on Esri Story Map, click here.

Sky’s not the Limit for Oceanographers

US oceanographer and astronaut, Dr. Kathryn Sullivan visited the National Oceanography Centre and met with young scientists starting out in their research careers.

The former astronaut is now the head of NOAA – the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. She also met the senior team from the National Oceanography Centre to discuss ways US and UK oceanographers can work together to learn more about the global ocean.

During her visit Dr. Sullivan met with a group of international PhD students studying at the Graduate School of National Oceanography Centre Southampton (GSNOCS) for a question and answer session. The Graduate School has around 200 students working with scientists from the National Oceanography Centre and the University of Southampton. 

Dr. Sullivan inspects an Autonomous Surface Vehicle at NOC's Marine Robotics Innovation Centre

Dr. Sullivan has flown on three separate space shuttle missions – aboard Challenger, Discovery and Atlantis – logging more than 530 hours in space. She also became the first American woman to perform a spacewalk. Now she heads up one of the biggest science agencies in the world. In addition to oceanography, NOAA supports weather forecasts, storm warnings and climate monitoring along with fisheries management and marine commerce.

Welcoming Dr. Sullivan to the National Oceanography Centre, Executive Director Professor Ed Hill said: “We are keen to explore areas where there could be further collaboration between ourselves and our US colleagues. Researching the global ocean requires global partnerships – it is too big a subject for any one institute or country.”

While at the centre, Dr. Sullivan had a tour of the National Oceanography Centre’s new Marine Robotics Innovation Centre, which is developing robot sub, glider, robot surface vehicle and sensor technology to assist studies of the ocean environment. The two research vessels operated by the centre, Royal Research Ships Discovery and James Cook are both on research expeditions in the mid Atlantic.

DNV GL Study Calls for Technology Improvements to Reduce Costs for Barents Sea Developments

By Cathrine Torp

OG21 has received the DNV GL study of technologies that should be developed for year-round oil and gas production at 74 degrees North in the Norwegian Barents Sea. New licenses are due to be awarded in this area as part of the Norwegian 23rd licensing round.

The report concludes that technology solutions are fairly mature, but need to be adopted for Norwegian waters. This would be possible within a 8-10 year time frame, which is also the earliest one can expect first oil or gas in the licenses.

"We have identified close to 30 challenges to enable year-round oil and gas production in the area," says DNV GL – Oil & Gas Divisional Director for Europe and Africa, Liv Hovem. "To improve the business case for developments in this part of the shelf, key enhancing technologies within drilling, including large bore wells, as well as reservoir performance, gas compression, subsea facilities and power supply are important to mature. Many leading companies are already well underway to develop these technologies, but more needs to be done to make year round production in 8-10 years realistic."

Technology helps cut costs

"These enhancing technologies also strengthen the business case for field developments in the area, through increased recovery or reduction in capex or opex," says Per Olav Moslet, DNV GL - Oil & Gas Senior Principal Engineer, and an expert on Arctic technologies.

"These locations are among the northernmost locations that are open for petroleum activities in Norway. As the study shows, some elements of the physical environment are more demanding than elsewhere on the NCS, for example the possibility of ice, marine icing, polar lows and fog, while other elements such as waves and wind, are less severe. The study also shows that fairly mature technologies that can solve these challenges are underway," says Per Olav Moslet.

The study has been carried out in close cooperation with OG21 and their Technology Target Area groups. The technologies have been assessed based on three potential field development scenarios: oil production from an FPSO in the south-western Barents Sea, subsea oil production in the south-western Barents Sea and gas production from an FPSO in the south-eastern Barents Sea.

Operations in similar environments exist already

"There are already operations in similar environments in other places in the world, like in the Sakhalin area in Russia and Grand Banks, Canada. This means that some technologies from these areas can also be adapted for use in these areas on the NCS," says Per Olav Moslet.

In addition to the five technologies for cost cutting and production enhancement above, 11 technologies and technology areas that need to be matured in the same timeframe to facilitate operations in this area have also been identified:

1. Escape, evacuation and rescue infrastructure

2. Environmental risk models

3. Detection and monitoring technology of oil in and under ice

4. Ice detection, forecasting, surveillance systems

5. Ice handling systems

6. Same season relief well capability

7. Ice load prediction models

8. Escape, evacuation and rescue technology

9. Oil spill response technology

10. Personal Protection and Emergency Equipment

11. Winterization solution


Official Opening of the NOC’s Marine Robotics Innovation Centre

A £3 million centre to develop new technology for the emerging marine robotics sector was officially opened by Science Minister, Jo Johnson, on 23 November 2015.

Addressing some of the leading figures in marine technology development, Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities and Science said: “I was honored to open the new Marine Robotics Innovation Centre at the UK's world class National Oceanography Centre in Southampton. The UK is leading the way in marine science and this new facility will help to put wind in the sails of our marine industry."

The National Oceanography Centre’s (NOC) Marine Robotics Innovation Centre will be a hub for businesses developing autonomous platforms, with novel sensors that will be used to cost-effectively capture data from the world's oceans.

Jo Johnson visits the Marine Robotics Innovation Centre

Professor Ed Hill, the NOC’s Executive Director, said “The launch of the Marine Robotics Innovation Centre is a very important development, because it is all about turning great science into great innovation for the benefit of the UK economy.

 Autonomous measurement systems for the ocean have grown out of demands for frontier science in extreme environments. Much like space science, oceanography too creates spin-offs which bring technologies back into more everyday use for a wide range of applications.

Marine Autonomous Systems offer to transform the work of many sectors, including environmental monitoring. For example, they will improve data collection for weather and climate prediction, for defense, and for the emerging needs of offshore energy and other industries. Not only are there multiple applications but the UK also has a diverse, vibrant sector of small technology companies able to take the innovations to wider markets. We will be working alongside several of these companies in the centre and engaging with the associate members, who are likely to be major users of the technology developed there.”

There was a program of tours, events and seminars throughout the day, given by business leaders, engineers and academics associated with the marine autonomous systems sector.

The Marine Robotics Innovation Centre has been operational since the summer of 2015. Planet Ocean Ltd, ASV and SeeByte Ltd have already moved into the centre, which provides office and testing facilities along with access to specialist instrumentation.

The NOC has been working with leading people from industry and academia in the development of vehicles, battery design, and operational procedures. Advance training for PhD engineers coordinated by NOC has also recently been announced.

Funded through the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), from the Science Minister's 'Eight Great Technologies' initiative, the Innovation Centre cements NOC’s position as a UK leader in marine autonomous systems.

U.S. and Cuba to Cooperate on Conservation and Management of Marine Protected Areas

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Park Service (NPS) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Cuba’s Ministry of Science, Technology, and Environment (CITMA). The MOU aims to facilitate joint efforts concerning science, stewardship, and management related to Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). The MOU also includes a sister MPA program to foster conservation and understanding of natural marine resources in both countries, sharing technical and scientific data, and promoting education and outreach initiatives.

The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries serves as the trustee for a network of underwater parks encompassing more than 170,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters from Washington state to the Florida Keys, and from Lake Huron to American Samoa. The network includes a system of 13 national marine sanctuaries and Papahānaumokuākea and Rose Atoll marine national monuments.

“We recognize we all share the same ocean and face the same challenges of understanding, managing, and conserving critical marine resources for future generations,” said Dr. Kathryn Sullivan, NOAA administrator, who was in Cuba for the signing of the agreement. “The opportunity for international cooperation in marine conservation is invaluable and this moves us closer to ensuring a healthy and productive ocean for everyone.”

National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said, “Cooperation among protected area managers of Cuba and U.S. national park and marine sanctuaries is a great way to preserve our shared natural heritage of the wider Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico regions. After all, fish, marine mammals, sea turtles, birds and other marine life exist in ecosystems that rarely fall within maps drawn by man.”

The initial sister MPA relationship will focus on Guanahacabibes National Park in Cuba, including its offshore Bank of San Antonio, and the Flower Garden Banks and Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuaries, managed by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, and the Dry Tortugas and Biscayne national parks managed by the National Park Service.

Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, developed on salt domes rising above the sea floor in the Gulf of Mexico, provides habitat for a variety of tropical wildlife, including hundreds of shallow water Caribbean reef fish and invertebrates, manta rays, whale sharks and coral heads bigger than cars.

Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary protects the world’s third largest barrier reef and is home to one of North America’s most diverse communities of underwater plants and animals. Nearly 6,000 marine species inhabit the coral reefs, mangrove forests, seagrass meadows and other habitats of the Florida Keys.

Guanahacabibes National Park, one of Cuba’s largest protected areas, was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1987. With diverse marine and coastal habitats the park is one of the most important places in Cuba where sea turtles come ashore to lay eggs and protects one of Cuba’s healthiest coral reef ecosystems. The offshore Banco de San Antonio supports a lush coral reef ecosystem located at the confluence of the currents that flow from the Caribbean into the Gulf of Mexico. As a result, the bank’s coral reefs are importantly placed to have significant influences on the condition of coral reefs in the Gulf of Mexico and South Florida.

NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries serves as trustee for a network of underwater parks, encompassing more than 170,000 square miles of America’s ocean and Great Lakes waters. The network includes 13 national marine sanctuaries and Papahānaumokuākea and Rose Atoll marine national monuments. Through active research, management, and public engagement, national marine sanctuaries sustain healthy environments that are the foundation for thriving communities and stable economies.

BOEM Announces Mike Celata as Regional Director for the Gulf of Mexico Regional Office

Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) Director Abigail Ross Hopper today announced Mike Celata as the Regional Director of the Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) Region. Celata, who starts his position immediately, has been with BOEM and its predecessors since 1988. He served as Acting Regional Director prior to his selection.The Gulf of Mexico Region is responsible for managing more than 4,600 active leases over 25 million acres of land on the OCS.

“Mike has many years of service with the agency, working on aspects of the OCS energy program and on regional and national ocean policy initiatives,” said BOEM Director Abigail Ross Hopper. “His collaborative management style, public engagement experience and ability to seek out opportunities that strike a balance between resource development and environmental protection make him a perfect fit for overseeing our program in the Gulf.”

After receiving a B.A. in geology and physics from Bowdoin College in 1980, Celata attended the Boston College Master of Science Program where he was a seismological research assistant. He began his career as a geophysicist with Exxon in 1984.

For the past 20 years, Celata has held varying positions of increased responsibility with BOEM. He has served as principal authority to enhance the development, acquisition and implementation of geoscience and petroleum engineering software at the agency, providing guidance and expertise for the effective use and management of geological and geophysical (G&G) data. As Chief of Resource Studies from 2005 to 2010, he provided oversight for geological play assessments, petrophysical analysis, and G&G permitting for the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic OCS. As deputy regional supervisor of Resource Evaluation, he oversaw the implementation of worst case discharge reviews. Before becoming acting Regional Director, Celata served as Deputy Regional Director in the Gulf of Mexico Region.

Celata is a member of the Society of Exploration Geophysicists, where he was a District 3 Representative for the Executive Committee from 2006 to 2009. As Regional Director, he plans to emphasize environmental science, operational efficiency and technology use at BOEM. He also plans to increase stakeholder outreach.

DNV GL Conducts Largest Ever Controlled Release of CO2 from an Underwater Pipeline

Carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) is gaining momentum to meet stringent climate change goals and secure energy supplies for the future. To fully understand the environmental and safety implications associated with the development of CO2 pipelines, DNV GL is conducting the oil and gas industry’s largest ever controlled release of carbon dioxide from an underwater pipeline at its full-scale Spadeadam Testing and Research Centre, located in Cumbria, UK.

The planned underwater release, scheduled to start in January, is part of an international Joint Industry Project (JIP) ‘Sub-C-O2’ to develop safety guidelines on the use of offshore CO2 pipelines. Companies participating in the JIP are Norway’s Gassnova, Brazil’s Petrobras, the UK government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change, the UK’s National Grid and DNV GL. Italy’s ENI is expected to join the JIP in early 2016.

This is the second experimental phase which will run for three months and will involve releases in a 40-metre diameter, 12-metre deep pond at the Spadeadam Testing and Research Centre, which is located in Cumbria, UK.

“This is the largest experimental investigation to date of underwater CO2 releases which will study the effects of depth on measured and observed parameters,“ said Gary Tomlin, VP Safety and Risk, with DNV GL at Spadeadam. “The testing is designed around what is already known about underwater natural gas (methane) leaks and the possible occurrence of CO2 hydrates collecting on pipework. By using high-speed, underwater cameras and other measurement techniques, we can examine the configuration and characteristics of the released gas. It will allow us to see whether it reaches the surface and analyze what happens.”

The installation of offshore CO2 pipelines linked to depleted subsea gas reservoirs is a possible solution to mitigate CO2 emissions from power plants and large industrial sources. The transportation of CO2 through offshore pipelines may also increase due to enhanced oil recovery programs.

The first phase of experiments are currently underway at Spadeadam and involves small-scale, controlled CO2 releases from a three inch nominal bore pipeline in a 8.5 meter diameter, three meter deep water tank and are expected to be completed by December.

Spadeadam is one of a network of 18 laboratories and testing centers operated by DNV GL on three continents. The facility provides companies with the rare opportunity to undertake full-scale fire, explosion and release experiments, to demonstrate whether equipment and components are fit for purpose, to test new products, techniques or processes, and to provide data to validate computer models. DNV GL are opening a new major hazard training and conference facility at the site in April 2016.

“Developing best practice guidance through this ground breaking project will help the CCUS industry establish itself as it begins the rollout of vital carbon abatement technology,” said Hari Vamadevan, regional manager, UK and Sub Saharan Africa, DNV GL – Oil & Gas. “Spadeadam puts theory and desktop modeling to the test to prove the limits, capabilities and behaviors of both small and large scale operations in real-world situations. The data gathered from this large-scale experimental program will enable adjustments to be made to computer modeling of CO2 dispersion. Even larger-scale, controlled testing in the natural environment may subsequently take place.”

Experimental findings are shared periodically with JIP participants so that next steps can be refined. CO2 testing at Spadeadam will conclude by June 2016.


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