Project Description

Project Title: Infrastructure and Metocean Technology
Prime Performer: National Energy Technology Laboratory
Project Duration: 2019-2022

Overview

Strong metocean conditions, such as subsea currents, and natural shifts in the ocean seafloor can have a significant impact on the integrity and longevity of offshore infrastructure. Changes in the ocean environment, such as submarine landslides, can be spurred by strong weather events (e.g., hurricanes) as well as the natural fluctuations in the system over time. These changes can impact safety and cost during oil and gas exploration and production activities, and events to date have been linked to billions of dollars in damage and environmental impacts. As a result, the ever-shifting offshore environment introduces a currently unquantified level of risk and vulnerabilities to a range of offshore energy activities.

This project will leverage historic metocean and bathymetric conditions to develop a new smart technology that will help identify current hazardous metocean and bathymetric conditions as well as forecast changes and potential vulnerabilities that may affect existing or future offshore infrastructure and activities. The result will be a Smart Tool that advances the current state of knowledge of ocean conditions, offering insights to improve infrastructure longevity and support the identification of shallow hazards, thus decreasing cost and improving safety during oil and gas exploration, production, and transportation.

Approach

To successfully develop, train, test, and validate a smart tool requires a significant volume, and often velocity, of data to support the analytics. However, the multi-variate, multi-dimensional and often restricted nature of metocean and bathymetric data has limited the ability of researchers to support these robust analytics until more recently due to the development and broad application of new sensors and sonars.

This project will facilitate the development, training, testing, and validation of a smart technology that uses historic observations of metocean and bathymetric data to identify current hazardous metocean and bathymetric conditions as well as forecast changes and potential vulnerabilities that may impact existing or future offshore infrastructure.

Year 1 will focus on proving the concept — that sufficient, detailed historic data are available to support the development of an analytical framework that uses advanced analytics (such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, and big data capabilities) to forecast and predict metocean and bathymetric hazards and vulnerabilities. If the concept is viable, work in Year 2 will focus on developing the framework and corresponding interactive, online tool to predict potential metocean and bathymetric hazards and vulnerabilities. Year 3 will focus on validating and refining the analytical logic and interactive, online tool based off input from internal and external stakeholders.

Expected Outcome

This project will result in a smart, interactive, online tool to predict potential metocean and bathymetric hazards and vulnerabilities in relation to improving infrastructure longevity, shallow hazard reduction, and offshore EOR innovations. The tool will operate as a plug-in application within EDX’s Geocube, enabling the ability to perform near-real time assessments of current hazards and the support of forecasting areas with higher vulnerabilities. In addition to the tool, key analytical results will also be made available as interactive map layers. Together, this tool and information will aid in the reduction of potential risks to daily oil and gas activities and other offshore energy development (i.e., carbon storage, offshore wind/wave energy, etc.) in the future.

Research Products

Research products are being developed and will be posted here when publicly available.

Explore research products that are related to this project.

Contacts

Jennifer Bauer
Principal Investigator

Kelly Rose
Offshore Portfolio Lead

Roy Long
Offshore Portfolio Technical Manager
Effective Resource Development

Grant Bromhal
Senior Fellow
Geological & Environmental Systems

Philip Reppert
Associate Director
Geological & Environmental Systems

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