Project Title: Smart Infrastructure Integrity Models to Support Remediation and Inform Safe Use Strategies
Prime Performer: National Energy Technology Laboratory
Project Duration: 2021–2023


Offshore energy production in the Gulf of Mexico is a critical feature of the U.S. energy portfolio. Much of the infrastructure supporting energy production has been operating close to or past its design life, and other infrastructure is at risk of attrition before return on investment. Moreover, these aging permanent and semi-permanent structures are under a range of stressors including wear-and-tear from daily use and are operating in high-risk environments. In addition to the inherent and growing risk of extreme weather events, the Gulf of Mexico presents environmental stressors including metocean conditions (waves, currents, and corrosion) as well as geohazards (e.g., high-pressure high-temperature (HPHT) drilling environments), which threaten the safety and performance of operations and elevate environmental risk. In support of safe and environmentally prudent decision-making, as well as optimizing production opportunities, this project will leverage AIIM: The Advanced Infrastructure Integrity Modeling framework to evaluate the integrity of existing platforms and pipelines. NETL will develop a data-driven, smart tool that incorporates full-system analytics to evaluate the current state of existing fossil energy (FE) infrastructure. This work will offer key insights to help operators, regulators, and other stakeholders strategize the safe and efficient use, reuse, or alternative use and identify potential environmental and operational risks. In addition, this project will apply existing tools from the R&D 100 Awards award-winning Offshore Risk Modeling suite to evaluate environmental and operational impacts.


Year 1 work will focus on building, evaluating, and reviewing (quality assurance/quality control [QA/QC]) the model. This effort will consist of building a series of spatial datasets including platform and pipeline infrastructure, incident reports, metocean variables, geohazard data, and well and production information to drive analytics. The team will also perform exploratory analytics, including causality tests and spatial analyses on the spatial datasets to identify key factors influencing operational capabilities, and uncover spatial and temporal trends. Additionally, exploratory analytics and key findings will be recorded in a paper for future release.

Year 2 will apply smart, machine learning, or advanced analytical models to analyze the current state of platform and pipeline infrastructure in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico. The team will begin development of a tool that integrates smart models to evaluate infrastructure, and develop a database that will represent environmental and operational risks associated with production operations.

Year 3 will focus on leveraging existing tools from the Offshore Risk Modeling suite to spatially assess potential environmental and operational impacts using data acquired and integrated in EY/FY22. Development of the smart tool will be completed and applied to the datasets to evaluate the current state of platform and pipeline infrastructure. Lastly, tool results will be integrated with potential environmental risk assessments. These efforts will be recorded and released in a paper, as well as several presentations.

Expected Outcome

This project will develop a series of offshore infrastructure datasets and analytical frameworks to identify causal relationships and evaluate the current state of production and transport infrastructure to support safe use, reuse, and alternative use optimization strategies. The analytical framework AIIM will be built into a data-driven tool to be integrated into the Offshore Risk Modeling suite. Findings from the tool and existing tools in the Offshore Risk Modeling suite will be applied to perform an environmental impact assessment and will be shared through publication(s) and NETL’s Common Operating Platform.

Research Products

Completion of this project will result in the following research products:

· A data-driven smart tool leveraging the AIIM framework, which will be built up to include several spatial, temporal, and machine learning models including a Bayesian Network, time series analyses, and causality testing.

· A series of infrastructure datasets released through Energy Data eXchange (EDX®) including an updated comprehensive platform dataset, as well as novel pipeline, environmental risk, and operational risk datasets.

· Publications and presentations on the data, analytics, and tool published through NETL and conferences.

Explore research products that are related to this project.

Figure 1. Graphic displaying some external stressors to offshore production platform structures including geohazards, extreme weather events, and environmental conditions. Also included in this graphic are some environmental and operational hazards such as blowouts and collisions.

Figure 2. This project will apply and integrate a series of analytics evaluating integrity into a smart tool, the results of which will offer insights for future energy production and transport, as well as understanding the potential environmental and operational risks.

Figure 3. Data, analytics, and tools resulting from this effort will be released through the NETL Common Operating Platform (COP). This virtual service enables users to visualize, download, and analyze data at the click of a button. The NETL COP platform currently contains more than 500 datasets and tools from the Offshore Risk Modeling suite.

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