Thursday, October 11, 2007

Satellite Data Used To Warn Oil Industry Of Potentially Dangerous Eddy

Satellite Data Used To Warn Oil Industry Of Potentially Dangerous Eddy

Science Daily Ocean FOCUS began issuing forecasts on 16 February 2006 – just in time to warn oil production operators of a new warm eddy that has formed in the oil and gas-producing region of the Gulf of Mexico.

The model forecast shows the jet along the western edge of the Loop Current weakening, and an intense jet forming along the north eastern Loop front. (Credit: Ocean Numerics 2006)

These eddies, similar to underwater hurricanes, spin off the Loop Current – an intrusion of warm surface water that flows northward from the Caribbean Sea through the Yucatan Strait – from the Gulf Stream and can cause extensive and costly damage to underwater equipment due to the extensive deep water oil production activities in the region.

The Ocean FOCUS service is a unique service that provides ocean current forecasts to the offshore oil production industry to give prior warning of the arrival of eddies. The service is based on a combination of state-of-the-art ocean models and satellite measurements.

Oil companies require early warning of these eddies in order to minimise loss of production, optimise deep water drilling activities and prevent damage to critical equipment.

The Loop Current and eddies shedding from it pose two types of problems for underwater production systems: direct force and induced vibrations, which create more stress than direct force and results in higher levels of fatigue and structural failure.

The impact of these eddies can be very costly in terms of downtime in production and exploration and damage to sub sea components.

Information provided by Ocean FOCUS gives industrial operators an accurate and up-to-date analysis of the present situation to support production management decisions.

In addition, Ocean FOCUS forecasts will be used by oil and gas companies planning major operations such as installing new equipment – which are very sensitive to local conditions and may require prolonged ‘windows’ of low current speed to achieve successful completion.

The Loop Current is presently to the north of its average position, sparking concerns that more eddies could be generated over the next few weeks. The current eddy, dubbed ‘Walker’, was detected breaking away from the Loop Current in mid February.

Ocean FOCUS was developed by Ocean Numerics and is partially supported by the ESA’s Earth Observation Market Development (EOMD) programme. Ocean Numerics and the Ocean FOCUS operators will continue their monitoring to ensure early and reliable detection of further eddies.

Ocean Numerics is a joint venture between France’s Collecte Localisation Satellites (CLS), the UK’s Fugro GEOS and Norway’s Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Centre (NERSC).

Maritime Notes:
Up coming conferences...

08-Oct-07 Maritime Reconnaissance & Surveillance 2007
09-Oct-07 Safer Seas 2007
09-Oct-07 National Maritime Salvage Conference and Expo
10-Oct-07 19th annual Deep Offshore Technology International Conference & Exhibition (DOT)
10-Oct-07 ShipRepair & Conversion 2007
17-Oct-07 Baltic RO-RO & Ferry Conference 2007
18-Oct-07 5th Charting the Course in Welding: US Shipyards
18-Oct-07 2nd Southern Asia Ports, Logistics and Shipping 2007
21-Oct-07 Ocean Innovation 2007: Rise of Maritime Simulation
21-Oct-07 CSCMP's 2007 Annual Conference
22-Oct-07 Networked Public Safety
25-Oct-07 Turkish Shipping Summit 2007
26-Oct-07 CONECT Northeast Cargo Symposium 2007
30-Oct-07 India Shipping Summit 2007

Around the World Today

IAEM Discussion Group:
UN Day of Disaster Reduction
IAEM President addresses IDER Conference and opens 1st IAEM Europa AGM.

USA: SAN DIEGO – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency in San Diego Monday in the wake of a landslide on La Jolla's Mount Soledad that caused $48 million in damage.

The proclamation allows the state Office of Emergency Services to deploy personnel and equipment and to provide other assistance, according to the governor's office. It also clears the way for Caltrans to request an emergency declaration from the federal Highway Administration. Last Wednesday's landslide, which occurred in the 5700 block of Soledad Mountain Road, caused $26 million in public works damages and $22 million in property damage, city officials said over the weekend. Seven homes remain “red-tagged,” which means they have been declared uninhabitable by the city.

AUSTRALIA: Hail storms stretch emergency crews to limit
Hail storms have left a trail of destruction through parts of northern New South Wales today and emergency service workers are struggling to keep up with the damage. The Bureau of Meteorology says hail stones the size of tennis balls have smashed homes and cars during two storms which have since moved off shore but are forecast to return. The city of Lismore, home to about 45,000 people and close to the NSW/Queensland border has been hardest hit. SES spokesman Phil Campbell says they've had some 300 calls for assistance and they're still coming in. A school at Lismore has asked for SES assistance after the storms smashed more than 100 windows at the facility. Churches, police stations and hospitals have also been damaged by the storms. The first and most severe storm hit Lismore about two o'clock (AEST) this afternoon and was followed about an hour later by another wave of large hail stones. Volunteers are expected to work through until about 11 o'clock tonight securing property and will start back at sunrise tomorrow weather permitting.

SUMATRA ISLAND: An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.0 hit off west coast of Indonesia's Sumatra Island. There were no immediate reports of deaths, injuries or damage. The epicenter of the quake was located about 129 kilometers southwest of the city of Padang, at a depth of 20 kilometers. So far no tsunami warning has been issued.

VIETNAM: The Vietnamese villages are under muddy water that reeks with the stench of dead animals. The worst floods in decades that followed last week's typhoon have left hundreds of homes submerged and rice fields under water. Food shortages and water-borne diseases were major concerns. Families are forced to cower on higher floors and rooftops, surviving on the little water and food they have. 34,000 soldiers have been deployed in order to distribute instant noodles, drinking water, medicines and other emergency supplies by helicopter and boat. Authorities and relief agencies struggle to deliver aid.

UGANDA: Flooding in Uganda, a country that has been worst hit by torrential rains and flash floods, makes the thousands of its inhabitants face severe food shortages and malnutrition. The risk of a cholera epidemic is also very serious because of reduced access to clean water. Rescue agencies say 1 million people are affected, and 20 people have died but with more rain expected the toll might climb.

USA: Cleveland, Ohio, student goes on gun rampage
A 14-year-old student has shot himself dead after going on a shooting spree at his school in the US city of Cleveland, Ohio, the city's mayor has said. Mayor Frank Jackson said five people were wounded when the teenager entered the SuccessTech Academy and walked down a corridor on the fourth floor firing. Two teenage boys and two adults were shot while a teenage girl injured her knee while fleeing, Mr Jackson said.

NIGERIA: Vaccine-linked polio hits Nigeria
Nigeria is fighting a rare outbreak of a vaccine-derived form of polio, says the UN's World Health Organization. It says 69 children in the north have caught the paralysing disease from others who had already been immunised. The WHO says such rare outbreaks have occurred where immunisation campaigns did not reach enough of the population.