Volume 4 Issue 1
February 2009
HOUSTON SPOTLIGHT

The year 2008 can be characterized by both a high volume of bids submitted and more importantly a number of challenging awards.
 
A project was initiated in February to measure near bottom currents in a furrow field in the deep Gulf of Mexico (~2800m).  For this project six instrumented bottom frames were precision deployed with a ROV at selected sites in four furrows.  To keep vessel costs low, data were successfully downloaded acoustically from the frames four and eight months after deployment.  The frames and instruments will be retrieved early this year using acoustic releases at the end of the 12 month deployment period.
 
A year-long coastal measurement program was deployed on the east coast of the U.S., which includes measurements from bottom platforms, subsurface moorings and surface moorings.  This program focuses on detailed current, wave and density measurements.

A year-long measurement program on the North Slope of Alaska began in August.  The program includes measurement of waves, currents and ice thickness from instruments mounted in bottom frames at three sites.
  
A year-long full column, current measurement program at a deepwater site in the Gulf of Mexico was also been awarded and deployed in July.  A second four-mooring program was deployed in December on behalf of a joint industry group.  That deployment cruise was conducted cost effectively through cost sharing of a service visit to the first mooring program.

We were also awarded a contract to design, build and install ADCP moonpool deployment systems on two new-build drillships over the next two years.  The design phase of this project is winding up and will be quickly followed by fabrication, installation and maintenance.  Such systems compared to the more common method deployment of ADCP’s ‘over-the-side’ include improving data quality and reducing risks of equipment damage and loss.
  
A desk study of currents and water temperatures in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico was recently awarded as a precursor to a one year measurement program.

Our platform-based measurement system in Trinidad, which provides meteorological, wave and current profile data in real-time, continues to collect data nearly flawlessly as it reaches two years of continuous operation. 

The first phase of a project to analyze data collected in ADCP surveys of eddies and the Loop Current data for the joint industry group, CASE-EJIP, was been completed and Phase 2 has just been initiated.  The purpose of this project is to better understand the kinematic structure of highly sheared fronts associated with strong current features and thus improve criteria affecting offshore design and operations.

And last, but far from least, provision of oceanographic support personnel to an oceanographic vessel offshore Brazil in partnership with C&C Technologies has been in full swing for over a year.   Standard sub-surface mooring deployments and service visits have continued through the year.  In addition, a surface buoy has been designed, fabricated and deployed  that receives data acoustically from a taut subsurface current mooring and transmits those data to shore via satellite.

As usual, still hanging in the balance are proposals requiring a large range of capabilities from real time systems, moorings and analyses both domestically and internationally. 

 

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