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Expanding the Uses of Naval Ocean Science and Technology 4 Industry Technology Needs for the Future The Office of Naval Research (ONR) supports research and development (R&D) in several areas with potential for application outside the Navy. Many marine industries and other nonmilitary users could benefit from some product of ONR research (in such areas as coastal zone management, parks and recreation, shipping and shipbuilding, and commercial weather forecasting). The committee could not explore all possible applications of ONR technology but instead focused its attention on four important, potential user groups. The committee invited representatives of the oil and gas industry (i.e., exploration, production, and pipeline operation), fisheries, environmental companies, and marine equipment and service providers to present their views on the existing and future technology needs of industry. Because of their economic dominance, these four groups represent that segment of the nonmilitary, marine industrial sector that the committee concluded could benefit the most from future ONR-supported research and technology development. OIL AND GAS INDUSTRY Whether measured by payroll, value output, capital investment, geographic reach, or technical complexity, the offshore oil and gas industry (including exploration and production, as well as pipeline operation and maintenance) is this country’s most significant commercial activity offshore. ONR is the most powerful American instrument for marine technology development. Cooperative effort, information interchange, and technology transfer between these two entities appear, however, to be intermittent and incomplete, at best. They are, at
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Expanding the Uses of Naval Ocean Science and Technology worst, nonexistent. There is a need for better mutual disclosure and technical interchange between ONR and the oil and gas industry to maximize private investment in the U.S. national interest. Before addressing the reciprocal transfer of offshore technology between ONR and the private sector, it is helpful to review the existing state of the oil and gas industry with special regard to technology outsourcing and strategic partnering. Specific offshore technology needs can then be more effectively examined and understood. There are two traditional technology strategies in the petroleum industry: (1) companies own all technology, having a full suite of internal capabilities (common among major companies); or (2) companies outsource (i.e., contract out) all technology needs and rely completely on outside suppliers (common among smaller independent companies). A third approach incorporating advantages of both strategies is now emerging in the industry. Some companies are beginning to adopt a strategy in which they own core technologies and outsource the remainder. This allows a company to retain highly focused, business-oriented R&D while relying on suppliers for other support. The change has been driven by cost/benefit analyses, rapid changes in technology, a redundancy and overcapacity of technology supply, formation of strategic business units within corporations, and an increased emphasis on international operations. This new technology acquisition strategy suggests that the offshore oil and gas industry might be open to technology transferred from ONR. Strategic partnering between major corporations and smaller suppliers can be used to achieve alignment between two very different organizations. For strategic partnering to be successful, several factors must be present: (1) mutual trust, (2) multilevel relationships and commitments, (3) appropriate use of core competencies, (4) common goals, (5) cultural and strategic compatibility, (6) integrated decision making and information systems, and (7) open and frank communication (David Clementz, Chevron Petroleum Technology Company, personal communication, 1995). Historically, strategic partnerships have a low success rate (e.g., a study of 50 industrial alliances by Slowinski (1992) showed that only 50 percent lasted four years or more). This low success rate is primarily due to lack of compatible strategies, unclear or conflicting objectives and time frames, cultural barriers, inability to fulfill customer expectations, and lack of implementation plans and alliance management (David Clementz, Chevron Petroleum Technology Company, personal communication, 1995). The same problems may surface in interactions between ONR and the major oil and gas companies. The major technology needs of the offshore oil and gas industry (i.e., exploration, production, and pipeline) can be divided into the following subsets: Environmental needs Floating drill platform needs
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Expanding the Uses of Naval Ocean Science and Technology Fixed drilling and production platforms and facilities needs Subsea completion needs Subsea pipeline needs Environmental needs include baseline studies for environmental impact statements and quantification of the effects of oil and gas operations on the environment. These tasks require methods and instrumentation to measure several parameters such as the concentration of chemical compounds in the atmosphere, seawater, and seafloor sediment over representative periods of time. The amount of nutrients available and the size of coral, fish, shellfish, and mammal populations in the area and their fluctuations over time must also be documented. The methods and instrumentation used to establish baseline data are available now. The challenge is to design and install these systems to survive in the ocean over the required periods, providing continuous monitoring and data recording and transmission. Drilling from a floating platform requires several unique abilities, including (1) accurate monitoring and forecasting of weather, sea state, and currents; (2) adequate mooring and station-keeping technology (including location and real-time monitoring of the bottom hole and use of global positioning systems and dynamic positioning for the surface platform); and (3) adequate methods to separate and dispose of wastewater and drilling fluid at sea. Drilling and production platforms need design criteria based on atmospheric and oceanographic conditions, stress and load analysis, soil shear strength, and consolidation of the underlying seafloor. Platform construction and maintenance presents its own set of challenges: Inspection and crack detection and repair at depths to 2,500 feet (some of which may be accomplished by remotely operated vehicles [ROVs]) Use of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) Underwater explosive cutting and welding technology Use of composite materials in topside structures and drill pipe and risers to reduce weight and increase resistance to abrasion, fire, sunlight, and salt water Use of paint and painting systems, both surface and underwater Use of deepwater pipeline connection systems (e.g., ROV and AUV) for both rigid and flexible pipe Use of space-frame and finite-element design techniques Subsea completion of wells presents other unique requirements, including: Control systems Long-life autonomous power supplies Quick-acting valve operators and controls Pipeline and valve connection and monitoring
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Expanding the Uses of Naval Ocean Science and Technology TABLE 1 Technology Needs of Offshore Oil and Gas Industries Technology Area Short-Term Need* 1995-1999 Long-Term Need* 1999-2010 Hydrate prevention 4.7 3.3 Flow metering 4.3 4.0 Subsea equipment 4.3 3.3 Flow lines 4.2 3.3 Extended-reach drilling/production 4.1 3.3 Risers 4.1 3.0 Drilling 4.1 3.5 Multiphase pumps 4.0 4.6 Workover 3.7 3.5 Produced fluid disposal 3.6 3.3 Structures 3.4 2.7 Extended-reach control systems 3.3 2.5 High-pressure systems 3.0 3.3 ROV systems 3.0 3.2 External corrosion protection 2.6 4.3 Water/gas injection 2.3 4.3 Source: National Petroleum Council (1995). * NOTE: Average response of 10 major corporations to a 35-page questionnaire. Respondents were asked to rank needs as low (1), medium (3), or high (5). Subsea pumping, compression, and oil/gas separation systems Relocation beacons with remote triggering Acoustic, fiber-optic, and hard-wire data transmission Subsea pipeline construction and operation requirements include installation methods, leak detection, fluid metering, oil and water cut monitoring, wall thickness monitoring, and methods for maintaining pipeline location. A recent survey conducted by the National Petroleum Council (NPC), an industry association, outlined the technology needs of the oil and gas industry. The NPC survey indicates an average ranking of specific needs of 10 major companies. The survey contains important information regarding both short-term (the next five years) and long-term (1999-2010) industry needs, which are summarized in Table 1 (National Petroleum Council, 1995). Overlap exists between the needs of the offshore oil and gas industry and areas of research supported by ONR. NRL 7000 (Ocean and Atmospheric Science and Space Technology) conducts research and development in many areas that have potential application to offshore petroleum activities (see Table D8 in Appendix D), including the following:
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Expanding the Uses of Naval Ocean Science and Technology Physics of seismic and acoustic energy interaction with seafloor topography and subsea floor Advanced electro-optic, electromagnetic, and acoustic techniques for mapping and imaging the seafloor and sub-seafloor and its variability Analysis and modeling of atmospheric processes on coastal, regional, and global scales Systems for shipboard tactical environmental data acquisition, management, and display Satellite data image analysis Simulation of atmospherics ONR 33 addresses technology needs in environmental and materials science. Areas of R&D within ONR 33 that are directly applicable to oil and gas industry needs include the following: Separation of oily wastewater at sea Subsea construction technologies Monitoring methods for structures and coatings Environmental monitoring and modeling methods Recent declassification of remote sensing data from defense satellites such as the Navy’s geodetic satellite GEOSAT has generated tremendous interest in both the petroleum and fisheries industry, as these new data allow greater accuracy in determining seafloor structure from observations of sea surface elevations. The offshore petroleum industry needs surface meteorologic data as well as bathymetric data and oceanographic data for many specific areas (e.g., the Malacca Straits, the South China Sea, the Gulf of Thailand, Scotland’s northwest approaches, Ireland’s western approaches, the Gulf of Mexico, coastal West Africa [Angola], and Sahkalin Island). If this type of meteorological and oceanographic data is made available to the industry, enormous amounts of proprietary data might be made available to ONR in exchange. The petroleum industry has spent millions of dollars, over several decades, to acquire detailed sub-bottom profiles (including subseafloor data to 500 feet), as well as data on seafloor structures, moorings, and relevant modeling technology (David M. Clementz, Chevron Petroleum Technology Corporation, personal communication, 1995). FISHERIES Fisheries enterprises can be divided into two major elements: (1) commercial and sport fishing; and (2) government agencies, such as the National Marine Fisheries Service, that monitor and regulate fish stocks. These two segments of fisheries have similar technology needs both in terms of environmental data and modeling as well as remote sensing. Successful commercial and sport fishing operations and accurate fish popu-
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Expanding the Uses of Naval Ocean Science and Technology lation assessment and monitoring efforts depend on adequate information on sea surface temperature, surface current patterns, and the depth of the thermocline. These parameters make it possible to estimate the location of fronts which are biologically active and may harbor significant populations of plankton and fish. Although information of this type is not technology, the Navy has data pertinent to fisheries interests, which could be transferred to the commercial sector through various forecasting and data distribution services. Remote imaging techniques are important in locating and assessing fish stocks, an important component of fish stock management and development. The National Marine Fisheries Service is pursuing the use of lidar (light detecting and ranging) as a tool to track fish stocks, especially open-ocean stocks such as tuna and salmon. Smaller fish that swim and feed in schools could also be monitored with such a system (Borstad et al., 1992). Although much of the existing technology for remote imaging was originally developed for DOD use, it is beginning to be declassified and has great potential as an assessment tool (Hunter and Churnside, 1995). Areas of ONR-supported research with direct application to fisheries interests lie mostly within ONR 32 and NRL 7000. Imaging techniques developed in these two divisions are beginning to be used for marine forecasting, and enthusiasm is building in the community for airborne assessment of fish stocks by these methods. Meteorologic and oceanographic data and modeling will be of interest to fisheries forecasting services. ENVIRONMENTAL COMPANIES The ocean and coastal environmental industry needs science and technology in two major areas: (1) passive and active observation systems (e.g., remote and in situ), and (2) predictive modeling. The primary need for these capabilities is in regional seas, bays, sounds, estuaries, and other coastal water bodies. Integrated systems for observation and modeling of coastal and nearshore waters would be of direct and immediate use in assessing the impact of accidental and planned discharges, site evaluation for nearshore and offshore structures, oil and gas exploration and development, disposal of wastes at sea, and routing of ships. At a larger scale, there is a primary need for cost-effective systems for ocean ship routing, studies of air-sea interaction and its influence on climate change, and analysis of environmental variability. ONR has historically supported, and continues to sponsor, a wide range of hardware, software, and systems that might be a direct match to industry needs. These activities include the design and development of oceanographic instrumentation (e.g., acoustic ocean networks and modems, profiling current meters) needed to measure physical, chemical, and biological parameters. They also include the development and operation of systems for real-time global, regional, and local predictive modeling capabilities.
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Expanding the Uses of Naval Ocean Science and Technology MARINE EQUIPMENT AND SERVICE PROVIDERS Marine equipment and service providers can be divided into large multinational corporations and small, independent companies. Suppliers of marine equipment are typically small businesses focused on a single product. Performance and price are important in the competitive market. Products sold by the industry include the following: Manned vehicles Remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) and bottom crawlers Side scan, imaging, and bottom sounding sonars Underwater cameras Sensors of temperature, pressure, conductivity, water density, currents, and wave height Doppler sonar Water samplers Flow meters Data and voice communications equipment Underwater position tracking devices Connectors Cable, pipes, and buoys Ships Winches, tow bodies, and tow arrays Transponders, transducers, and magnetometers Valves Pressure test enclosures Strip recorders, power amplifiers, and data loggers Diving systems Service providers in the marine industry are involved in a variety of activities, including: Inspection and mapping Marine engineering Leasing, cleaning, and installation of equipment Data measurement Ship maintenance Weather forecasting and ship routing Seismic surveying Service companies, in particular, range in size from large global operators to small independent operations. The larger operators are typically associated with offshore oil and gas activities. Many service providers have a large capital
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Expanding the Uses of Naval Ocean Science and Technology investment in equipment and want to maximize the return on that investment. They are reluctant to buy new equipment unless there is a need that cannot be satisfied any other way. The technology needs of these industries are driven by (1) increasing work depths, (2) more stringent inspection requirements, (3) new environmental monitoring requirements, and (4) the need for increased operating efficiency (i.e., greater submerged endurance, better sensor resolution, increased operating speed, and an ability to operate in a wider range of sea conditions). FUTURE AREAS OF RESEARCH The majority of the marine industrial sector faces challenges similar to those of the offshore oil and gas industry, fisheries, environmental companies, and equipment and service providers. Ocean science research and technology development that lead to reduced environmental impact of offshore activities, increased efficiency in the workplace, and improved data collection, assimilation, and dissemination would be of value to a wide range of nonmilitary marine users. ONR is a leader in the development of marine technology and could play an important role in providing technology that would produce such benefits. Research and technology development sponsored by ONR could be applied to a broad range of marine industry needs besides the four areas mentioned earlier in this chapter. For example, an important emerging need in the marine industry, both for the near-term and increasingly for the long-term, is the ability to operate systems remotely at water depths to 3,000 m, for extended periods in a cost-effective manner. Undersea power sources with greater energy and power densities are a major component of these operating systems. The need for remotely operated systems will grow with the increasing depths and costs of oil exploration; its development will greatly affect work vehicles used at depth and the vehicles used to monitor and survey pipelines. ONR 33 directs some of its research toward increasing the energy density of undersea power systems. Increased emphasis on technology transfer in this area could provide large benefits to the commercial sector. Additional areas of future research with wide applicability outside the Navy may include (1) physics of seismic and acoustic energy interaction with seafloor topography and subsea floor; (2) analysis and modeling of atmospheric processes at a variety of spatial and temporal scales; (3) enhanced systems for shipboard environmental monitoring; (4) improved satellite image analysis; (5) improved modeling of a variety of oceanic processes (e.g., contaminant transport, air-sea interaction); (6) enhanced techniques for waste disposal; (7) corrosion- and biofouling-resistant materials; and (8) improved marine construction designs and techniques.
Representative terms from entire chapter: