Boeing Echo Voyager takes the plunge

Echo Voyager

Image source: boeing.com

From Tesla’s self-driving cars to an autonomous unmanned underwater vehicle called the Echo Voyager. This is where we are at the moment. Technology, human ingenuity and curiosity are what make these projects a reality.

Early adaptations of what lies beneath the big blue have been around for decades. Our interest and curiosity about ocean life and underwater technology were inspired by movies like 20 000 Leagues under the sea, James Bond’s submarine car to more recent deep sea documentaries.

It is a fact that we’ve only discovered about 5% of the world’s oceans. So why are we so focused on space travel if we haven’t even explored most our own planet? Maybe Boeing has the answer with Continue reading

Decommissioning and engineering the changes at sea

decommissioning an oil rigA report by Oil & Gas consultant Mark MacArthur of EC Harris Built Asset Consultancy detailed the difficulties of decommissioning in the North Sea. In it he talks about the risks and the cost burdens on operators. The strains of balancing the intricate engineering

He also predicted that of the 600 plus offshore platforms in the North Sea, approximately 50 of these would cease production by 2016, with a further 250 also scheduled to be decommissioned in the coming years.

However, an article in The Engineer yesterday moves things on a step announcing that almost a thousand North Sea oil wells will be decommissioned over the next decade. This is going to be one of the biggest technical challenges in recent years involving large scale engineering.

There have already been several decommissioning projects in the North Sea and industry body Oil & Gas UK is pointing out the dangers of decommissioning too early based on falling oil prices. However, the questions about what happens when the hydrocarbons run out are already being asked and it’s clear we’re closer to the end than the beginning. But how do we manage the end of this era? Continue reading

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