Manufacturing and Engineering Magazine Volume 425 - January 2016 - Page 54

MARINE SPECIAL FOCUS DEEP-SEA SAFETY the most significant developments have occured in subsea technology in the oil, gas and energy sectors Never has a sector been so wholly reliant on quality manufacturing and engineering and, indeed, the realisation of the sector's present and the viability of its future is tied in with the production of new technologies and equipment, and an alignment with the contemporary moment. And, certainly, while propulsion systems have transformed as a result of changes in energy production and a reduction of consumable parts, it is, arguably, in subsea technology where the most significant developments have occurred. While working beneath the water at such great depths poses significant risks to health in and of itself, that risk is escalated by the ambitions of those industries demanding subsea technology – primarily those in the oil, gas and energy sector. The combined risk has, however, led to the initiation of more ambitious projects and the development of more complex underwater tooling equipment in order to harvest the energy residing over 600 feet beneath the surface. We've witnessed the move from fixed production platforms for the retrieval of oil to floating production, storage and offloading (FPSO) systems – a shift in practice which representing a cost-effectiveness and flexibility previously untenable. The variety in units which has since become apparent has, moreover, effected a change in the retrieval and processing of energy, as well as improving the management and maintenance of subsea pipelines. Remote monitoring devices have been extended to, not only detect equipment faults, but also monitor those energy lines. Discrepancies in piping, jumpers and spools, and containment failure represent critical threats to infrastructure, and can have severe economic, social and environment impacts. 4 52 MANUFACTURING AND ENGINEERING MAGAZINE Industries have, as such, sought to both refine production pipelines – making use of erosion resistant inlays, for example – and incorporate a level of remote information monitoring so as to minimise potential failings. The advent of remote management and operations has, furthermore, seen the arrival of more autonomous