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National Oilwell Varco Gives $905,000 to UH’s Subsea Engineering Program

left to right: UH Cullen College of Engineering Dean Joseph Tedesco, Charles N. Grichar, NOV senior vice president/technology development, Matthew Franchek, founding director of UH’s subsea engineering program.

Laura Tolley
ljtolley@uh.edu

November 6, 2012-Houston-

National Oilwell Varco (NOV) is giving $905,000 to the University of Houston’s subsea engineering program to further research initiatives and develop a computational laboratory.

NOV’s gift will be used to establish the National Oilwell Varco Computational Engineering Laboratory and to conduct contractual research for UH’s subsea engineering program and NOV.

The computational lab will be used to perform detailed computational calculations on complex subsea equipment that must operate under high-temperature and high-pressure oil and gas conditions that occur in ultra-deep subsea reserves.

The lab also will support the subsea engineering curriculum and students, enabling them to complete capstone design projects using the latest in computational subsea engineering tools.

Recently, UH received the state’s approval to offer the nation’s first subsea engineering graduate program, which will teach the scientific and technical skills necessary to create the first generation of formally trained subsea engineering specialists. UH already offers a certificate program in subsea engineering, which also is the only such program in the United States.

“NOV has made an important investment in UH’s efforts to build a premier graduate program in subsea engineering. We are grateful to NOV for recognizing the value of this ambitious energy initiative,” said Matthew Franchek, founding director of UH’s subsea program and a mechanical engineering professor.

“The subsea engineering graduate program is part of UH’s ongoing efforts to support the area’s energy sector,” Franchek said. “With NOV’s help, this program will produce students with the skills needed to overcome the unique challenges of deepwater exploration.”

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved UH’s proposal to provide a graduate subsea engineering program, which is expected to begin in fall 2013.

Formed in partnership with the world’s leading energy engineering companies, the master’s program will include classroom lectures and hands-on software education for subsea systems design. Recognized experts in the industry will teach the courses.

Offshore oil and gas reserves are increasingly important sources of energy. Some experts believe that billions of barrels of oil and trillions of cubic feet of natural gas lie within federally controlled waters in the Gulf of Mexico alone. But these massive reserves lie underneath 10,000 feet of water, presenting unprecedented engineering challenges such as freezing temperatures, corrosive seawater and immense water pressure.

A subsea engineer is responsible for the design, installation and maintenance of the equipment, tools and infrastructure used in the underwater phase of the offshore oil and gas drilling and production.

Last year, UH began its subsea engineering certificate program in response to the oil industry’s increasing need for these skilled engineers. It was the first of its kind in the U.S. Subsea engineering typically has not been considered a distinct discipline in the U.S., but a number of universities abroad offer degree programs in the field.

The new subsea graduate program will dovetail into UH’s growing petroleum engineering program, which two years ago established an undergraduate degree program in addition to its graduate curriculum.

About the University of Houston

The University of Houston is a Carnegie-designated Tier One public research university recognized by The Princeton Review as one of the nation’s best colleges for undergraduate education. UH serves the globally competitive Houston and Gulf Coast Region by providing world-class faculty, experiential learning and strategic industry partnerships. Located in the nation’s fourth-largest city, UH serves more than 39,500 students in the most ethnically and culturally diverse region in the country.

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Port Corpus Christi Gets New Director of Engineering Services (USA)

Port Corpus Christi Gets New Director of Engineering Services

Port Corpus Christi announced yesterday the promotion of David Krams to Director of Engineering Services under the supervision of the Deputy Port Director of Engineering, Finance and Administration.

Krams’ experience at the Port and in private practice made him well qualified for the responsibilities as the new head of the Port’s Engineering Department. Krams will replace Greg W. Brubeck, who officially retires July 31, 2012 after 23 years of service to the Port. “I am looking forward to working with David during this two month transition period. David is most qualified to become the next Director of Engineering Services.” said Brubeck.

David Krams joined the port in 1994, after first working as a consulting engineer in the Corpus Christi area for ten years, specializing in underwater engineering related to marine and waterfront facilities. Prior to his promotion as Director of Engineering Services, Krams was the port’s Senior Project Engineer, who in 2009, was promoted to Manager of Channel Development responsible for the Corpus Christi Ship Channel – Channel Improvement Project, a Federal navigation planning project to widen and deepen the Corpus Christi Ship Channel from -45 feet to -52 feet and to extend the La Quinta Ship Channel. Krams also serves as the project manager for the La Quinta Multi-purpose/Container Project to be served by the La Quinta Ship Channel Improvements.

David Krams is a Registered Professional Engineer in the State of Texas. He received his Bachelor of Science in Ocean Engineering from Texas A&M University – College Station. Krams is a resident of Corpus Christi since 1972, active in the local community, serving on various local executive and regular boards and committees.

Greg W. Brubeck joined the staff of the Port in 1989 as an Engineer Planner and was subsequently promoted to Deputy Director of Engineering and later to Director of Engineering Services. A Registered Professional Engineer in the State of Texas, Brubeck received his BSME from the United States Naval academy in 1969 and MSCE from Texas A&M University in 1980. A retired Commander, Mr. Brubeck proudly served twenty years in the United States Navy as both a Naval Aviator and Civil Engineer Corps Officer.

Mr. Brubeck has been a resident of Corpus Christi since 1986. In addition to several work related professional organizations, Mr. Brubeck is active in the local community and is a graduate of Leadership Corpus Christi Class XX, a Past President of the Kiwanis Club of Corpus Christi, a Past President of the Coastal Bend Post of the Society of American Military Engineers, and Past Board Member of the Navy–Army Federal Credit Union. Mr. Brubeck was born in Indiana and was raised in several States and in the Far East and Europe in the family of a career United States Army Corps of Engineers officer prior to becoming a Texan.

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Norway: STX OSV Strengthens Specialist Technology with New Acquisitions

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STX OSV Holdings Limited (“STX OSV”), one of the major global designers and shipbuilders of offshore and specialized vessels, announces that it is strengthening its technology and engineering competence through two separate transactions.

Seaonics AS (“Seaonics”), a subsidiary of STX OSV, is in the process of acquiring a shareholding interest in Castor Drilling Solution AS (“CDS”). Based in Kristiansand, Norway, CDS is a newly established company with specialist competence in offshore drilling technology.

The investment is expected to give STX OSV new insight into this segment of the offshore market, and give opportunities for development of integrated solutions primarily related to the growing market of Offshore Subsea Construction Vessels (“OSCV”). The investment, to be completed in two tranches by the end of the year, will give Seaonics a 34% stake in CDS.

Separately, STX OSV has entered into an agreement to acquire 70% shareholding interest in Brevik Partners AS (“Brevik Partners”). Established in 2010, Brevik Partners is an engineering company specializing in offshore technology and equipment. The investment in the company, to be renamed STX OSV Engineering Brevik, is expected to strengthen STX OSV’s ability to develop new concepts and integrated solutions for offshore and specialized vessels. The proposed transaction is expected to be closed by the end of May.

Both investments are in line with STX OSV’s strategy of increasing its technology and engineering competence in select parts of the offshore value chain. Through focused investments, STX OSV aims to strengthen its ability to develop and introduce vessels equipped with cutting-edge innovation and technology.

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USA: Alliance Engineering to Design Topsides for Tubular Bells Field Spar Platform

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Alliance Engineering, a subsidiary of Wood Group, has been awarded the detailed engineering and design of the topside facilities and deck for Williams Partners’ Gulfstar FPS™ spar production platform. This wet-tree platform will be installed in block 768 of the Gulf of Mexico’s Mississippi Canyon area to produce oil and gas from the Tubular Bells field, which is owned by Hess Corporation​ (Operator) and Chevron U.S.A. Inc.

The Gulfstar spar platform will be located in 4,300 feet of water and designed to process 60,000 barrels of oil per day and 200 MMscf of gas per day. The single-lift topsides will have three deck levels and include processing equipment, seawater injection equipment, utilities, an accommodation building with helideck, and pumping and compression equipment to export the treated oil and gas through departing pipelines. The completed deck will weigh approximately 7,000 short tons. Initial production is scheduled to commence in 2014.

“Alliance has been working with Williams Partners to develop their standard Gulfstar floating production system concept (FPS),” said Edmund Lunde, president of Alliance. “With concept development and FEED completed, we are pleased to continue working with Williams Partners on the detailed design of their first Gulfstar FPS. We are confident Williams, Hess and Chevron will benefit from our focus, skill, and experience in developing the Tubular Bells topsides.”

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Technip Enters Frame Agreement with Statoil

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After a competitive tender process, Technip has been awarded by Statoil Brasil Óleo & Gàs Ltda. a frame agreement for engineering studies. The scope of this 3-year contract covers feasibility, concept and front-end engineering design studies for Statoil’s existing offshore production fields and future developments in Brazil.

All work will be performed by Technip’s operating center in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil with support from the Group’s European centers, and will achieve a minimum 60% of local content.

This award reinforces Technip’s leading position as engineering services supplier to the Brazilian market where the Group previously carried out similar feasibility, conceptual and front-end engineering design projects for Petrobras, OGX, OSX and Maersk.

Technip is a world leader in project management, engineering and construction for the energy industry.

From the deepest Subsea oil & gas developments to the largest and most complex Offshore and Onshore infrastructures, our 23,000 people are constantly offering the best solutions and most innovative technologies to meet the world’s energy challenges.

Present in 48 countries, Technip has state-of-the-art industrial assets on all continents and operates a fleet of specialized vessels for pipeline installation and subsea construction.

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