Sunday, December 16, 2012

Offshore pipelines and safety calls on deepwater drilling operations

When the Deepwater Horizon blowout (BP oil spill) hit the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010, capped with a 4.5 billion dollar fine on the oil group held responsible for the five million barrels of leaked oil, it probably highlighted one of the biggest challenges in the petroleum industry—the need for effective maintenance and reliability in oil and gas fields offshore operations.

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The case of the sunken Deepwater Horizon drilling rig is tragic at all levels. Despite the moratorium on deep-water drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, the case itself exploded the volatile issue on the safety of offshore oil and gas exploration and operations. In recent years, the trend for deep-water pipeline technology has put the development of offshore pipelines at the center of petroleum engineering agenda. The highly informative book Offshore Pipelines: Design, Installation, and Maintenance, written by Ali Ghalambor, Boyun Guo, Shanhong Song, Jacob Chacko, and Tian Ran Lin, exposes the key issues on the topic that many people could find really handy. Covering the maintenance and support system, methods and tools for cost-effective operations and system reliability, as well as fundamentals needed to design, install, and commission pipeline projects, the book became a significant resource for engineers and management personnel involved in deepwater drilling operations.

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Today, deepwater pipeline systems continue to play a critical role in offshore oil drilling activities. But like any technical fields, it is always fraught with risks. Heaven forbid, a single oil spill does not have to happen again. Through proper knowledge of the right strategies, the world should be able to avert such disasters.

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