SUT-SEO Presents Subsea Awareness Course


Anna Heller SUT Houston Feb. 2, 2017

Subsea Awareness Course participants at the Technip Umbilicals Tour. Photo: Patsy Rhymes
Houston, TX- The Society for Underwater Technology’s Subsea Engineering and Operations Committee (SUT-SEO) presented a four-day Subsea Awareness Course in Houston. The course was intended to help new professionals in the industry learn more about the subsea sector from experienced professionals while gaining first hand insight on what is currently taking place in the field. 
Participants of the course attended lectures, took tours of models and facilities, and had the opportunity to network with seasoned professionals and independent consultants with years of experience. 
There were 18 different technical presentations and four tours over the four-day course. One tour was given for each day of the course, beginning with the Thunderhorse Model Tour on day one with Mr. R.J. Brown. The next three days of touring were as follows; Technip Umbilicals tour, FMC Tour, and Oceaneering Tour. 
The Subsea Awareness Course is in its 14th year of giving new professionals, vendors, and purchasing agents within the field an introductory overview of all the aspects of an offshore subsea project. 
“What people should get out of the Subsea Awareness Course when they leave is they know how most things fit together and they realize that they really need significantly more learning and education in order to do that job well.” Don Schlater, an SUT Honorary Treasurer and executive committee member, and one of the founders of the Subsea Awareness Course said, “It teaches them what they don’t know as opposed to teaching them everything they do know.” 
The four days of the course encompass aspects of developing, constructing, producing, and maintaining an oil field, which could be the length of five to six years or more. 
“It the course starts off with how you decided how you develop a subsea field, it’s basically the development.” Schlater said as an overview of the course. “The days to follow that we show specific things like the christmas trees and the control systems. It’s design, the construction, the installation, and the operation. If you put those in sections, we have to design it, we have to construct it, we have to install it, and then we have to operate it, that’s what we’re telling in the course . 
This Subsea Awareness Course began with Colin McCrae, a principal process engineer for Genesis, speaking about Field Development Planning. 
“I’d say the main goal of my presentation is to introduce the delegates to the process behind field development planning. What are the high level concepts that they need to consider and what process do you use to evaluate and narrow down your options.”
McCrae pointed out that Field Development Planning is undertaken at a very early stage of engineering projects. His presentation gave attendees an overview of the different variables going into projects. 
“It takes the delegates through the major decision making processes that go into a high-level field development plan. This includes field economics, selection of the most suitable technologies, hull structure, designing the topsides processing equipment, and performing net present value calculations. The outcome of the process leads the client to a robust, well documented field development plan.”
As Schlater made clear, proper development and preparation was a theme throughout the first day of the course with the first tour being that of the Thunderhorse Model presented by Brown, director of RJ Brown Deepwater: A Technip Company.

Colin McCrae Presents 'Field Development Planning' to the Subsea Awareness Course attendees.
Photo: Patsy Rhymes

The Thunderhorse Model helped to plan and strategize a project for BP, “for replacing pipeline terminal systems under existing systems, that’s the Thunderhorse, which is in 6,000 feet of water.” Brown said of the model, “it’s a very valuable tool for showing potential problem areas.”
Brown emphasized that he wants professionals in the field to understand that it is important to plan ahead by using a model before going out into the field, “that’s was the goal I was trying to obtain, if you’re going to have a close call or accident off shore, we want to have it on the model we don’t want to have it in real life.”
By working with the model before going out into the field, companies can avoid many issues and save a lot of valuable time and money in the process. “It’s this type of thing that even though the model is quite expensive, you’ll save about 10-20 times the cost if there were to be potential problems in real life .”
The tours and first hand professional experience are what draws the attendees to the course, especially those who are newer to the field of subsea engineering.
Bianca McGovern, a subsea systems engineer with Anadarko, attended the four-day course, to gain some more formalized training and to take home valuable insight from other professionals and companies within the subsea sector.
“I really loved our day talking about Umbilicals, just because it was really technical and it was information that could be directly related to my day-to-day job.” McGovern said about day two of course, “It was things that I wanted to know for a very long time and it just made a lot of the pieces come together for my job.”
The tours and hands on presentations proved to be an extremely valuable learning tool for all participants and an enjoyable experience for the presenters.
Brown expressed his excitement to pass on his experiences and knowledge, especially working with models, to students and younger professionals. When the participants first see the model “they go through the ‘ohhhhh’ expressions,” according to Brown. “The students love it, they ask a lot of questions.”
McGovern felt she gained an exceptional and valuable perspective over the course of four days.
“We visited Technip Umbilicals, and we looked at subsea trees and Oceaneering to look at subsea pumps and other equipment.” McGovern said about some of the tours at the Subsea Awareness Course, “So its pretty rare to fit all that in just a few days.”
The course of four days, although introductory, was very informative and advantageous for all of those involved. Although she is a newer face within the subsea field, McGovern felt positive about the course, “I realized that it is a really small community and everyone knows each other and there’s a lot of great resources out there, especially with SUT.”
Schlater said one of the most important things that the course participants need to understand, especially the vendors and purchasing agents, is “how insignificant your piece of equipment is, but how important it is” in each aspect of the development, construction, installation, and operation of an oil field.
“We try to convince everybody that everything is critical. You have to step up to the plate and make sure your device does what it says it’s going to do and it’s as reliable as you say it is.” Schlater stated with importance, “That’s what we try to emphasize in the course, everybody and every aspect of the project is equally important when working on an offshore oil field and nobody is that dominant.”
The next course presented by SUT-SEO will be the Subsea Awareness Course held on March 6-9th in Houston, Texas. This 4-day course has been designed to be suitable for engineers and others new to the offshore industry, those transferring from other disciplines within the industry and engineers who have worked in subsea previously but would benefit from a refresher course and exposure to the latest technology. The modules are presented by key supply and service companies in the subsea sector and will be hosted on their premises. 

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