5 Examples of Oil and Gas Software Offered by Stewart Technology Associates

5 Examples of Oil and Gas Software Offered by Stewart Technology Associates

Stewart Technology Associates has a long history of providing quality engineering services for the marine industry and off-shore oil and gas industries, and it specializes in design and analysis of marine structures and fluid dynamics. Some of the specific services offered include hydrodynamic analysis, mooring analysis, anchor analysis, rig design and analysis, riser design and analysis, finite element analysis, marine training simulations, financial assessments, risk assessments, forensic analysis, and oil spill containment and clean-up consulting.

As part of its service in the off-shore oil and gas industries, Stewart Technology associates has developed a wide variety of custom oil and gas software that represents the industry standard in marine training simulations, design and analysis of marine structures, and tools for laying out and installing marine systems.

Here is an overview of several of the custom oil and gas software applications offered by Stewart Technology Associates:

1) STA JUSIM Jack-Up Simulator Software

Used in conjunction with custom simulation hardware, the jack-up simulator helps new users learn how to operate jack-up oil platforms in a safe and efficient manner while accurately simulating real-world scenarios, including common operational problems. In the physical simulator, trainees operate a jack-up control panel that is similar to the control panel in existing operational designs, and it is mounted on a tilting table that can simulate the movements and attitude of an actual jack-up rig to within less than 1/10 of a degree of accuracy.

The software simulates realistic conditions such as leg damage to the jack-up and punch-through, allowing the operators to experience and prepare for emergencies that may happen in real-life scenarios. The software runs on a standard PC and can operate alone or in conjunction with a physical simulator.

2) STA 2POINT

STA 2POINT is a software program designed to simulate the effects of both lateral and longitudinal forces on a vessel that is moored in a two-point mooring system. It calculates the forces and the loads created by wind, ocean currents, and waves on the vessel, and is designed for situations where the vessel is in shallow water and there is little or no pretension applied to the mooring lines. It accounts for stretching of the mooring lines and uses the US Navy’s methods for determining wind and current loads.

3) STA SPM

This software simulates the mooring forces at work on a single vessel that is moored at a single-point mooring system, taking into account the forces of the wind, currents, and waves on the vessel according to direction. It is designed specifically for tankers that are moored in single-point systems, using either bow hawsers or bow turrets. A second tanker, offloading in tandem, can also be simulated with either astern thrust or assistance from a tug boat.

4) STA ANCHOR

STA ANCHOR is a computer program designed to calculate the holding capacity and predict the drag anchor embedment of a particular anchor design. The operator selects from a variety of standard anchor sizes and geometries, and customize the geometry according to a particular design. Combined with the specific characteristics of the sea floor, the program determines the holding capacity of the anchor and the vertical and horizontal forces at work on the structure of the design. This enables the anchor to be tested and redesigned to meet specific requirements. The software can be used in conjunction with other programs to perform a full analysis of the anchor design and related hardware, including the STA CHAIN, STA PILE and STA PULLOUT programs.

5) STA LIFTBOAT

This software is used by a variety of liftboat manufacturers and designers, as well as the US Coastguard, to help design three-legged liftboats and to analyze and verify the design. It simulates the forces at work on the lift boat when it is in the fully elevated position, including the forces of wind on the structure above the water, as well as the effects of the currents and waves on the legs. It independently analyzes wind loads on each section of the exposed structure, including the hull, the crane, and the superstructure. Many of the inputs can be customized to match the design of the structure and the characteristics of its location, including the loading condition of the liftboat, the water depth, the amount of pad penetration into the sea floor, the stiffness of the pad restraint provided by the soil, and many other variables. With this software, the design can be tested in real-world conditions and be altered to meet the criteria required for the application.

These are just a few of the many custom oil and gas software programs that are written, designed and distributed by Stewart Technology Associates. Some of the software can be customized for specific use cases on request, for an additional fee. Stewart Technology Associates also works extensively with OrcaFlex, and they distribute custom software from third parties on request.

In addition to oil and gas software, Stewart Technology Associates provides a wide range of other consulting services for both the oil and gas industry and many other marine-related industries.

 

Sources:

 

http://www.rigzone.com/training/insight.asp?insight_id=339

8 Services Provided by Our Engineer Consultants

Any structures that operate in a marine environment, including offshore drilling rigs, risers, mooring systems, marine vessels, wave power systems, and offshore wind generator facilities, provide unique design and operational challenges that often require significant resources and ingenuity to overcome. Many companies rely on the extensive knowledge and experience of engineer consultants to help provide critical analysis of these problems and devise piratical, cost-efficient solutions.

8 Services Provided by Our Engineer Consultants image

Specializing in marine and offshore structures, fluid dynamics and related disciplines, here are just a few of the services that our engineer consultants at Stewart Technology Associates can provide:

1) Hydrodynamic Analysis

Hydrodynamic analysis is used to accurately simulate the forces at work on a structure in a marine environment. This includes the movement of the waves, the action of the tides, the effects of undersea pressures, turbulence from structures or seafloor features, and the effect of high winds and inclement weather. By learning how these forces affect a structure, its design can be improved to eliminate possible failure points and to reduce costs and maintenance requirements. Hydrodynamic analysis can be used to examine both new and existing designs, and it can also be used after a maritime accident to help determine the cause of the problem.

2) Finite Element Analysis

Finite element analysis can be used to model how real-world conditions will affect the operation of a product or of a component of a larger system when subjected to forces such as vibration, heat, high pressures, fluid flow or other physical challenges. The results of the modeling can be used to improve the product’s design, reducing component failures and wear that can shorten its lifespan or lead to increased maintenance costs. Finite element analysis can also make a product safer, and help to determine the cause of failure in an existing design.

3) Structural Design and Analysis

Engineer consultants can help design and analyze marine structures, such as drilling rigs, jack-ups and liftboats, to make sure that they will perform efficiently and safely in a specified environment. They can work directly with a client to create a structure that will withstand the forces in a particular marine or sub-sea environment safely, while increasing productivity and reducing long-term costs. They can also analyze existing designs to improve their structural performance, productivity and safety.

4) Riser Design and Analysis

Risers are one of the most critical components in an offshore oil drilling or production platform. They carry mud and drilling fluids to the well during drilling operations and carry oil and gas to the surface during production operations. To operate safely while maximizing production, they must be able to withstand the movement and pressure below the surface, while moving fluids efficiently. Engineer consultants can be used to design an efficient riser system for production or drilling operations, determining what type of riser will be needed, rigid, flexible or hybrid, effective mooring solutions, what equipment will be required and other factors. They can also improve the efficiency of fluid moment withing the riser, increasing production, and analyze existing designs to suggest structural, efficiency and safety improvements.

5) Anchor Performance Analysis

Anchors are critical to securing marine vessels and other structures in place temporarily, permanently or semi-permanently, and if they fail to perform adequately, they can allow vessels to drift off course or to collide with other structures, leading to injuries, property damage, productivity losses or environmental concerns. To perform effectively, the design of an anchor must take into account the weight and movement of the vessel, the surface conditions and the composition of the sea floor. With an anchor analysis, engineer consultants can model the forces at work on the anchor and suggest improvements that will make it stronger, safer and more effective.

6) Mooring Design and Analysis

Mooring systems in the offshore oil industry are critical to keep the platform in place during operation, to secure tankers while transferring oil and gas and to secure other vessels as needed. They must be able to withstand the weight of the vessel or platform, while compensating for motion at the surface of the sea and keeping transfer pipes and equipment safe. Engineering consultants can analyze the design of a mooring system, including the anchors, mooring lines and surface structure, ensuring that it can perform both safely and effectively. They can also create new designs for specific applications and analyze the performance of transfer systems.

7) Oil Spill Clean-Up and Containment

Oil spills can have far-reaching consequences, from polluting the water supply and harming animal and plant life, to making beaches less inviting and hurting economies that depend on fishing or tourism. When the worst does happen, the key to minimizing the damage is to contain the oil as close as possible to the source and to clean it up as quickly as possible. Engineering consultants can help to design effective measures for both containing the oil and cleaning it up, including effective boom systems to contain the oil and techniques that can adequately model the currents and conditions at the site to make clean-up more successful and efficient.

8) Forensic Analysis

After a maritime accident or an oil spill, the original cause of the accident can be difficult to determine and, often, there are many contributing factors that make the origin even less clear. Engineer consultants can use hydrodynamic analysis, finite element analysis and other techniques, along with advanced software and extensive knowledge of marine systems, to analyze the events leading up to the accident, as well as the accident itself and its effects, to help determine the original cause. This information can be used to determine liabilities in the aftermath of the accident, to improve designs to prevent future accidents and to establish new safety protocols and programs that can help avoid or mitigate such incidents in the future.

 

Sources:

http://stewart-usa.com

http://stewart-usa.com/overview.php

http://usa.oceana.org/sites/default/files/tourism_impacts_fact_sheet_9-8-15.pdf

5 Ways Oil and Gas Software Can Help Your Business

Published  by Stewart Technologies on April 20, 2016

There are hundreds of software solutions for the oil and gas industry that can make the job of finding, drilling for, and producing oil and gas much easier, safer, and cost-effective. The software solutions range from programs that automate control systems or provide safety solutions, such as man overboard warnings, to software that is designed to map out and determine the viability of a formation, or to analyze the structure of marine systems and the effect of hydrodynamic forces on them.

Oil and gas software such as Orcaflex, Orcina, Saic, or Atkins can be used to design and analyze marine systems such as oil rigs, liftboats, jack-ups, anchors, pipelines, single-point moorings and other marine systems, making sure that they will operate safely in the chosen environment and have decent lifespans. GIS, or geological information systems software, can help to collate available geological data, such as maps, well logs, mud logs, and other data, and use it to determine the overall make-up and viability of a formation, including cross-section generation and analysis. Other types of software can manage production, logistics supplies, or specific hardware systems.

Here are just a few of the ways that oil and gas software can help to improve your company’s operations:

#1 Design Analysis

Whether you are designing a semi-submersible rig, a jack-up or floating platform, the right oil and gas software can help you to perfect the design long before it goes into production, and put it through its paces virtually, with thorough software-based testing and analysis.

This allows you to make sure that your design will work as expected in the worst conditions, such as when the wind is blowing in hurricane-force gusts, or the waves are hitting the rig with incredible force. Using the information from the virtual testing and analysis, you can improve the design of the right to withstand wave action, sub-sea pressures, tidal forces, and the worst weather conditions to be expected at the site.

Once you are sure that your design meets all of your needs and specifications, you can then put it into production. By analyzing the design with oil and gas software such as OrcaFlex first, you can avoid costly production mistake that costs thousands or more to fix, as well as tedious maintenance issues further down the line.

#2 Hydrodynamic Analysis

From the largest oil rigs to the smallest mooring points and clamps, every marine system is prone to structural damage through the forces of wave action, tidal forces, inclement weather, large sub-sea pressures, corrosion and other issues unique to marine environments. In order to be cost-effective, any system used in a marine environment must strike a balance between longevity and total cost of ownership. Structures built to handle the worst forces in a marine environment may be too expensive to be cost-effective, while less expensive structures may cost your more over their lifetimes due to increased maintenance costs.

Oil and gas software such as OrcaFlex can help you perform an accurate hydrodynamic analysis on just about any type of marine system, allowing you to study how the forces of the marine environment will affect the system. By doing a thorough analysis, you can improve the design of your mooring system, pipeline, riser system or other marine equipment. This will help you to design components that stand up to the unique stresses of the marine environment better, reducing maintenance costs, extending the lifespan of the equipment, and keeping your total cost of ownership reasonable.

#3 Financial Assessments

Oil and gas software can help your company plan your oil and gas exploration and production operations from start to finish. This includes estimating the required investment in equipment, such as oil rigs, drilling risers, pipelines, mooring systems, to analyzing geological data and estimating well viability and output. It can help you to determine the total costs associated with the operation and the potential profits.

It can also help you to determine possible risks, such as oil spills, environmental damage, injuries and accidents, and help you to determine the best courses of action in each situation and possible costs associated with them. With oil and gas software, you can have complete control over every aspect of your burliness, with instantaneous access to detailed information, analysis and reports that are critical to your operations.

#4 Marine Simulations

Oil and gas software can also help during training and certification of employees and other staff. Software simulators, such as jack-up or ballast control simulators can help new operator become familiar with the control systems in such equipment without risk to the physical equipment or crew. This reduce liability and overall training costs, and allows you to safely train your crew with fewer risks.

Jack-up simulators can mimic nearly any step in the operation of a jack-up rig, including how the system responds to problems such as a broken leg, a punch through, or poor contact with the sea floor. Ballast simulators allow the operator to empty or fill the ballasts of a ship or rig in accordance to weather conditions, preventing the system from sinking or tipping over in rough seas.

#5 Forensic Analysis

If there is an accident or oil spill at one of your sites, oil and gas software can help you to determine the cause of the accident, who is responsible and how to prevent such problems in the future. Software tools such as hydrodynamic analysis can be critical in the analysis of the problem and in finding a solution, and software like OrcaFlex can make the process much easier.

By making your equipment safer through hydrodynamic analysis and by preventing accidents in the future, you can reduce your company’s liabilities and increase long-term profits.

Oil and gas software, such as OrcaFlex, GIS software and training simulators, can help your business run more efficiently, safely and smoothly. It can help you to design better structures that can easily withstand the unique forces in a marine environment, it can help you to improve your training processes, it can prevent accidents and it can analyze financial risks to your company and help reduce operational costs.

 

Sources:

http://www.rigzone.com/training/insight.asp?insight_id=339&c_id=24

The 4 Basic Components of Single Point Moorings

Published  by Stewart Technologies on March 18, 2016

During off-shore oil and gas production operations, single point moorings provide a safe way to offload petroleum products to tankers, operating as both a buoy system to keep the ship in position and as a connection to the sub-sea pipeline and riser system to move the petroleum products from the production platform to the tanker.

Single point mooring systems have several critical parts, and they must all operate together properly to safely and efficiently load the tanker. They must also be able to withstand large forces from the movement of the ship on the ocean, wave action, tidal forces, surface weather, undersea pressures and both horizontal and vertical movements.

Here are some of the most important parts of single point moorings, and how they help to complete the off-loading process successfully:

#1 The Buoy

The buoy typically consists of a set of legs that connect it to the sea floor and a body section, which is located at the surface. The body can freely spin around the leg section, due to a roller-bearing system that permits free rotation. This allows ships that are moored to the buoy to freely move around it, according to the movements of the ocean.

Without this ability to rotate, ships attached to the buoy would exert large amounts of extra force on the buoy system, potentially resulting in a failure of the lines anchoring the ship to the buoy, or the lines anchoring the buoy to the sea floor. During loading operations, this could cause safety problems, as the ship breaks free and moves unexpectedly, or environmental consequences if it causes a spill of petroleum products.

A properly-designed buoy system should be able to handle all the horizontal, vertical and rotational forces exerted on it while safely delivering oil or gas to the tanker.

#2 The Anchoring System

The buoy is attached to the seafloor with either anchors or a pile system, in most cases. Anchors provide a temporary attachment system by sinking a large mass, such as concrete, to the sea floor to provide a stationary weight, by embedding into the seafloor itself, or by attaching to an existing sub sea feature, such as a large mass of rock or a crevice. For a more permanent attachment system, piles can be driven into the seafloor to provide a solid anchoring system.

Once the anchor and the buoy are in place, anchor chain, or sometimes synthetic or metal cables, are run from the anchors or piles on the seafloor up to the buoy itself, providing a secure attachment.

Each of the components in the anchoring system must be able to withstand the corrosive effects of salt water, as well as the natural forces of the ocean, including waves, weather, and pressure. Most anchoring systems are built to withstand some small amounts of movement, which helps prevent fatigue and the structural failures that can result from the forces acting against the system.

#3 The Petroleum Loading System

The buoy is connected to a pipeline system that is located on the seafloor. This pipeline carries oil or gas from the well and distributes it through a pipeline end manifold to a system of risers that bring it to the surface of the ocean. These risers are typically flexible, allowing them to move along with the ocean currents and the movements of the buoy.

At the surface, the risers connect to the buoy, and the oil and gas is routed through a swivel system in the buoy’s body, allowing the output connections for the petroleum products to swivel along with the moments of the ship. The final connection from the buoy to the tanker is typically made with a floating hose system, which features breakaway connectors that prevent oil spills if the ship moves too far away from the buoy.

The swivel system contains a number of valves and seals that prevent oil or gas leaks, as well as supplemental connections for power, data or electrical signals in many cases. All of the seals and electrical connections are constantly subjected to rotational forces, friction and some horizontal and vertical movement. They must be carefully designed to withstand all of the stresses experienced during operation while minimizing the amount of maintenance required and the associated costs.

#4 Ship Mooring System

The deck of the buoy features a mooring point, to which one or two synthetic ropes are attached, depending on the size of the ship. The ropes are extended out to the tanker, where they are connected to a chafe chain that is extended from the tanker. The connection allows the ship to rotate around the buoy, and the floating hose system moves along with the ship. Each component must be carefully designed to handle the weight of the ship and the forces exerted on it by the movement of the ocean.

Optional Components

Typically, the buoy will have a boat dock for personnel to easily access the deck, as well as fenders or bumpers to prevent damage to the buoy. It may also have an integrated power system, weather equipment, navigation aids, or cranes and other equipment for maneuvering large loads, as well as safety equipment.

Improving the Design of Single Point Moorings

To design a long-lasting and structurally-sound single point mooring system, it is wise to invest in both a structural design analysis and a hydrodynamic analysis. By scrutinizing the structural components and modeling how each behaves under the conditions present in a marine environment, including wave action, high pressures, tidal forces, variable weather and corrosive forces, the design of each component can be optimized to ensure that it will perform well under the worst conditions, with a suitable design life and minimal maintenance. With hydrodynamic analysis, every possible component can be modeled and improved, from the shackles connecting the mooring lines to the anchoring system, to the buoy itself.

With a properly-designed single point mooring system, operational costs can be significantly reduced, production efficiency can be increased, safety can be improved and the environment can be better protected.


Sources:

http://stewart-usa.com/mooring-analysis.php
http://stewart-usa.com/hydrodynamic-analysis.php
http://petrofed.winwinhosting.net/upload/18Sep10/1.pdf
http://www.rigzone.com/training/insight.asp?insight_id=308&c_id=17

 

6 Ways Hydrodynamic Analysis Benefits the Off-Shore Oil Industry

[Posted on January 18, 2016 by Bill Stewart]

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6 Ways Hydrodynamic Analysis Benefits the Off-Shore Oil Industry

As oil platforms move further and further off-shore in search of new and richer oil deposits, the challenges of finding and exploiting these new reserves become increasingly complex. There are many hydrodynamic forces at work both at water’s surface and beneath it, and without a thorough understanding of how these forces will affect equipment like oil platforms, a platform’s moorings, risers and pipelines, the consequences could be disastrous.

Hydrodynamic analysis helps to avoid rig downtime, tragic accidents, loss of life and environmental disasters by modeling and analyzing the forces that are at work on these components, so that the designs can be improved and strengthened to withstand the effects. It is also useful during the investigation of prior incidents to determine how the failure was caused and determine ways to avoid such incidents in the future.

Here are a few of the ways hydrodynamic analysis benefits the off-shore oil industry:

#1 Improved Platform Design

An off-shore oil platform is constantly subjected to ocean currents, tidal forces, wave action and both horizontal and vertical motion. The constant movement of water around structural components creates friction and areas of both high and low pressure that can start to fatigue vulnerable surfaces and contribute to corrosion at the water’s surface. As these components weaken, they can contribute to dangerous accidents or cause serious structural failures.

By using hydrodynamic analysis, the forces at work on the platform’s structure can be modeled and the design of the platform can be altered to make it stronger, more stable and longer-lasting. It can also help to reduce the maintenance requirements of the platform and lead to lower operational costs, while improving the overall safety of the working environment for the rig’s personnel.

#2 Improved Platform Moorings

For floating platforms or semi-submersible platforms, strong moorings are especially important to keep the platform stable and in the proper position. They must be strong enough to resist the action of the waves, moving the platform both vertically and horizontally, and they must also resist the current below the surface and along the turbulent sea floor. A failure of the moorings could lead to production disruptions and high repair costs, or it could lead to more serious problems.

With hydrodynamic analysis, the design of the moorings can be evaluated and improved to make sure that they can withstand the hydrodynamic forces and pressures that will exacted upon them. Different types of moorings will have completely different performance characteristics, and the analysis can help determine what types of anchors should be used in a particular area or situation, such as suction piles, drag embedment anchors or vertical load anchors, as well as the type of mooring line, such as chain, wire or synthetic materials. The analysis can also be used improve the designs of the fasteners connecting the mooring lines to the anchors, which will be subjected to extremely turbulent forces near the sea floor.

#3 Better Mooring Field Designs

Keeping supply vessels and oil tankers secure during the loading and unloading process is vital to the safety of both the platform and the ships. Any problems in the design of the mooring field could lead to dangerous ship movements that can cause injuries, property damage or environmental damage.

Using hydrodynamic analysis, the effects of tidal forces, ocean currents and wave action on both the ships and their moorings can be evaluated. By taking those calculations into account during the construction of the mooring field, the moorings can be properly placed to avoid dangerous encounters between ships and the platform or other vessels, and they can be placed in positions that will provide the most stability for loading and unloading operations.

#4 Better Riser Design

One of an oil platform’s most critical components is the riser, which connects the oil well to the platform and extracts the oil and gas from the deposit. Like other components, the riser is subjected to extreme forces and pressures, and must be able to withstand both lateral and vertical movement, as well as its own buoyancy. A riser failure can lead to environmental damages, injuries, or even more severe incidents, such as explosions.

By using hydrodynamic analysis, the rig operator can determine which type of riser and components should be used in a particular situation, such as flexible risers or rigid. The analysis can also help to design better components that will withstand higher forces and pressures.

#5 Precise Pipelaying Operations

Undersea pipes are subjected to extreme pressures, as well as the forces of the ocean currents, tidal forces and wave action. Pipes that are laid improperly or that are not designed to withstand the forces at play can fail, leading to environmental damage, production problems and expensive repair costs.

By employing hydrodynamic analysis, the pipes and fasteners can be analyzed and the designs improved to better withstand the forces and pressures present at such depths. It can also help to determine where the pipe should be placed to avoid the most extreme forces, and help the ships laying the pipes to do their jobs more effectively and efficiently. Done correctly, this should help to reduce the costs of laying pipe and improve its long-term durability.

#6 Improved Accident Investigations

Though accidents are rare in the off-shore drilling industry, compared to the number of active platforms, they still happen, and when they do, there can be serious injuries, environmental damage or even deaths. Additionally, when an accident happens, it halts production and can be very expensive for the platform operator and its partners.

Hydrodynamic analysis can help to determine how an accident occurred, and how it can be prevented in the future, by determining which components, if any, failed due to hydrodynamic forces. It can also be used to determine who is responsible for the incident, so that the proper measures can be taken.

Hydrodynamic analysis can be a crucial tool in the off-shore oil industry, and by using it to help in all phases of the platform construction and production processes, it can reduce maintenance costs and increase the overall safety of an oil platform.

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Sources:

http://stewart-usa.com/

http://stewart-usa.com/hydrodynamic-analysis.php

http://www.rigzone.com/training/insight.asp?insight_id=358&c_id=17

 

4 Interesting Things to Know About OrcaFlex

[Published by Stewart Technology Associates on January 18, 2016]

OrcaFlex is an industry-leading software package that is used for dynamically modeling and analyzing offshore marine systems, including oil rigs and platforms, buoys, mooring systems, anchors, drilling risers and other components. It helps to determine what forces will be acting on equipment used in marine environments, whether at the surface, below it or on the seafloor. This modeling process, called hydrodynamic analysis, can allow engineers to better design marine equipment to stand up to the extreme forces exerted on it, reducing structural fatigue and failure rates. The software can also be used during marine accident investigations to determine the cause or causes of the incident and devise solutions to avoid problems in the future.

It is very versatile software with hundreds of useful features, including compatibility with third-party applications for scripting or integration into other software, and it offers a graphical interface that is easy to use and has full access to all of the program’s many functions and components.

Here are a few of the things you should know about the OrcaFlex software package:

#1 What OrcaFlex is Used For

The primary function of OrcaFlex to is to provide hydrodynamic analysis of marine systems, which can help manufacturers and engineers to design products and structures to stand up to the extreme forces exerted by water in marine environments. These forces include wave action, tidal action, sub-surface currents, extreme pressures, friction, turbulence caused by the seafloor or other objects in the water, and chemical processes, such as corrosion.

OrcaFlex is often used for designing and analyzing drilling rigs, drilling risers, moorings, buoy systems, anchors, mooring cables, anchor chains, sub-sea pipelines and hoses systems used for transferring oil. Some of the most interesting uses include analyzing minesweeper operations and modeling sonar deployments for the military, designing off-shore wind and wave power systems for the renewable energy industry, seabed stability analysis, and remote-operate vehicle, or submarine, design.

#2 Specific Applications

OrcaFlex is used by many different industries for marine systems analysis, and here are a few specific examples of the applications that the software has been explicitly designed for:

  • Risers: The software can help design and analyze several types of common risers, including tensioned marine risers, steel centenary risers, flexible or hybrid risers, as well as umbilical systems. It can be used to determine the vertical and horizontal pressures acting on the riser system, and allow better systems to be created that prevent leaks and operation problems.
  • Mooring systems: Oil platforms, buoys and other equipment use moorings to keep them stable in the water, preventing drifting and allowing them to perform tasks like drilling, which require a stable platform to do efficiently. If the moorings fail, there could be dire consequences, such as oil leaks, accidents or even fatalities. OrcaFlex is used to analyze the mooring environment and create mooring systems that are safe and secure, including spread, jetty, turret, and single-point mooring systems, as well as special mooring systems for oceanographic or aquaculture systems.
  • Buoy Systems: Buoys are used to aid navigation, warn ships about underwater hazards, as mooring points or to carry scientific instruments, such as weather monitoring systems. The OrcaFlex software can model the effects of waves, tides and other forces on the buoy and mooring systems, allowing the design to be improved. It can analyze the performance of CALM and SPAR buoys, mid-water arches and metocean buoys.
  • Hose Systems: Hoses systems used in the transfer of petroleum products and other fluids in a marine environment, such as under-buoy, offloading or floating hose systems, can be analyzed by the OrcaFlex software to determine stress points and design systems that are less likely to leak or fail due to environmental conditions.
  • Military: The software can make operations such as ship-to-ship replenishing, mine-sweeping, helicopter landings safer, and it can improve sonar operations through modeling.
  • Renewable Energy: Modeling and dynamic analysis can be used to improve wave-generator, off-shore wind turbine and floating wind turbine operation, making the systems safer and more efficient.

#3 Features

The OrcaFlex software has many great features that make it an indispensable tool for many of its clients, and they help make it one of the leading software packages in the marine engineering industry. It offers a comprehensive graphical user interface with wire-frame and shaded views, a moveable camera to track large objects, a model browser that can manage and organize multiple models, copy and paste functions for objects or groups, the ability to show or hide objects or groups, drag and drop import, easy to use wizards for a variety of functions, and unlimited 3D views, graphs, functions and tables.

The software has built-in multi-threading and is thoroughly optimized for use on computer systems with multiple processor cores. It features batch processing for volume analysis and offers a wide variety of automation tools to do repetitive tasks automatically and generate a wide range of reports with the available data.

It is compatible with many third-party software tools, including MatLab and Python for scripting and automation purposes, and the C++ and Delphi programming languages for OrcaFlex into other software solutions. With the custom programming interface and API, the OrcaFlex DLL can be used to access certain functions programmatically from within your own custom Windows software. The package comes in 32 or 64-bit versions, and in a multi-license environment, the modeling workload can be split between multiple computers using a distributed computing client and server solution. This allows the software to process data much faster than a single computer could alone.

#4 Who Uses It

Currently, more than 260 organizations use the OrcaFlex software, in dozens of different industry. This includes government and military organizations, off-shore engineering firms, the off-shore oil industry, oceanographic research institutions, seismic research organizations, the renewable energy industry, the shipping industry and aquaculture organizations.

OrcaFlex is a great all-around tool for doing dynamic and static analysis of nearly any kind of marine system, and it its many clients find it to be an indispensable tool for designing equipment and structures that must withstand the powerful forces present in a marine environment.

Single Point Moorings in the Use of Crude Oil Transport

[Posted on November 17, 2015 by Bill Stewart]

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A single point mooring (SPM) is a buoy or floating platform that resides offshore for the purpose of keeping tankers and other large vessels on station at all depths, for the offloading and handling of petroleum products when a storage facility is not available. An SPM serves as a link between onshore storage facilities and the tanker. The SPM is permanently attached to the sea bottom in such a way that it can move freely within certain parameters. They are designed with wind, rough seas, deep water, currents, and weather conditions in mind. Consulting firms such as Stewart Technology Associates provide mooring analysis services for the design of powerful moorings.

Advances in mooring technology and analysis have led to the unprecedented development of materials, designs, and construction that is used in the manufacture and implementation of mid-ocean floating platform stations for connecting oil tankers to pipelines. The environment is taken into account during design and analysis so that the materials themselves will pose no threat to marine life and so that failure, if it occurs in any part of the structure, will be contained. This includes anchor, mooring line, and connector materials and construction. The material used depends on the type of mooring and may be wire, chain, or fabricated fiber rope.

An SPM works in such a way as to facilitate the on-loading or off-loading of oil products via seafaring ships. They are primarily large buoys with decks where a ship can moor. Anchored to the floor of the ocean and attached to a pipeline and manifold at the center of the float, they are designed to be used in all weather conditions.

There are hundreds of SPMs operating across the globe. There are numerous benefits of using SPMs to safely and economically convey petroleum products to tankers in mid-ocean.

Negates the Need for A Ship to Make Port

There are oil discoveries in remote locations where pipelines are not financially or technologically practical. Ocean depth or the distance to the nearest onshore facility often requires alternative ways to deliver crude oil. Since a tanker can offload or take on cargo mid-ocean using an SPM, there is no need for the vessel to sail to a port. This is a tremendous savings in time and fuel costs.

Large Amounts of Cargo Can Be Handled

By nature of the SPM design, the buoy can be approached by a vessel and docked and connected in calm seas or even severe weather. It has fenders to protect its structural integrity from the movement of the ship. Connections are made via floating hoses from the submerged pipeline to the tanker, and a series of valves are controlled by an electrical substation. A swivel in the buoy enables the transfer of fluid between the geostatic section and rotating part of the float in most types of climate conditions. The amount of crude oil that is transferred depends on the size of the vessel. Since even a massive tanker is able to dock to the buoy, vast quantities of crude can be on-loaded for transport.

Extra Large Vessels

An SPM can accommodate huge ships. The design allows ships to “weathervane” around the single mooring point. If the sea is large, or there is wind, the SPM can absorb energy through stretchable ropes and anchor chains.

Very large carriers require a high draft to maneuver, which makes it difficult for them to navigate close to shore. SPMs can be constructed and set up in deep water, thereby eliminating the need for jetty construction and storage facilities. This allows deep water vessels to approach, take on cargo, and sail away much faster than having to navigate a deep-water port.

All-Weather Transfers

Due to the nature of the design, an SPM allows fluid transfer in most weather and sea conditions that are not considered severe or gale force. However, in adverse climatic conditions, a vessel can make its approach, connect to the buoy and initiate the fluid transfer. This allows tremendous flexibility in scheduling the transport.

Cost Savings

An SPM is considered an instant port and can be installed in deep water. This presents tremendous cost savings, since there is no need for jetty construction or port dredging to accommodate deep water vessels. This also offers a faster turnaround for tankers to approach, moor and take on crude. They can arrive, load or unload relatively quickly, and move on. Even in high winds and big seas, an SPM can accommodate a large number of ships in this fashion. All of these factors combine to create an economical and safe way to transport crude oil.

Environmental Impact

A single point mooring system design must be compliant with and adhere to certain standards and requirements within the offshore industry and the American Bureau of Shipping. The buoys and hoses and accompanying materials have to be durable enough to withstand combined wave, current, and wind forces generated by the severest of storms. This is essential for the protection of the environment. The tanker connects to the buoy via floating hoses. These hoses are fitted with breakaway couplings that have a predetermined break load. Should they break for any reason, an internal valve is activated to close automatically and prevent an oil spill.

Hydrodynamic analysis and dealing with the motion of fluids has evolved from using scale models in water tanks to advanced computer modeling. SPM technology and the progress that has been made in this area has made the disbursement of crude oil around the world safer, cleaner, environmentally sound, and much more economical.

As long as crude oil is the primary source of fuel and energy, we will need to make sure it gets from point A to point B as quickly and as safely as possible. Research, analysis, and planning are ongoing, with great strides being made in safety and efficiency. SPM stations are a vital part of that strategy and have changed the face of crude oil delivery.


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Things to Look for When Hiring Engineer Consultants

[Posted on November 2, 2015 by Bil Stewart]

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Things to Look for When Hiring Engineer Consultants

There may come a time when your firm needs outside help from a consultant. More than likely this is good news in that you have landed an account or a project that is sizable in scope and is more than your team can handle efficiently. When that day comes, you need to be aware of what to look for in a consultant or an engineering consulting firm. At STA, we want to help you in your search, so we have put together some tips and advice to help you make an informed selection. Here are our thoughts on the matter:

It Starts With Research

There are many ways to find a suitable consultant. Usually, it is a combination of a few things. You can speak to your colleagues in the industry, you can search the internet, and you can advertise in the online trades and journals. Once you settle on some names, there are some things that you should find out that should facilitate a choice:

• How long have they been in business?

• What services do they offer?

• What are their credentials?

• Are they licensed?

• How large is their firm?

• Review client testimonials.

• Check their references.

• See where they stand with the Better Business Bureau.

These are by no means the only questions to ask or items to look for on their resume, but they provide an excellent starting point.

Unusual versatility – Example of seismic analysis of a mat-supported jack-up in the time domain using ABAQUS.  This work was performed by Sage USA for Stewart Technology Associates.

Partial Resume for Bil Stewart:

PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS AND AFFILIATIONS:
Professional Engineer, Registered in State of Texas, 1983, retired 2006.
Chartered Engineer, Registered in the UK and Europe, 1977.
Member of Royal Institution of Naval Architects.
Member of Society for Underwater Technology.
Member of Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME).
Member of IMarEST, Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology.
Member of American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME).
Member of American Society of Civil Engineers, D. OE (Diplomate of Ocean Engineering, ASCE) 2013.
Member of Society of Petroleum Engineers.
Past Member of Marine Technology Society.
Associate Member of the United States Naval Institute.
Technical Editor for Society of Petroleum Engineers (1982-1987).
Secretary & Past Chairman, Houston Chapter, Offshore Mechanics & Arctic Engineering (ASME).
Member, SNAME Offshore Committee, Chairman 1993.
Member, SNAME Technical and Research Committee, 1993.
Member, SNAME Panel OC-1, Stability and Motions, Chairman, Liftboat Task Group, 1991.
Member, 1990 to 1993 OTC Program Committees.
Member, 2002 to date NOSAC (USCG National Safety Advisory Committee).
Member, 2007 to date API RP 2RD Geotechnical Sub-Committee.
Chairman, 2009 to date, ASCE COPRI Marine Renewable Energy Committee.
Board Member ASCE COPRI 2014.
Vice President COPRI Board, 2016, President-elect for 2017
Member IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) US TC 114, 2012.

The Fee Should Not Be the Main Issue

You want to hire the best engineer that you can find. Trying to shop for the least expensive may be asking for trouble in the long run. Whatever you save initially, could end up costing more in time and effort. You are in the market for a professional engineer to assist your project and help deliver it on time and budget. You likely have a lot riding on the job, including your reputation. You take your car to the best mechanic. You want your kids to go to the best schools. You may be under the gun financially, and budgeting concerns could drive the hiring process, but if you can, don’t let the final decision be about the fee.

Uses the Latest Technologies and Software

The firm or individual consultant that you are considering should be well-versed in the latest technology and software that relates to your project. He or she should be able to train your staff in any new software that will be used, and get them up to speed in an efficient manner. They should be aware of the latest trends and the best way to implement the tools required for the job.
Knowledge in a Specific Discipline

Clearly, the consultant must have a background in the area of engineering that is needed for the project for which you hire them. They should be an expert with plenty of experience working within the confines of the particular discipline. They should be able to show a demonstrable knowledge of their field as well as ongoing education. You wouldn’t hire a Marine Engineer to consult on a onshore structural job. However, as we show in the next section, they should have a broad knowledge of other disciplines.

General Knowledge of Other Disciplines

A good consultant will know their field in and out. A superb consultant will be able to talk intelligently about a broad spectrum of issues. This is essential to thoroughly understanding the client’s needs. To better serve the potential client a consultant should be able to guide them towards completing the project, even if it means recommending that the client goes in another direction.  Typically a mid-sized to a large firm is better equipped for multi-discipline abilities and can offer more than a sole proprietor.

Confidence in Their Abilities

When you have narrowed your list to a few firms and are in the interview process, look for confidence in their abilities. If they are confident in their work, it will show through when you talk to them. You are looking for poise and a level of self-assurance that is obvious. You may be asking yourself ”what does this have to do with their abilities?”. The answer to that question is that pragmatic and cool-headed individuals can think on their feet during crisis situations. They will not be afraid to tell you what they think instead of what they think you want to hear. These are the type of consultants that you want on your team if you run into trouble, and every job has its share of problems.

A Problem Solver

A consultant should be positioned to make critical decisions and be able to provide you with multiple problem-solving options. They should also be willing and able to go above and beyond the scope of the job they were hired for and make recommendations for solutions beyond what you ask them to do. They should be capable of “seeing the big picture.”

The Right Consultant for the Right Job

If you have a particularly large project, you may need to engage the services of a sizable firm. If, on the other hand, you are adequately keeping up with the job but could use the additional expertise, then a single consultant might be appropriate for your needs. A mid-size company is often the best overall option for your requirements. They typically cover a broad range of engineering disciplines and are staffed well enough to respond to your needs promptly. The point is that most consultants and consulting firms don’t provide a “one size fits all” solution so keep that in mind as you search.

It will take time to find the right engineer or firm. As we mentioned above, it starts with research. As long as you do your homework and implement the suggestions as we have outlined them above, you should find a more than satisfactory consultant. Once you do, you will have a relationship that you can turn to whenever you need extra help.

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The Latest Developments In Oil And Gas Software for Marine Solutions

[Posted on November 2, 2015 by Bill Stewart]

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The last few decades have seen an unprecedented rise in the development of software for virtually every industry. This is nowhere more apparent than in marine and offshore structures, and fluid dynamics. Advances are occurring almost faster than the industry can keep up.

This presents a positive outlook for companies in need of consulting firms that use this technology or who need to implement the software themselves. These innovative tools have changed the face of the entire oil and gas industry with improvements in safety, cost-savings, expedited designs, fast turn-arounds, and more. And it also means an increase in profitability and an improved rate of return financially.

The sheer amount of data that is generated and that is available to everyone from frontline engineers to CEOs is staggering. This, of course, is a boon to the informed decision-making process in terms of effectiveness and real-time choices. New technology always presents a challenge in implementation, but the payouts are worth the time invested in the learning curve.

Specific software applications give consulting firms an edge when it comes to being competitive and acting on opportunities. The latest trends also provide a game-changing way to impact the marine field in a significant manner.

Getting Up to Speed

Luckily, the trend in the industry is toward a less steep learning curve. Having to bring a number of people up to speed on a complicated piece of software can be time-consuming. Of course, there is always a learning curve, but the current software should be and is being streamlined to be more accommodating to individuals who are less technically savvy. You shouldn’t have to be a software engineer to be productive with an application. The objective is to minimize downtime, not only in learning the software but using it as well. It is crucial for training to be available for your employees who are going to be using the software.

Instruction and Support

Quality developers will offer support before and after the purchase, and will be accessible to answer questions and provide guidance. They should work closely with whoever will be using the product to bring them up to productivity as fast as possible.

Ease of Use

In the overall refinement process being used in developing new software technology, the goal is to simplify as much as possible. Making the application easier to use by more people makes it appealing to potential buyers. If the software can be utilized by a greater number of individuals within a company, it increases the versatility of the firm using it. Streamlining isn’t just about usability; it is also about reducing the actual size of the application as well as making it affordable.

Cost-Effective

If an application or piece of software is priced too high, then only large companies can afford licenses. This has a limiting factor on the software manufacturer in that it cuts out a vast portion of mid-size business. There are numerous smaller outfits that are involved in consulting, and if they can’t buy the software, then they are unable to compete. A resulting drop in revenue occurs for the software maker as well as the small business that needs it to survive. Mid-level companies that need to occasionally hire consulting firms may not be able to bear the expense of hiring a larger company. This has an adverse impact all around.

Streamlining

Instead of one-size-fits-all software, developers are streamlining apps to meet specific requirements. You may need to work on structural design and analysis, or assess risk, but you don’t necessarily need software that will do both. A particular application for a specific situation is the very definition of streamlined. If a product is geared toward your industry, then you are not paying for applications that you do not need. Sometimes you require software that covers a broad spectrum of services in one package. However, if you don’t and that is all that is available to you, it then becomes a pricey and complicated prospect. There are pros and cons to a software package that is versatile enough to be used for an array of applications. The same can be said of software that is geared to a specific discipline.

Standards and Best Practices

Finally, new software must adhere to previously adopted standards and best practices. Software generation is a process of evolution by its very nature, but if it doesn’t meet industry compliance and standards, it is useless to everyone. Marine engineering is strictly regulated, and requirements have to be met in a consistent way. This applies to all aspects of the business, including the development of new software.

The goal of any business is longevity and profitability. Any tool or product that helps your firm achieve this is a welcome asset. Marine O&G Software advances have added value to the companies that use it either in-house or for consulting purposes. The tendency is always to push toward the ideal combination of usability and effectiveness.

In the years ahead, we will see brand new applications spring up as well as serious improvements to existing software. We can expect improvements in productivity, effectiveness, and cost management. Additionally, we will also see a marked increase in efficient logistics; scheduling; health and safety planning, and environment monitoring. It is an interesting and exciting time to be part of this software revolution.


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Oil And Gas Software is an Integral Part of a Firm’s Success

[Posted on November 2, 2015 by Bill Stewart]

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From simulation to billing to workflow solutions, software has a significant impact on the day-to-day activities of huge corporations and small consulting firms alike. In many instances, software is the driving force behind the way a company accomplishes its goals. Without it, most businesses could not compete at any level. That is especially true when it comes to the oil and gas industry.

Software has become integrated into virtually every aspect of a company’s functions from data entry to mooring analysis. Software aids in the critical task of helping to create revenue and profitable relationships, as well as saving money and time in everyday operations and specific applications such as marine engineering software or risk assessment.

Solutions for the oil and gas industry are used in a variety of ways, including the design and construction of marine vessels and production platforms, oil spill cleanup, hydrodynamic analysis, mooring design, risk assessment, and much more.

Software Solutions

At Stewart Technology Associates, we are a consulting engineering firm specializing in marine and offshore structures. We offer a broad range of software for the analysis and design of marine systems. We also upgrade and provide aftermarket support for the software applications that we market. We have a thorough understanding of a variety of software applications and can make recommendations for what you need for a specific job, as well as offer training for a particular application. We stay up to date with the current versions and can determine upgrade compatibility on your behalf.

How Does a Small Firm Benefit?

Rapid execution of complex problems is the goal. For a small firm, software applications can perform tasks at a much quicker pace than an individual employee. You can accomplish much more in a limited time frame and a within a smaller budget. It helps keep your employees focused on what is important, by providing results that aid in organization. It can also help with project design and execution in a timely fashion.

The time savings alone are worth the price of admission. The faster you deliver a successful project, the more likely you are to be rehired. Software can help you achieve maximum productivity in a minimal time frame. And it is yours to reuse wherever and whenever it benefits you and your clients. The software will pay for itself with just a few successful projects. If you are relatively busy, you can achieve a rapid return on your initial investment.

Software can help you streamline maintenance, planning, optimization, compliance monitoring, contingency planning, response and recovery, and the sharing of assets and data. It can help supply the accurate and reliable information that is crucial to reducing the amount of time on a project.

What if Affordability is an Issue?

If the cost of an application is an issue, you may want to consider hiring a consulting firm on an as-needed basis for projects that require specific software. What is the bottom line? If the software is something that you will frequently be using for the bulk of your jobs, then it may benefit you to make the investment.

Getting the Necessary Training

If you need training for your employees in the various software applications that you purchased, an excellent way to get them up to speed is using a consulting firm to expedite instruction. This can be cost-effective in the long run because the sooner your engineers and technicians are up to speed, the faster they can apply what they have learned to profitable ventures.

A successful consulting firm will do two things very well: One, understand your needs and make recommendations based on your requirements, and two, train your staff in the use of the software. An engineering consulting firm can provide one on one training or group training in a seminar type atmosphere. They can typically perform training on-site, or they can host your employees at their location.

This is an excellent shortcut to learning the software and gaining hands-on experience. Some consulting firms are resellers of specific software. They can often provide the software at a discount, and include onsite training. A consulting firm can also make recommendations for the type of software that is best suited for a particular project.

Increase Overall Productivity

Time is your most valued asset, and if too much of it is wasted in performing daily tasks, you can implement software to simplify frequent routines. Software can help with time management and allow your staff to focus on the important tasks, such as the projects at hand. Data can be gathered in an organized fashion and accessed by any employee. Productivity can be boosted with the aid of user-friendly, intuitive applications. Workflow is improved all-around.

Ease of Collaboration

Advanced O&G software can improve the collaborative effort among your employees. They will all have access to the same current and accurate data. This means that your various departments can function together easily in a fluid manner on all your projects.

Technology advances at such a rapid rate that it is seemingly impossible to keep up with the latest developments. It is no longer a matter of whether software should be used; it is a now a matter of which software should be used.

Most firms, regardless of size, recognize the need to acquire software to help meet goals and increase profitability. It is necessary to leverage the best technologies available. The demand for streamlined and efficient solutions is growing. A firm may purchase its discipline-specific software or contract with consulting companies that specialize in the disciplines required.

Which solution is more cost effective depends on a lot of factors, and it is something only you can determine. However, with the rate that the industry changes, and the rate that software is upgraded to meet those needs, it may make more sense financially to use consulting firms rather than invest in the software.

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