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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.




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 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.


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.


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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Why Should I hire Engineer Consultants

[Posted on September 14th, 2015 by Bill Stewart]

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There are a number of reasons for hiring outside consultants for a project or projects. It may be that you have a job that is larger than the scope of your in-house team’s ability to finish. There may be a need for an individual discipline or area of expertise that your group does not typically cover. It may be a matter of simple economics.

Sometimes it makes more sense from a business standpoint to hire engineers on an as-needed basis rather than keep them on staff full-time. Whether you need training in software for mooring analysis or other systems or hands-on capabilities, a consulting group can provide the necessary tools and manpower.

Intimate Knowledge of the Latest Technologies

The most common reason for hiring engineering consultants is because the consultant can bring a particular level of technical expertise to a project. If you are working with a new technology and want to avoid costly mistakes, it is a good idea to consider outside consultancy sources who are familiar with and used to implementing the technology. When you hire outside experts, you are engaging the services of a dedicated team of consultants who are highly accomplished in hands-on training and development.

Some firms may be reluctant to hire consultants because they prefer to expand their in-house capabilities. However, consider for a moment that hiring experienced consultants to train your employees in the use of new software can be one of the fastest ways to create in-house expertise. When a consultant can work with in-house staff to achieve a particular task or goal, there is significant knowledge transfer and software proficiency is increased.

An Experienced Team of Experts

Most firms have a dedicated and talented group of experts that make them proud, and rightfully so. That is why it often appears to make no sense to turn to an outside team of consulting engineers for specific projects or training. However, in today’s world, technical advancements are fast-paced, and companies need to be first-to-market to achieve a reputation of being the best at what they do. It is a common practice for businesses large, intermediate and small to be on the lookout for categorical expertise from dedicated consultants. If you need training on software, the implementation of software, hands-on problem solving, extra design help, or particular fields of study, going outside can be the best option to meet your objectives.

Consulting firms can provide experienced teams of experts in a variety of areas, such as mooring analysis on an as-needed basis. They can fill in manpower gaps or expand expertise in areas where your firm is not active. They can take on entire projects if your company is ultra-busy and free you up to retain clients or obtain new ones. Engineer consultants can impact the bottom line by bringing a project to fruition on time and under budget.

Knowledge of Best Practices

If you need an individual consultant to assist you with a project on an ad-hoc basis, or a full regiment of engineers to aid in a broad-scope critical project, you want the group or individual to have a proven record of success.

Hiring an international, multi-discipline engineering consultancy firm such as Stewart Technology Associates removes any guesswork. You can rest assured that you will have engaged the services of an experienced team of best-in-class personnel. Highly accomplished individuals who are experts in their respective fields from risk and financial assessments, to marine training simulators and emergency preparedness; people who have a proven work history and can demonstrate successful case studies. Our collaborative endeavors with our clientele provide conditions where everyone can focus on doing what they do best. This concerted effort leads to time and money savings.
It is a Cost-effective, Temporary Solution

When working with an external consulting firm, you have access to a group of experts in a variety of disciplines. They can implement training or work closely in collaboration with your internal team, during every phase of a project. This results in an a measurable uptick of productivity among your staff and a quicker resolution to the project at hand.

A consulting team can be brought on board project by project, as needed, without a permanent and ongoing outflow of cash.

Confidence in the Outcome

The use of outside consultants can bring about a very satisfying return on your investment. Typically, the sooner a problem is solved in the development process, the less cost to your company in the long run. In general, engineering assistance is far more cost effective than a last minute intervention in a crisis.

Utilizing outside sources can be essential to creating and maintaining a successful project. Your team can stay focused on day-to-day objectives while the consultants extend your capabilities. An engineering team with a demonstrable track record can meet your company’s needs and work collaboratively with your in-house staff to achieve your goals–on time, and on budget.

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10 Things to Look for When Choosing Software Solutions for Your Industry Needs

Oil and Gas Software

[Posted on July 6th, 2015 by Bill Stewart]

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As a business owner in the oil and gas industry, you have a lot on your mind. A part of that may include managing your business’s production, minimizing all of the expenses you have, and improving overall functionality within the business. Saving money, improving efficiency, and boosting productivity are one of those important needs. No matter what industry you are in, it is essential to allow software to help you make it more streamlined and efficient. When buying these products, though, you may be unsure where to start or what to look for in them. The following are some examples of what you’ll find available to you and what this product can offer to your business.

#1: Standards have to be met

No matter what type of oil and gas software you need to purchase from design to management, one thing has to be present. That is the ability to meet specific standards. Within this industry, every component seems to have very specific regulations and requirements. If standards are not met or are not met consistently, then it can create a problem for you from the start. Ensure that the company that provides the products you need is providing the highest possible level of compliance to all modern standards.

#2: Affordability is a factor

Beyond looking at the details of any product, it is also important for your business to take a closer look at what you are paying for when you purchase one program or the next. Often times, products are not streamlined to your industry. They lack specializations you need and provide a wide range of services and products that you do not need. This complicates the process and raises your costs significantly. When choosing products, then, consider affordability based on what is provided and how well it meets your unique needs.

#3: It needs to offer the analysis you need

Again, differences in the industry create a very tough situation for many software buyers. One way to find exactly what you need is to focus on analysis provided by the product. For example, if you need hydrodynamic analysis, this should be a main component of the product you buy. Luckily, you will find a wide range of products available to meet these unique needs including options for jack-up simulation, ballast control, mooring simulation, downtime comparisons, dynamic responses and much, much more.

#4: Professional support

Let’s face the fact that most people in this industry do not have software degrees. The language itself can be confusing. You do not have to waste your time learning the difference between ORCALAY and BMS or other terms. If you choose the right company, that provider will work closely with you to answer your questions, guide your decisions, and help you to make the best possible purchase. That is, you need a company that will help you find the correct software for your specific application needs.

#5: Work alongside your engineers

Also important is the ability of the software provider as well as any service provider to be available and willing to work with your engineers throughout the project. This should mean that you can work on any offshore or marine structure effectively because your designers have access to the tools and resources they need from the software provider and the product itself. You need your engineers to be on board with your decision, too.

#6: Hidden costs are not necessary

One of the misconceptions about these services is that the costs are not clear. If you went to the local paper supply location to get a software program for your child, it is a set price that you can easily see and compare to others. It does not have to be much different when purchasing software designed for your company’s needs. That is, you should be purchasing from a reputable provider willing and able to provide you with comprehensive products at affordable rates and with a clear description of what you will pay. There shouldn’t be any hidden costs.

#7: Ease of learning

Something many people do not think about when purchasing products like this is the ease of learning it. Do you want to spend a great deal of time training people and working with them to get up to date? More so, you likely want to be able to get set up and get to work so that you minimize downtime and improve profits and services right away. Look for a product easy to learn and use.

#8: The service you need is likely available

Another thing you should know is that the product you need is likely there. For example, you will find products ranging from ballast control products to design services. What is also important here is to realize that technology has improved significantly. You will find products available that provide an easy, step by step way for you to communicate and work.

#9: Look for prevention tools

Another fantastic thing to look for and expect when purchasing this type of software and these tools is a bigger focus on prevention. That’s essential. You will find that many of today’s best products are designed to create prevention from accidents and risks rather than just addressing common repairs and design concerns. This could mean fewer repairs for your company and that means more money in your pocket.

#10: Incredible training simulators

Did you know that many of the services you need will have simulations that are about the same in terms of quality and design as what pilots get for learning to fly planes? That’s an incredible benefit for any company. Take the time to learn what this can mean to your company, such as improved downtime and accuracy, improved function and an improved result.

There is no doubt that today’s consumer will find more software products available for more versatile needs. Most importantly, there are solutions available to meet any customer’s needs in the oil and gas industry. It is your job to find what works for your specific project need or business management function. However, with a professional service by your side to help you through the process, you can streamline it and get the results you desire. Take into consideration all of the options available to you from leading companies in the industry.

9 Maritime Disasters Emphasizing Why Hydrodynamic Analysis Is Important.

[Posted on June 22nd, 2015 by Bill Stewart]

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Watching your older sister go on a boat ride out on the lake with her boyfriend in a canoe just seems like a great opportunity to reenact the maritime disaster with the Titanic. The moment they are at the love scene with some romantic smooching, you slip into the water and imitate an iceberg to tip over the canoe. While the prank caused some great laughs as the boyfriend clutched to the side of the wood canoe shivering from the cold and your sister gave chase to beat the living crap out of you, real maritime disasters are no laughing matter. Also, not every disaster was caused with the help of large chunks of floating ice.

Throughout history, some of the worse maritime disasters have occurred on the ocean waters. Often, we perform hydrodynamic analysis of the ocean waves to determine if ships can withstand the wave load without becoming damaged. Yet other disasters are less predictable than the ocean waves. We have gathered together the 9 top maritime disasters (not including the Titanic) that have happened in history. Take note of these shipwrecks and give some careful consideration the next time you want to play pranks against a couple trying to enjoy a bit of romantic time to themselves on the water.

1: Cospatrick

Fire is a devastating event to happen on board a ship even with all the water around. The Cospatrick was a sailing boat in 1874 as it made its way south of the Cape of Good Hope heading from England to New Zealand. A fire broke out on board as the 472 people rushed to the 4 lifeboats that were available. While 61 people survived the fire, only 5 people were rescued on the lifeboats after being adrift for 10 days. The people survived by resorting to cannibalism.

2: The Wilheim Gustloff

Not all ocean liners were used for recreational purposes, especially during wars. Back in 1945, The Wilheim Gustloff was built to be a cruise ship. Yet with World War II in full swing, it was converted into a hospital and later a U-boat training school for the Germans. Just like the Germans lost the war, they also lost the ship along with 9,000 people who perished on board as it was scuttled by 3 torpedoes from a Soviet submarine in the Baltic Sea. Out of the 10,000 people on board the ship, only 1,000 survived.

3: Le Joola

There’s a reason why there is a maximum weight capacity on things like chairs, elevators and ships. The Le Joola only had a capacity of 536 people when 1,863 boarded the ship in 2002. The Senegalese ferry capsized when hitting rough waters as only 64 people survived. The sinking of this ship was considered the second-worst maritime disaster in history that involved a non-military vessel.

4: The Arctic

Boat collisions seemed to happen more frequently in the past. The Arctic was no exception. This ship was making a transatlantic voyage from Liverpool to New York in 1854 as it carried 400 passengers. It collided with a French steamship, took on water and sank. Out of the 400 people on board, only 87 people survived. None of the survivors were women or children who were on board even though the captain ordered that they should be evacuated to the lifeboats first.

5: Eastland

Even cable dynamics and other marine analysis might not have saved the SS Eastland from disaster. This boat tipped over while docked because it was too top heavy. Shortly after the Titanic disaster, a new law was passed for all sailing ships to be equipped with the appropriate number of lifeboats. Major design flaws had already determined that the boat listed when too many passengers were on one side of the boat. With the added addition of the lifeboats, it was a disaster waiting to happen.

In 1915, the boat rolled over when the passengers gathered on one side to watch sail boat races along the Chicago river. Out of the 2,752 passengers, about 844 people died.

6: Dona Paz

Colliding with oil tankers carrying 8,000 barrels of petroleum is simply going to ruin your day. This accident happened with the Dona Paz in 1987. The Philippine passenger ferry was overloaded with people when it hit the oil tanker. The oil tanker’s petroleum products caught fire as the fire moved to the ferry. Both ships sank as 4,000 people on board the Dona Paz were killed. The Dona Paz is considered the worst maritime disaster in history that involved a non-military vessel.

7: Toya Maru

Nobody can predict the weather, or the sheer power of the ocean waves. The Toya Maru was a Japanese train ferry transporting passengers through the Tsugaru Strait in 1954. The waves and wind picked up, becoming a full typhoon as the ship tried to ride out the storm by setting down anchor. Yet it wasn’t enough. The anchor couldn’t hold as the captain decided to beach the ship. The waves and the storm tore the ship apart as it capsized and sank, killing 1,159 people out of the 1,309 people on board.

8: Mont Blanc

Explosives, fire and water are a deadly combination. This ship met its demise during World War I, but wasn’t attacked by any submarine or war boat. In 1917, this French ship collided with another called the Imo. When a fire broke out, the Mont Blanc ran aground on the Halifax waterfront. You probably see where this is going as the fire ignited the explosives.

The resulting blast was so fierce it toppled buildings and destroyed city blocks with the resulting fire. The massive explosion even triggered a tsunami. The blast was the largest man-made explosion in history before the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945.

9: General Slocum

Passenger steamboats were a common mode of transportation back in 1891, as some boats were used to transport people to events such as church picnics. The General Slocum was one such steamboat, as it made the journey along the East River in New York City when it suddenly caught fire. There were only 321 survivors out of the 1,021 people on board. Rotted life preservers, rotted fire hoses and inaccessible life boats were several reasons why the fire became unmanageable and people lost their lives while trying to escape.

10 Things to Expect from Today’s Marine and Offshore Specialists You Hadn’t Thought About Before

Cable Dynamics

[Posted on June 8th, 2015 by Bill Stewart]

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Rules change. Requirements also change. In marine and offshore industries, managing water structures and conditions can be a challenge. Luckily, there are many upgrades taking place throughout this industry including some that can make your job of maintaining these structures significantly different and even better. If you need to turn to marine and offshore specialists for specific needs, expect a lot from them. These professionals can now provide you with much more than you may realize.

#1: Analysis services

Perhaps one of the best reasons to turn to today’s cutting edge companies is because they can provide you with incredible hydrodynamic analysis. This is information you need to know about the condition of structures and the options available to you. The bottom line here is that you can easily know what’s happening under the water faster and more effectively through these services. It can be an incredible way of repairing, upgrading, removing, or even preventing damage and problems down the road.

#2: Unique solutions

No situation is simple and in many situations, you need a customized solution that meets your long term and short term goals. Whether you need cable dynamics fitted to the very specific goals you have or another hard to find solution, today’s companies have the tools and resources to make it happen. That’s pretty exciting too. There is no longer a need for overwhelming problems that seem impossible to resolve since new solutions exist that fit even the most difficult of situation.

#3: Costs are lower

How can costs be lower when services continue to improve? Today’s marine and offshore specialists are readily available to help you with all types of challenges. The intense amount of work that used to be present on this type of jobsite tended to make it one of the more dangerous careers. Today, there are more types of technology readily available to reduce many of these risks. That also helps to reduce the costs associated with this type of service.

#4: Software technologies

Another way that marine specialists can provide a higher quality of service today than they have in the past is by providing more advanced and customized software programs. Simulation, ballast control, and stability software programs provide more information while also answering many questions. It makes for improved function of every type of marine need while reducing costs and improving risks. Ultimately, software technologies can do more work including preventative work to ensure marine structural stability and function.

#5: More prevention, less repair

No matter if you have a large waterfront or a small dock, it is always better to prevent maintenance and repairs than to have to invest a great deal into those repairs. Now, there is a better understanding of the requirements of these tough climates. With improved prevention methods and more attention to potential problems, specialists can help to minimize the risks that property owners and marine users have and, in doing so, reduce the amount of money spent.

#6: Training simulators

One of the most important components of getting any marine or offshore project complete is working with well trained and experienced professionals. These pros can now do much more, including using training simulators for all types of applications. This includes jack-up simulators, ballast control simulators, and various other technologies. These technologies provide answers to the question “what if” which is often asked in these very tough circumstances. Often times, accuracy in these situations is critical and mistakes are not possible. With simulators, there is much less risk because the likely outcome is better understood.

#7: Better understanding of environmental impacts

In today’s society, it is not just good enough to get the job done. It is also important, if not essential, to ensure a green method is taken whenever possible. Today’s marine specialists better understand the impact changes to the marine environment can have on the local eco system. Over the last few years, this has led to more improved methods of making changes that do not negatively impact natural resources, wildlife, or marine life. That’s important for any industry.

#8: Expertise is higher than ever

Did you know that you can bring on board those professionals who have ample experience to provide you with in-depth information and understanding of your options? For example, if you operate a shipyard that is rather busy, you may be under pressure to minimize liability in accidents. That will help save you money. By bringing in a true professional, even an expertise witness professional, you can gain insight that you simply did not have before. This can help you to avoid accidents, improve outcomes, and reduce liability.

#9: Finance information and resources

Did you know that you can also use these trained professionals to help you to gain financing for your next project? If you need to demonstrate a need to a lender about your specific project goals so that you can secure those funds, call in these marine specialists. The goal here is to demonstrate the need for the service or structural changes, determine the value of this type of project (or the cost it will have), and then present this information in such a way as it proves lending is necessary.

#10: Hypochlorinators are available today

New technology allows for improved conditions, too. Trust true marine specialists to help you with hypochlorinators. This is a tool that allows you to achieve a variety of benefits. They may include ballast water treatment in ships. It may also include the cooling and general saltwater treatment on production platforms. It may even include the treatment of cooling water in various industrial facilities. This system continues to become a must for onshore and offshore needs.

The fact is, today’s marine business or structure owner has options. When you need help, guidance, or preventative solutions, turn to these professionals for the answers you need. Consulting specialists for marine applications and offshore technologies is out there. You will have ample support from trained professionals who not only know the industry but also know the latest advances in it. This can help you to accomplish more while also helping you to reduce risk, liability, and of course the expense of operating your business or your dock.

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