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LASPE Petroleum Technology Forum
Petroleum Club in Long Beach on May 10th at
11:30AM Social - 12:00 Noon Lunch - 12:20PM Presentation
$15.00 General Admission - Students
are Guests of LA SPE
Long Beach Petroleum Club
3636 Linden Avenue
Long Beach CA 90807

Society of Petroleum Engineers
Distinguished Lecturer 2004-05 Lecture Season

THE OFFSHORE INDUSTRY - Middle-aged, but still learning.

Mike Utt

The first platform out of the sight of land was installed in the Gulf of Mexico by Kerr-McGee on September 9, 1947.  The water depth was 18 feet. That event is generally regarded as the start of the offshore oil and gas industry. In over five decades since then, the industry has grown remarkably.  There are now over 4,000 offshore platforms in the world, and the deepest production comes from more than 7,000 feet below the surface of the ocean.  Exploration drilling recently raised the world's record to over 10,000 feet of water depth.

The safe, reliable, profitable production of hydrocarbons from beneath the ocean requires a combination of technologies that have been developed as the industry has moved to ever-deeper water. Meteorology, oceanography, naval architecture, structural dynamics, fatigue, corrosion, communication, instrumentation, development of synthetic structural materials, remotely operated vehicles - these are some of the sciences and technologies that have developed to support the offshore industry. The offshore industry has developed remarkable tools, such as jack-up drilling rigs, semisubmersibles, and dynamically positioned drillships.  The general public and the news media remain remarkably ignorant of the technical achievements of the industry. The difference between a fixed production platform and a deep water mobile offshore drilling unit often is  unrecognized in a news item.

There are now over 130 floating production systems in operation around the world, and it is expected that number will grow rapidly over the next decade. The continuing development of technology to make floating production systems in deep water safe, reliable and profitable is the continuing challenge of the offshore industry.

Mike Utt was born a few months before the offshore industry.  He joined Union Oil of California in the mid-1970's as an Ocean Engineer.  At the time, Union’s Deep Water Technology team was focused on the problems of building production platforms for over 600 feet of water.  Over the past few years, Mike worked as a team member on the Unocal's first floating production system, a tension-leg platform in 3,350 feet of water near the east coast of Borneo. Mike will review the history, technology, and challenges of the offshore industry in its middle age.

LASPE Forum Committee:
Maryam Davari, 213-225-5900x209,
Brandy Fellers, 562-624-3237
Rick Finken 562-570-3961,

We hope to see you and Click Here to see complete calendar for future Forums.

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