The offshore drilling industry is poised for dramatic changes over the next decade, as companies drill for new oil and gas deposits even deeper offshore. The industry is currently struggling with technical problems involved in transferring oil and natural gas extracted from deep under the sea floor through 10,000 feet of water.
At the University of Houston, professors are already looking at an “underwater oil city” scenario in the future, and the use of robots to overcome the technical challenges involved in extraction at these depths. It may seem like a fantastic vision, but it may become reality within the next six years.
The University of Houston is soon expected to launch a full graduate program in subsea engineering to meet the expected increased demand for engineers trained in this highly sophisticated field. Oil and gas drilling companies already know that in order to extract oil and gas deposits from beneath the seafloor, they have to explore new options, and think outside the box.
Oil service equipment provider FMC Technologies says that it is designing drilling equipment that can withstand the challenges of depths of 10,000 feet of water or more. At those depths, temperatures drop to close to freezing, and the pressure is 300 times greater than the pressure at the surface.
There is expected to be massive investment in subsea drilling technology including equipment, pipelines, cables, subsea valves, and the industry is poised to spend $13 billion on such equipment in 2013. That is a 65% increase from last year.
Obviously these are exciting times for the oil and gas industry which is looking at expanding its deep-sea drilling operations while controlling costs. But offshore injury attorneys believe that these operations must continue to take into consideration the safety of workers who are key to the success of such operations.