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College Station


Liz Stansfeld
Stansfeld & Fairbrother, Inc.
2600 S. Gessner
Suite 520
Houston, TX 77063
T. 713.266.7121
F. 713 266.0636
E. [email protected]

All rights reserved


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August 24, Richard Trevitt, R&B Falcon

Richard Trevitt's presentation on the Gyrfalcon project can be accessed through R&B Falcon's web site: http://www.rbfalcon.com

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June 22, Dave Huber, Mariner Energy

Dave Huber's discussion of the Pluto Project can be reviewed at the Mariner Energy web site: http://www.mariner-energy.com

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May 27, 2000 - Don Warlick, Warlick & Associates

Mr. Warlick discussed recovery of the oil and gas industry and what is driving it.

Click here for the presentation

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April 27, 2000 - Sean Salter, Shell Angus Project

Due to confidential content, presentation not made available for internet distribution

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March 23, 2000 - Mike Arrellano, Weather Research Center, Houston

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February 24, 2000 - Perry Wright, Ocean Design, Inc.,

The Future of Fiber Optics in the Offshore Industry

Perry Wright gave a presentation on where Fiber Optics are going how they are likely to impact the Offshore Industry. Due to some of the confidential information included in this talk, it is not being made available online. Interested parties are invited to contact Ocean Design direct for more information.

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January 26,  2000 - Matt Simmons of Simmons and Company 
Mr. Simmons gave an overview of his "State of the Industry." His talk included comments from the following two presentations:

2000 Energy Forecast:  Presented to the Annual Dinner of the Calgary Society of Financial Analysts in Alberta, Canada on January 20, 2000

Beyond Boom Or Bust In World Oil Markets: Presented to the U.S. Department Of Energy And Energy Institute: University of Houston
Houston, Texas January 26, 2000

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March 23, 2000 - Mike Arrellano, Weather Research Center, Houston

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly:  Gulf of Mexico Weather

When we think of weather, we usually thin about partly cloudy skies and a slight chance of thunderstorms. But offshore, it’s a different story. Winds interacting with the seas can make any operation quite interesting. 

The Gulf of Mexico for the most part is a great place to work, However, there are those few times a year that can be difficult. Weather that affects the Gulf of Mexico can come in three ways. I call these the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, The good weather, usually in the summer months from May through September; the bad weather, usually during the late fall, winter and early spring months and the ugly, usually when hurricanes pay a visit to the Gulf of Mexico.

For the most part, good weather conditions prevail across the waters. On average, winds of 0-16 knots prevail 81 percent of the time during the year. Winds of 17-27 knots occur 17 percent of the time and winds greater than 28 knots occur only 2 percent of the time. 

During the good weather months, winds are generally 10-15 knots or less with seas less than five feet under fair skies. These usually occur during the summer months when cold fronts and mid-latitude cyclones stop their southward migration. The western edge of the Bermuda high pressure system usually dominates the Gulf of Mexico. The only thunderstorm activity is usually associated with westward moving tropical wave, otherwise the weather is fair. 

The bad is during the transition times of fall, winter and spring. This is when mid-latitude low pressure systems will for over the Southwestern and Central US Almost always a strong southerly flow will set-up ahead of a cold front that will move into the Gulf of Mexico. A strong swell will also develop after a prolonged period of strong southerly winds. In the wake of these cold fronts. northerly winds in excess of 20 knots, sometimes to gale force, will spread across the waters. In addition to the winds, thunderstorms and squall lines will precede the cold front. Arctic high pressure systems are frequent visitors offshore. Very rarely will an intense winter storm form.

Some terms to know include: small craft exercise caution (winds of 15-20 knots, seas 4-6 feet), small craft advisory (winds of 18-33 knots and seas of 6-12 feet), gale warning (forecast winds 34-47 knots and seas greater than 12 feet), storm warning (winds greater than 48 knots) and significant wave heights (waves 8 feet or greater), 

The ugly times are during the hurricane season when a dangerous storm can affect the waters. Hurricane season runs from June 1-Novemeber 30. Size and intensity of the storm will determine how much of the area will be affected. The uncertainty of the track can also pose problems. Combine that with a lack of a contingency plan and operations offshore can become quite chaotic. The question of evacuating usually comes down to risks: safe versus sorry.
When an evacuation is ordered, it is easier to bring personnel in from the coastal shelf than it is from over deepwater leases. In fact, the deepwater leases could be threatened more than the coastal shelf. Hurricanes almost always affect the loop current which causes numerous problems to moorings and anchoring.

Terms to know during the hurricane season include tropical wave (a weak area of low pressure without a defined circulation that usually moves from east to west in the Tropics), tropical disturbance (an organized area of thunderstorms that usually forms in the tropics, holding itself together for at least 24 hours), tropical depression (an organized area of low pressure where sustained surface winds are 38 mph or less), tropical storm (a strong area of low pressure associated with maximum winds of 39-73 mph and heavy rains), hurricane (a powerful tropical cyclone with a complex structure and maximum sustained winds of at least 74 mph), eye wall (an organized band of intense thunderstorms that surround the center of the hurricane) and Saffier-Simpson scale (a categorical method used to measure the intensity and damage caused by a hurricane).

There are several different methods of forecasting hurricane intensity and movement. These are based on climatology, persistence, circulation and dynamic models. Some models include: NOGAPS (Navy Operational Global Atmospheric Prediction System), MRF (Medium Range Forecast, (GFDL (Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Labaratory), AVN (Aviation model) and UKMET (The forecast model from Great Britain).

The most important tool in dealing with offshore weather is utilizing an accurate and precise weather forecast. By utilizing this information, personnel can maximize operations and make better use of downtime. Communication between the meteorologist and the user is essential when working in a weather environment like that of the Gulf of Mexico. Research and education continues to help better understand the Gulf of Mexico weather environment.

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