Chris Madeley and Nick McNaughton will be presenting some recent examples from SEA’s portfolio of technology-based innovations at two conferences this week.

OPT 2016: Adopting New Technologies for Efficient Pipeline Engineering

The push for cost-effective, high-quality pipeline analysis has driven the adoption of new analysis tools. ‘Big data’ tools are already applied extensively in data science and finance fields. Using these tools unlocks exciting new possibilities for subsea engineering. Two case studies will be presented: sensitivity analysis via machine learning, and interactive calculation-backed documents that improve exploration and collaboration.

Sensitivity analyses are typically performed by manipulating one variable at a time to assess the design impact. This procedure is cumbersome for systems with multiple variables and rarely captures variable interactions. New analysis tools can manipulate all variables simultaneously, across thousands of input cases in order to identify and rank critical variables. The case study presented will demonstrate how this technique was applied in a free-span analysis with 50 input variables.

Typical design processes have slow feedback loops, making collaboration difficult and iteration expensive. Despite calculations being a function of input variables, results are communicated with static documents. This case study illustrates a new approach making use of interactive calculation-backed documents enabling interaction with the data to enhance decision-making processes. The case study will highlight improvements in design, cost effectiveness and increased understanding through use of new technologies.

AOG 2016: Engineering with power tools – adding cloud computing to the engineer’s toolbox

Today’s engineering techniques were originally developed to provide concise, deterministic and conservative approaches to analysis. As computational power has grown, manual calculations have evolved beyond spreadsheets into detailed numerical modelling techniques like FEA. Where correctly applied, these techniques have allowed for a safe reduction in conservatism for cost-critical structures, making more projects economically viable.

The power of cloud-computing and big data continues to change the way people operate and understand the world around us. These tools are used extensively in fields like data science, finance and research, but there are few examples of applications in offshore engineering. The power unlocked by the cloud computing revolution has made probabilistic analysis a practical tool for many offshore analysis challenges, identifying and reducing unnecessary conservatism.

To explore this technology SEA have developed a cloud-based tool for subsea pipeline analysis, with the aim of calculating a more complete description of the pipeline system to ultimately reduce costs. The implemented tool performs distributed computation and interpretation of large datasets. A case study illustrating the implementation of this solution will be presented, with emphasis on the results improvement from using a probabilistic approach. Other areas of opportunity for a step-change in capabilities will be highlighted.