Page 46: of Marine News Magazine (July 2019)
NOIA, OMSA Partner to Advance U.S. Vessel Opportunities in the Emerging Offshore Wind Sector.
By Timothy Charters and Aaron Smith
In 1941, geologist opened for offshore energy production in 1966, the ? rst
Orval Lester Brace work was conducted by many of the men, machines, and stated “it may be ten- companies that had cut their teeth in the Gulf of Mexico. tatively assumed that This innovative and pioneering spirit continues in the the Gulf of Mexico U.S. offshore oil and gas industry today. Many of the ves- is a potential source sel-based, drilling, production, and servicing innovations of salt-dome oil. made in our global industry come from the Gulf of Mexi-
Whether or not it will co. This success has caused our industry to remain primar- be economically fea- ily focused on oil and gas development, instead of applying
Smith Charters sible to explore these our innovative nature to other offshore industries. waters for the domes As a result, most of the advances made in offshore wind that must exist is a question for the future to answer.” technology have been made abroad in Europe.
The future hypothesized by Mr. Brace was not nearly as However, the U.S. is catching up. In 2016, the ? rst U.S. far off as it seemed. Less than six years after his proclama- offshore wind farm was constructed providing 30 mega- tion, Kerr-McGee Oil Industries, along with Phillips Petro- watts (MW) of power to the U.S., enough to power 22,500 leum, Stanolind Oil and Gas Co, and Brown and Root, had homes. Unlike Mr. Brace wondering what tomorrow will constructed the ? rst truly offshore drilling and production bring for offshore energy, our organizations know these 30 platform 10 miles off the coast of Morgan City, Louisiana. MW of wind power will be paltry by tomorrow’s standards.
By 1949, 44 wells had been drilled into the Gulf of Mexico. The University of Delaware’s Special Initiative on Off-
The founding of this industry was anything but simple. shore Wind (SIOW) recently released a white paper esti-
The routine supply chain issues associated with land-based mating that the anticipated development of 18,600 MW drilling became logistical challenges for the offshore explo- of offshore wind power in seven Eastern states by 2030. rations of the 1940s and 1950s. Pilings, derricks, pipes, Supplying this power to our nation will be 1,700 turbines, and drilling components had to be loaded on surplus towers, and bases; 60 substations; almost 5,000 miles of
World War II vessels, wooden shrimp boats, and other cables; and more than $5 billion in maritime support, in- small craft. As did every ounce of drilling mud, water, and surance, and project management. All told between now cement used during drilling operations, not to mention and 2030, the U.S. offshore wind industry will invest $70 the men that worked on these platforms. billion in capital expenditures.
To meet these challenges, Alden “Doc” Laborde in This emerging market has gotten the attention and in- 1955 constructed the ? rst vessel purposely built to address terest of the U.S. offshore energy industries and many Gulf these needs. This vessel, the Ebb Tide, was constructed by of Mexico companies are now committing resources and
Laborde and his partners for $225,000. This vessel was exploring offshore wind investments. larger and more powerful than the vessels that had been While our industries have an innovative history and na- previously utilized. It was also better designed for the tasks ture, understanding a completely new industry is not al- with a large open deck which could carry oversized equip- ways the easiest of tasks. The offshore wind market, devel- ment. Because of these assets, three sister vessels were al- opment timelines, and regulatory seascape are all different. most immediately built, as was the company Tidewater, This is where our organizations come in. one of the largest vessel operators on the planet. The National Ocean Industries Association (NOIA) was
The offshore drilling and vessel expertise that was devel- founded in 1972 and represents all facets of the domestic off- oped in the Gulf of Mexico in the 1940s and 1950s was shore energy and related industries. NOIA’s mission is to secure quickly exported around the planet. When the North Sea reliable access and a fair regulatory and economic environment
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