The Gulf of Mexico is one of the busiest shipping lines in the world. It’s also crisscrossed with miles of subsea pipelines. The northern Gulf, where both pipelines and vessel traffic are most concentrated, offers the oil and gas companies complicated problems.
Marine pipelines’ most serious risks come from collisions with anchors and fishing nets, followed by storm-induced failure of the supporting sediments. In deeper waters, anchor and net damage have been responsible for more than 90 percent of the pipeline oil pollution recorded on the OCS between 1967 and 1990.
Currently, there is no available sensor technology that allows moving vessels to detect pipelines at a distance. Satellite-based location technology is improving rapidly, but older pipelines are not properly charted. Also, some pipelines that were buried decades back may become exposed due to sediment movement. In short, it’s tricky for vessels to avoid subsea pipelines.
Consider the traffic that the Gulf faces every year.
- Serving the oil and gas fields in the Gulf at any one time are several hundred oil field supply vessels from 60 to 200 feet long. These vessels work closely around rigs and other structures and must anchor in areas with high concentrations of pipelines.
- Fishing vessels also work in the same waters. About 20,000 shrimping vessels, 20 to 200 feet long, operate bottom trawls that can make direct contact with up to a square mile of seabed in a single day. Large shrimping vessels can trawl in water up to 500 feet deep. Fishing vessels frequently snag their nets, trawls, and other gear on unseen obstructions on the bottom.
How Submar Tackles Subsea Issues
Submar’s articulated concrete revetment mats can help combat these offshore issues by preventing pipelines from shifting when resting on the Gulf floor and protecting pipelines buried within the waters. Submar has delivered hundreds of thousands of articulated concrete mats worldwide to pipeline companies. Learn more about our work and read our case studies.