The Industrial Transformation Research Hub for Offshore Floating Facilities (OFFshore ITRH) commenced in May 2016 and ended in Dec 2021. This multi-disciplinary research initiative, jointly funded by industry and the Australian Research Council, collaborated to address the critical engineering challenges being faced by offshore oil and gas projects by creating improved design and operating procedures. The OFFshore Hub was based at the University of Western Australia, with nodes at Western Sydney University and The University of Southampton. Summary details are available here.
The OFFshore ITRH launched on 15th April 2016 at the UWA University Club, alongside the Industrial Transformation Training Centre for LNG Futures (ITTC) in the presence of Senator Linda Reynolds. There were more than 200 attendees, including Professor Fiona Cameron of the ARC, Deputy Vice Chancellor of Research Robyn Owens, Perth’s Lord Major Lisa Scaffidi, key representatives from each of our partner organizations, and many other distinguished guests.
The OFFshore ITRH involved five interlinked multi-discipline projects that worked together to develop new technologies to unlock safe and more efficient offshore projects, spanning both design and operations. The projects were in the areas of ocean forecasting, riser and mooring longevity, vessel motion and offloading, and novel anchoring and subsea foundations. The research program involved a blend of physical and numerical modelling supported by fieldwork and analysis of observations from existing facilities.
The Offshore ITRH was led by a team of over 15 academic staff drawn from the UWA Oceans Graduate School, UWA School of Engineering, UWA Department of Mathematics and Statistics and the UWS School of Engineering, Design and Built Environment. The OFFshore ITRH is embedded within UWA’s broader group of more than 40 academics with interests in offshore engineering and ocean systems who bring a wealth of technical experience to the activities of the OFFshore ITRH. Some of the other groups who collectively add to the depth of technical knowledge within the OFFshore ITRH include the Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems (COFS) and the Oceans Institute (OI).
The OFFshore ITRH relied upon and expanded the existing facilities at UWA in order to deliver successful outcomes for the rigorous research program. These included the centrifuge facilities at the National Geotechnical Centrifuge Facility (NGCF), the O-tube cyclone simulation flume and large scale wave flume facilities at the Coastal and Offshore Engineering Laboratory (COEL), the Pawsey Supercomputing Facility, and the ocean data collection and modelling facilities within the Oceans Institute (OI). UWA’s oceans researchers across engineering and science are co-located in the Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre (IOMRC) which helped to facilitate collaboration between team members.
The OFFshore ITRH was actively supported by industry partners Shell, Woodside Energy, Bureau Veritas and Lloyds Register. Each partner organisation helped to shape the research direction, collaborated in the research activity, drove the technology transfer, and assisted with the mentorship of the researchers and students. This close collaboration with our partners was an essential component of the success of the OFFshore ITRH and without it we would not have been able to have such a significant impact on the wider offshore industry.
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