Outline of Weather and Wave Forecasting Techniques
- Alfred H. Glenn (Meteorological Consultant) | Joe E. Graham (Humble Oil & Refining Co.)
- Document ID
- Society of Petroleum Engineers
- Journal of Petroleum Technology
- Publication Date
- February 1949
- Document Type
- Journal Paper
- 49 - 54
- 1949. Original copyright American Institute of Mining, Metallurgical, and Petroleum Engineers, Inc. Copyright has expired.
- 4.1.2 Separation and Treating, 6.1.5 Human Resources, Competence and Training, 4.5 Offshore Facilities and Subsea Systems, 1.6 Drilling Operations, 4.3.4 Scale, 1.10 Drilling Equipment
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Oil operators engaged in drilling on the Continental Shelf of Louisiana andTexas are in agreement that adverse weather and wave action are two of thegreatest hazards to the safety and efficiency of their work. It was anticipatedwhen the offshore operations commenced that such would be the case, andexperience to date has verified this assumption. Because atmospheric conditionsand wave action involve tremendous amounts of energy it is highly unlikely thatit will be possible to control any but the most localized weather and wavephenomena within the foreseeable future. Thus, as long as the offshoreoperations involve the movement of small craft and barges over exposed waters,and the transfer of personnel and heavy equipment from these craft to eitherfixed structures or larger craft at close quarters, the weather and waveproblem will remain.
Taking into consideration the persistence of the wave and weather problemand the improbability of achieving a direct solution, the Humble Oil &Refining Company, in planning its offshore campaign investigated thepossibility of forecasting wave and weather conditions in order to providewarnings of dangerous conditions and increase efficiency in day-to-day planningof work. It was recognized that predictions of wave and weather conditionsbased on meteorology and oceanography, both geophysical sciences, are not 100per cent accurate and application of forecasts in the offshore work wasdependent on whether they provided information which was sufficiently greaterin accuracy than the layman's guess to be worth the expenditure involved.
During World War II, meteorology and oceanography were used with success inreducing danger resulting from environmental conditions and increasingefficiency of operations exposed to the elements. This success was partiallythe result of improvement in the scientific techniques involved and theprocurement and distribution of observational data, and partially due to thelarge scope of the military operations which meant that a reduction of lossesof a relatively small percentage of the total cost amounted to a large figureexpressed in terms of dollars. Since the offshore drilling involves anextremely large financial investment, it was considered that the experience ofthe Armed Services in successfully employing meteorology and oceanography mightbe duplicated in the oil industry. In addition, the oil industry's successfulexperience in utilizing seismology, geology, and terrestrial magnetism; allgeophysical sciences, indicated that meteorology and oceanography, also of thefamily of geophysical sciences and sharing their scientific assets andliabilities, might be profitably put to use.
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