The Offshore Technology Research Center (OTRC) is a graduated National Science Foundation (NSF) Engineering Research Center supporting the offshore oil and gas industry. It is jointly operated by Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at Austin.
Established in 1988 with funding from the NSF and industry, the Center was created to conduct basic engineering research and develop systems for the economical and reliable recovery of hydrocarbons at ocean depths of 3,000 feet or more. During its first decade, the OTRC achieved a leadership role in cutting-edge research on critical elements of the deepwater production problem. The OTRC engages principal investigators from several departments at the two campuses, to perform interdisciplinary research in six principal areas: Floating Structures, Risers and Moorings, Materials, Seafloor Engineering, Subsea Systems, and Risk/Reliability Assessment/Management.
In the past few years, gas and petroleum reserves under ultra-deep water (6,000 to 10,000 feet) on the continental slopes of the Gulf of Mexico have been demonstrated to be of enormous economic and strategic significance to the United States. OTRC’s wave basin is playing a pivotal role in the development of these reserves, and testing capabilities are continually being expanded and improved to meet the challenges of testing structures for greater depths.
New technologies have contributed to the rising interest in exploration and development in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. This interest is evidenced by the recent offshore natural gas and oil lease sales in the Western Gulf of Mexico. As the industry moves into deeper water, new technical, safety and environmental challenges will arise. The OTRC has already demonstrated research strength in areas such as wave, current and wind loading on floating structures, mooring and riser analyses, application of high-performance composite materials to offshore structures and advanced techniques to explore and characterize the engineering properties of the largely unknown, deep seafloor of the Gulf of Mexico.
The Center now stands ready with the expertise to address the need for new and evolving technologies, larger and more complex facilities, modification of procedures and additional environmental protection issues. For more information about the OTRC, please contact us.