The OTRC’s mission is to provide technology, expertise, and services needed for the development of drilling, production, and transportation systems that enable the safe and economically viable exploitation of hydrocarbon resources in deep and ultra-deep water.
The OTRC develops technology through a balanced program of basic and applied research projects that is focused in the following core technical areas:
- characterization of the ocean environment
- characterization of the seafloor environment
- environmental forces on structures and foundation systems
- structural responses and integrity, and
- advanced composite materials.
The research program is balanced and optimized based on the interests and needs of OTRC’s sponsors, and emphasizes areas of common interest that provide opportunities for leveraging resources. In executing this program the OTRC seeks to maximize sponsor interaction in order to enhance the effectiveness of the research.
The OTRC conducts the research through Principal Investigators that are primarily located at Texas A&M University and University of Texas. However OTRC reaches out to external organizations to access necessary skills as appropriate.
The OTRC is committed to effective technology transfer to sponsors and the global offshore community.
The OTRC develops expertise by participating in the recruitment and education of engineering students, and by providing opportunities for engineers to enhance their skills throughout their career. The OTRC promotes the development of Texas A&M University and University of Texas faculty and student expertise in offshore engineering topics through sponsored research projects and by facilitating interaction with industry. National and international collaborations through visiting scholars, industry fellows, and outreach programs are promoted as a means to enhance the research program. Interactions between students and sponsors are promoted in order to familiarize students with the industry and the sponsors’ organization, and to enhance sponsors’ familiarity of students as recruiting prospects. These interactions include internships, lectures, field trips, and participation in OTRC projects in the wave basin and other laboratories.
The OTRC offers a variety of services to the offshore industry. In particular, the OTRC
- maintains and operates a world-class wave basin and offers model testing services on a commercial basis to support concept development though final design validation,
- conducts or supports Joint Industry Projects to advance first-time or novel technology applications,
- provides continuing education courses in offshore engineering to help practicing engineers maintain or enhance their skills, and
- facilitates interactions between industry, government agencies, and academia to discuss important relationships between technology and regulations, define and assess technology needs, or transfer technology.
In addition the OTRC staff leverage their expertise by participating in various forums sponsored by industry, government, and standards organizations.
In fulfilling its core mission of providing technology, expertise and services, the OTRC’s focus evolves with the needs and interests of its sponsors. Historically the OTRC has focused on technology to enable the development of the deepwater Gulf of Mexico. However the recent interest in ultra-deepwater (> 1500 m water depth), the increasing remoteness of new developments from existing infrastructure, and the continued globalization of the offshore industry has motivated OTRC sponsors to consider a larger variety of deep and ultra-deepwater systems and components. As sponsor interests evolve, the OTRC will continue to strengthen and advance its core technical areas through research programs that address the changing technology needs for systems and components that include:
- structures for floating drilling and/or production systems,
- risers, pipelines, flowlines, and umbilicals,
- permanent and temporary stationkeeping systems,
- hydrocarbon offloading and storage systems, and
- subsea well and production systems.
The OTRC is focused on technology needed for deployment of such systems and components in the ultra-deepwater Gulf of Mexico. However as the Gulf of Mexico environment has many similarities with other harsh and remote deepwater regions of the world, it is recognized that technology developed by the OTRC has broad applications worldwide.