New weather prediction tool for FPSO and moored offshore facilities

A new type of forecasting capability will help the oil and gas industry better prepare for the impacts of marine weather, potentially avoiding operational delays and costly damage from unexpected conditions.

MetraWeather, in conjunction with 49%-owned MetOcean Solutions, has launched Offshore Motion Forecasts (OMF), a new product that delivers reliable hour-by-hour predictions on how wave, current and weather conditions will affect the response of floating offshore facilities including FPSO vessels.

The predictions are calculated for a specific location and vessel, and will help offshore operators plan ahead to mitigate against any possible disruptions caused by a particular alignment of marine conditions, as well as more routine situations involving adverse weather.

Dr Peter McComb, Managing Director of MetOcean Solutions, says the effect of vessel roll motion on operations is a major challenge to the increasing number of floating facilities in the continental shelf and deepwater locations around the world.
Being able to plan ahead using reliable predictions will provide significant advantages.

"Many of the facilities on board these vessels are not designed to operate in rolling conditions, which can occur when the waves, winds and currents are not similarly aligned. These moored vessels will weathervane in response to the environmental conditions, and sometimes the vessel can find itself beam on to distantly-generated swells. These waves typically have a period range that will excite the rolling motion of the vessel, and that’s where the problems start," he said.

The Offshore Motion Forecast, a discreet module within the MetOceanView online information portal, solves the problem with a set of analytical equations that will work for any floating facility, such as a floating production storage and offloading vessel (FPSO). Using the specifications of the vessel (e.g. length, beam, draft, etc.), the marine weather forecast is overlayed to first predict the orientation of the vessel, hour-by-hour for the next seven days. Then, the heave, pitch and roll of the vessel are calculated for the seven-day forecast horizon.

Dr McComb says this information will help offshore companies make informed operational decisions for their floating facilities, based on the upcoming marine weather conditions.

"For example, they might need to load important equipment over the next few days, and if the forecast predicts unsafe roll motions they could request tug assistance to reorient the vessel and mitigate the roll motion."

The new tool will be offered to oil and gas operators, as well as to the support industries, in the last quarter of 2014.


Peter Fisher
Business Development Manager
M +64 27 563 8626

Dr Peter McComb
Managing Director
MetOcean Solutions Ltd
M +64 27 685 3473