Fugro GEOS is coordinating a new study into the impact of violent weather on West African offshore projects.
Although the region's metocean environment is generally mild, it is subject to squalls or thunderstorms, the characteristics of which are not well understood.
Considerations for engineering applications include the vertical wind speed profile at the gust front and within the squall, horizontal length scales and duration of squalls, extreme wind speeds and their associated directions, and the effects of atmospheric disturbance.
To answer these questions, BP, ChevronTexaco, ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil, Shell, Total, and Woodside have formed the West Africa Gust joint industry project.
This is being administered by Fugro Geos with assistance from the UK's Institute for Atmospheric Science, the University of Leeds and Bristol University's Mechanics Department. Analysis will start by identifying squall events in available time-series data, followed by calculations of stability indices to improve understanding of the atmospheric conditions that give rise to squall events. Squall impact on offshore installations will be assessed using a simplified response model, with wavelet analysis employed to investigate time dependence of squall winds and the resultant structural response.