HOUSTON – The University of Houston will lead a national research center for subsea engineering and other offshore energy development issues, including research and technology to improve the sustainable and safe development of oil and gas resources in the Gulf of Mexico.
The work is intended to reduce the risk of offshore accidents, oil spills, and other deepwater disasters. The Subsea Systems Institute, announced by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, will be funded by the RESTORE Act (Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States), resulting from the 2010Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Outgoing Texas Gov. Rick Perry said that $4 million in funds given to Texas by BP after the 2010 oil spill will be distributed to fund the center launched by the university, as well as a second center to be led by Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.
The Institute will be led by UH, working in collaboration with Rice University, the Johnson Space Center, Texas Southern University, Houston Community College, and Lone Star College.
It will serve as a liaison for industry and government regulators, testing and validating equipment, helping standard-setting institutions with neutral third-party knowledge and other best practices, developing new materials and science-based policies, as well as overseeingworkforce training.
In addition to its technical work, the center will work on issues relating to training future subsea engineers.
Paula Myrick Short, vice president for academic affairs and provost at UH, said: “As the home ofthe nation’s only subsea engineering program, the University of Houston is uniquely positioned to lead not just the United States but the world in developing educational programs to ensure future leaders are able to safely and efficiently discover and develop future sources of energy in the Gulf of Mexico and other deepwater regions.”