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Conference Write-Up Seabed mobility and offshore installations: Developing a case for guidance

On 24th February 2020, the British Standards Institute (BSI) in London hosted a 1-day industry workshop which discussed seabed mobility, a technical area relevant to all seabed users with assets in, or on, the seabed. Organised jointly by marine consultants Kevin Black from Partrac Ltd (Glasgow) and Bill Cooper from Cooper Marine Advisors Ltd.  The goal of this event was to capture industry experiences, views and current approaches across various stages of project development, to provide a forum for discussion for the variety of specialists and stakeholders interested in this subject, and garner support with a view to development of industry guidance.

Altogether 45 people attended the workshop (the meeting was over-subscribed!), with representatives from standards bodies, offshore developers (wind, oil-gas), seabed managers, regulatory advisors, consultants, the insurance sector, and academia. The workshop began with a welcome by BSI, who offered insight into their operations and the benefits of standards and guidance. Bill Cooper provided an overview of the day including a rationale for the project and the hopes for the generation of industry guidance.  A series of presentations then followed to set the scene from a range of different perspectives. The audience warmly welcomed speakers from Orsted (developer), Bibby Hydromap (marine survey), Cathie (geotechnical consultant), Lloyd Warwick (marine insurance/warranty) and Enshore (cable installer).

Lunch – sponsored kindly by Cathie – followed, after which a series of breakout sessions were organised; attendees were split into four groups, and each group was challenged to discuss and answer 3 questions posed by the organisers.

Question 1. What proportion of the group supports the development of guidance to help improve delivery seabed mobility studies?

Question 2. Which issues would you consider as priorities for guidance and why?

Question 3. Apart from developing guidance, what other issues would the group consider merit some improvement?

There was universal (100%) endorsement for the development of technical guidance, and an appreciation of the cost-value that new guidance would bring to both developers and associated groups. The break-out discussion sessions provided valuable input in relation to the range of content of any guidance, and what topic areas should be included to meet industry (‘end-user’) requirements (in total 36 important items were identified by the attendees).  Ensuring any guidance provides outputs which meet end-user requirements (across each of the various project stages) was a central discussion point, and also communicating the nature of limitations and uncertainties in the assessment process to end-users.

Daniel Conley from Plymouth University’s Coastal Processes Research Group gave a short presentation on some of the latest research academia was conducting in this area.

A Survey Monkey as circulated to each attendee after the event to further capture their experiences of the day and to provide additional input. All present respondents have indicated an interest to be kept informed of next steps.

A drinks reception at the nearby Clayton Hotel following the event, and sponsored by Partrac, provided an excellent opportunity to celebrate the success of the day, plus a networking opportunity.

To access the presentations click here.

If you would like any further information regarding the conference or any of the issues discussed please contact Dr. Kevin Black (