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Subsea Construction

Offshore oil and gas developments, underwater mining and offshore wind power industries are expanding and operating thanks to subsea construction. In addition, subsea construction takes place at ports, oil rigs, and wherever construction is occurring near the water. Skilled workers and engineer with subsea experience are in high demand for construction jobs.

Australia is currently expanding their offshore oil industry along the Northwest shelf of Western Australia creating high demand for subsea jobs in construction.

Off the Florida coast in America NASA has people living in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Aquarius Underwater Laboratory (NOAA) to test out new space equipment, space medicine concepts and moon-walking techniques. For more information, read the Humans Living Under the Sea article.

Underwater mining

According to Wealth Daily, underwater mining began over 30 years ago when seafloor massive sulfide (SMS) deposits were discovered. These deposits hold remarkable grades of nickel, copper, lead, zinc, silver and gold. “Exceptionally high concentrations of gold, known as epithermal (magmatic) gold deposits, have been found within new under water mining deposits.”

New underwater mining efforts are currently being considered as the population’s increase starts putting pressure on the current resource supply. Also technological advancements in underwater equipment are discovering minerals in abundance under the sea leading to new mining stations being created.

Oil and Gas construction

Oil and gas fields have been found offshore around the world. The first subsea construction of an oil field was completed in 1943 in Lake Erie coming in at a water depth of 10.7 metres. Shell developed their first subsea well in the 1961 in the Gulf of Mexico.

These subsea oil fields can be found either in shallow or deepwater and requires the use of specialised equipment that can retrieve the subsea hydrocarbons in an economically feasible manner as well as protect the surrounding environment. The development of these fields incurs high costs due to the need for advanced onboard equipment and specialised vessels. Operators are also required to have excellent knowledge of engineering and simulation.

Offshore Wind Power

Another aspect of subsea construction involves offshore wind power. Both submarine power transmission cables and other electrical energy equipment are installed and maintained under water. The foundations for fixed-bottom wind turbines along with the anchoring of floating wind turbines need regular inspections all requiring the help of subsea construction and subsea technologies.

Study Opportunities

The Australian Maritime College offers a Bachelor of Engineering (Ocean Engineering): “Ocean Engineers are involved in the design of some of the largest, most complex and expensive structures produced by mankind including offshore structures such as oil and gas platforms, subsea pipelines, submersible vehicles, ports and harbours and alternative energy systems.”

The four-year degree is offered at the Australian Maritime College in Launceston, Tasmania.

A collaborative degree is also on offer which enables a student to complete the first two years of study in Western Australia at Edith Cowan University:

“The joint award between Edith Cowan University and the AMC makes use of the strengths of both institutions, including the AMC’s uniquely maritime focus and its wide variety of specialist facilities to produce graduates with a strong ‘hands on’ approach to complement their theoretical studies.”

Conclusion

Subsea construction is where construction occurs under water. The offshore wind power, mining, oil and gas industries all have subsea construction developments in progress. As more discoveries of minerals, oil and gas are made below surface of water, the more subsea developments will expand. People with subsea construction skills are in high demand in construction mining jobs, oil and gas construction jobs and within the maritime industry.

Visit our Construction Sectors page for more information on all the sectors needed to support the resource industry.
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