Mobile foundations: shifting paradigms in deepsea engineering
Federal funding has been awarded to COFS' Professor Susan Gourvenec (pictured right) for a 3-year research project to create a design framework for mobile foundations to support deepwater subsea infrastructure.
The research will challenge a traditional but conservative paradigm that an acceptable foundation should remain in a fixed position during operation. A design framework will be created for mobile foundations - that is, foundations that are designed to move tolerably to accommodate displacements rather than remain stationary and resist loads.
Mobile foundations will alleviate many design headaches associated with subsea infrastructure. They are a logical evolution of the radical but now widely-accepted practice of permitting pipelines to displace in a controlled manner to accommodate operational loading.
This technology offers an economic solution to a present challenge to deepwater developments, and will contribute to unlocking the huge deepwater hydrocarbon reserves located offshore Australia and elsewhere that are currently 'stranded'.