Annual Report 2017-2018

Chair: Zenon Medina-Cetina


SUT-US is comprised by an Executive Committee and five technical committees; Offshore Site Investigation and Geotechnics (OSIG), Subsea Engineering and Operations (SEO), Group on Environmental Forces (GEFUS), and the newly established Robotics & Automation (R&A) officially launched in March 2018, and Offshore Renewables (OR) that is to be inaugurated in the following months; by two non-technical committees, the Young Professionals and Education Committees; and by five students chapters, Texas A&M University (SUT-TAMU), the University of Houston (SUT-SES-UH), the Texas A&M University – Galveston (SUT-TAMUG), Rice University (SUT-RICE), and Instituto Tecnologico del Petroleo y Energia (SUT-ITPE). All are active groups that meet regularly and which have active memberships.

  • Notable efforts:
    Reed Exhibitions has suggested the Houston Branch of SUT be the lead Learned Society of Oceanology International USA 2019 San Diego. There was overall support to do this, should the opportunity materialize. The OSIG is committed to assisting with the conference.
  • Dr. Medina-Cetina, SUT-US Chair, and Kimberly Faulk, OSIG Chair, introduced a formal statement on behalf of the Society to promote diverse and safe environments for all professionals. The Executive Board accepted this proposal and it is now published and available through the Branch website:
  • The Executive Board approved changes in the SUT-US constitutions, proposed by Dr. Medina-Cetina, that require its committees including the Education Committee, Young Professionals and Student Chapters to establish their own committee’s constitutions. Other notable changes in the constitution include:
    • Presidents of the SUT-US Student Chapters become official members of the SUT-US Board to represent their corresponding Chapters in all meetings throughout the year, but are not be eligible to vote.
    • Chairs of the SUT-US technical committees become official members of the SUT-US Board

SUT-US’ staff is comprised by Mrs. Patsy Rhymes who assumes the coordination of all events; Ms. Araceli Lopez who is responsible for the coordination of communications.

Ms. Natalie Zielinski decided to take on a job at Sea-Bird Scientific in Seattle early January 2018 and is no longer working for the SUT-US. While Mrs. Rachel Kokel received a job offer as training instructor for a company in the oil and gas sector.

Following this is a summary of the key activities held at the SUT-US branch for the period of 1 July 2017 – 30 June 2018.

Networking Meetings


  1. July 13 2017 – 31
  2. August 3 2017 – 23
  3. September 7 2017 – 0
  4. October 5 2017 – 20
  5. November 2 2017 – 13
  6. December 7 2017 – 13
  7. January 11 2018 – 33
  8. February 1 2018 – 18
  9. March 1 2018 – 11
  10. April 5 2018 – 32
  11. Pre-OTC Kick-Off Party April 26 2018 – 38
  12. June 7 2018 – 22
  13. June 14 2018 – 36  (First SUT-US Women’s Networking Event)

Average attendance per networking event: 22 people

Other learning programs organized by Executive Committee included the workshop “Key Elements of Subsea Tiebacks,” presented at the Subsea Tiebacks Forum & Exhibition on March 13, 2018. Presenters included: Brian Skeels, Senior Technical Advisor, TechnipFMC, Don Schlater, BP Retired, Charles Horn, NanoRidge Materials, Inc, and Karl Schnakenburg, Subsea Engineering Advisor, BHP. Attendance: 24

Scholarship fundraisers

SUT-US organized a whisky-tasting event “The Art of Whisky Tasting” on March 30, 2018. Chopard Boutique Houston sponsored this event.

A clay shoot event was scheduled for August 31st, 2018. 50% of this event’s proceeds will help special needs children from the Be An Angel Fund as our official sponsor.


SUT US’ Annual General Meeting was held on December 7 2017. During this meeting, the executive committee introduced the new elected board members:

  • Aimee Thurlow, Integral Consulting Inc.
  • Roger Osborne, Ocean Flow International (Re-elected)

OSIG Committee

OSIG is comprised of the following subcommittees: Short Courses, Student/Faculty Research, Mentoring and Innovation, Learning Seminars & Webinars, School Touring and Communications. 44 active volunteers form OSIG.

OSIG’s activities for the 2017/2018-year have included learning luncheons, courses, and school touring programs.

Learning Luncheons & Webinars

  • July 11 2017 25 – Reliability-Based Design of Offshore Geostructures
    Dr. Farrokh Nadim, Technical Director, NGI
    Webinar attendees: 25
  • September 8 2017 – Experience in pipe-soil interaction: physical testing and modeling, and design analysis
    Dr. Vishal Dantal, NGI Houston
    Webinar attendees: 7
  • September 26 2017 – MASW for Offshore Wind Turbine Site Characterization
    Dr. Choon Park, Lead Author, MASW Technique, Chevron
    Seminar attendees: 11 Webinar attendees: 12
  • April 5 2018 – The Fourth McClelland Lecture
    Dr. Alan Young, The Fourth ISSMGE McClelland Lecturer
    Seminar attendees: 32 Webinar attendees: 6

Workshops & Courses

  • August 21 2017 – Design and Reliability of Offshore Geo-Structures
    Attendees: 16
  • April 16-18 2018 – Introduction to Integrated Marine Site Characterization
    Seminar attendees: 22 Webinar attendees: 5

OSIG is helping to design and support a new women’s networking initiative, although it requires support from the other subcommittees. The first networking event was held on June 14 featuring Geeta Thakorlal, President of INTECSEA as keynote speaker. The event was considered a success and the participants showed interest in participating in future women networking events.

OSIG’s School Touring Sub-committee is one of the most active groups in the SUT-US branch. Supporting OSIG members include Kim Faulk, Alan Foley, Francisco Hernandez, Jim Collins, Andy Hill, Dan Lanier, Amanda Evans, Dan McConnell, Logan Brant and Shawn Williamson. Thanks to the dedication and passion of its active volunteers, it was possible to reach over 1,500 students from K-12th in the 2017/2018 year.

  • June-August 2017 – 10 Week Program Arch 101 and Extreme Machines
    Houston Museum of Natural Science (HMNS)
    Students reached: 400
  • Dec 2017 – 6th Grade Geology Rocks
    CFISD Opal Hamilton Middle School
    Students reached: 450
  • March 08 2018 – 12th Grade Seeing with Sound & Opportunities
    CFISD Cy-Creek High School
    Students reached: 200
  • April 23 2018 – 4th Grade Seeing with Sound
    Humble ISD Science Center
    Students reached: 40
  • April 29 2018 – 6th Grade Geology Rocks
    FBISD Sartartia Middle School
    Students reached: 450

The School Touring program has faced difficult times revamping its activities and picking up its pool of volunteers after the hurricane disaster in September 2017. Unfortunately, Andrew Haigh, Chair of the School Touring Program, and his family were affected themselves by this disaster.

The primary goal for the next nine months is to rebuild the program to near where it was in July 2017. It is actively re-engaging with CFISD at their middle school teachers’ event and with SUT-US student chapters. Also, there is interest and involvement from the Young Professionals Committee (YP) and the Group on Environmental Forces (GEFUS).

Among its efforts to rebuild, the committee is evaluating possible collaboration with other educational programs and will participate at the International Archaeology Day on October 20 2018.

Upcoming events for OSIG 2018:

  • September 28 2018 – Workshop: Integrity and risk assessment of pipelines and SCRs
  • November 16-18 2018 – Marine Archaeology Course

SEO Committee

SEO is comprised of nine members. SEO’s activities for the 2017/ 2018 year have included learning luncheons, webinars and its flagship subsea course:

Learning Luncheons & Webinars

  • September 15 2017 – Next Generation of Subsea Vehicles
    Todd Newell, VP of Technology, Oceaneering
    Seminar attendees: 24 Webinar attendees: 4
  • November 30 2017 – Optimization vs Standardization
    Amedeo Marcotulli, E&C Offshore – Engineering Manager, SAIPEM America Inc.
    Seminar attendees: 19 Webinar attendees: 9
  • February 22 2018 – Subsea Chemical Storage and Injection
    Daniel Krohn
    Seminar attendees: 11 Webinar attendees: 6
  • April 19 2018 – Application of LiDAR Technology for Subsea Inspections and Metrology
    Michael Meehan, Lead Surveyor, TechnipFMC North America
    Seminar attendees: 16
  • May 24 2018 – Westwood Global Energy Deepwater Outlook for 2018-2022
    Andrew Meyers, Associate Director at Westwood Global Energy Group
    Seminar attendees: 36 Webinar attendees: 3

The Subsea Awareness Course (SAC) continues to be one of the main income generators for SUT US. The SEO committee and staff members continue to invest efforts to improve the learning experience of this course, and reaching out to more professionals throughout the industry. The leading hosting companies for the course have been TechnipFMC, BP America, the Jukes Group and Oceaneering.

The staff has been conducting surveys after every course to learn more about the participants’ experience and to receive feedback in order to improve the course in future editions in terms of logistics and presentations material. Some of the feedback suggested re-arranging the order of the presentations to improve the flow of the course; other suggestions included a reduced version of the course. The SEO intends to establish a new marketing strategy to target operators directly aiming to increase the participation numbers.

On October 2-5 2017 the SAC had a high participation level due to an agreement that Dr. Medina-Cetina’s closed successfully worth 15 seats with the Instituto Tecnologico del Petroleo y Energia (ITPE). This group in particular, participated in an extra visit to Texas A&M University to visit research labs and attend risk assessment presentations.

Six learners participated in the February 26 – March 1 2018 SAC, and seven more are confirmed to participate in the September 10-13 2018 training.

Upcoming events for SEO 2018:

  • September 10-13 2018 – Subsea Awareness Course
  • December 3-6 2018 – Subsea Awareness Course
  • Drilling 101 – Course

GEF Committee

The Group on Environmental Forces (GEFUS) was officially launched on August 10th, 2017. Jan Van Smirren was elected Chair and Rob Smith, Vice Chair. Currently, 19 volunteers form part of this committee.

GEF will be dedicated to advancing the understanding of meteorological-oceanographic investigations and improving the assessment of the corresponding environmental forces required for the proper design of offshore structures.

As part of GEFUS’ first efforts to take the group forward, the committee organized a two-day workshop by Mexico’s Research Consortium for the Gulf of Mexico (CIGoM): “Emerging Data and Models from the Gulf of Mexico. Mexico’s Integrated Baseline Development of Atmospheric, Oceanographic, Geological, and Ecological Processes, for Future Natural and Anthropogenic Threats.” The Workshop took place on January 11-12 2018 and counted with 25 participants.

The College of Geosciences, the Deparments of Ocean and Civil Engineering, the Center for Geospatial Sciences, Applications, and Technology (GEOSAT) and the Stochastic Geomechanics Laboratory (SGL) from TAMU co-sponsored this event.

Learning Luncheons & Webinars

  • November 9 2017 – Thrown for a Loop
    Chris Riffe, Chief Technology Director at Horizon Marine, Inc.
    Seminar attendees: 21 Webinar attendees: 10

Upcoming events for OSIG 2018

  • September 20 2018 – Marine Assurance
  • October 11 2018 – Overview of Vortex-Induced Vibrations and Its Suppression Devices
  • Metocean Awareness Course

Robotics and Automation Committee

The Robotics and Automation Committee (R&A) was officially launched on March 29 2018 at Rice University. The elected Chair is Dr. Fathi Ghorbel, Professor at Rice University, and Director of the Robotics & Intelligent Systems Lab.

The program of activities for the inauguration of this Committee included a seminar by Steve Hall, CEO of SUT, entitled: “Deep Eyes in the Ocean,” student poster presentations from the SUT-US student chapters, and a follow-up meeting on Rice University’s 2017 AUV Workshop sponsored by the Subsea Systems Institute (SSI, a joint Rice-US-NASA institute).

Individuals from the following organizations committed membership: Schlumberger, SAAB, inRobotics, Kongsberg, Chevron, CANRIG, RBR Group, TAM, UHCL, and Rice. The first R&A Committee meeting is scheduled to occur early Fall 2018.

Offshore Renewables Committee

Roger Osborne, Deepwater Projects at Ocean Flow International will lead this Committee. Current efforts are focused on defining membership.

A first learning program “Offshore Renewable Energy” has been organized jointly with the Offshore Site Investigation and Geotechnics Committee (OSIG), taking place on August 30 2018 and presented by William Stewart, Founder of Stewart Technology Associates.

Education Committee

Four members comprise the Education Committee, chaired by John Allen. This committee is responsible for reviewing SUT-US’ annual scholarship applications.
The 2017 scholarship recipients where recognized during the Scholarship Awards Ceremony on November 3, 2017. The selected students by the Scholarships Subcommittee were:

  • Grace Tsai, Nautical Archaeology, Texas A&M University
  • Devvrat Rathore, Subsea Engineering, University of Houston
  • Luz Zarate, Physical Oceanography, Texas A&M University
  • Marissa Malinoski, Marine Engineering Technology, Texas A&M University at Galveston
  • Natalie Oswalt, Mechanical Engineering, Texas A&M University
  • Rachel Holzhauser, Ocean Engineering, Texas A&M University

This year’s scholarship recipients will be awarded during the Scholarship Awards Ceremony on November 1 2018. Steve Hall, CEO of SUT, is expected to be the invited keynote speaker for the evening.

On September 26 2017 the Education Committee launched the SUT-US Rice University Student Chapter.

Dr. Fathi Ghorbel, Rice professor from the Department of Mechanical and Bioengineering and Director of Robotics and Intelligent Systems (RiSYS) serves as the faculty advisor for the new student chapter. Dr. Ghorbel’s research closely aligns within SUT’s areas of expertise, studying nanorobotics and nanomanipulation, robotic rehabilitation, in-pipe robotics sensing and inspections.

The Rice chapter has selected the following engineering student leaders, Issam Ben Moallemas for president, Clark Zha for vice president, and Hankun Deng for treasurer.

Young Professionals Committee

Five young volunteers who have committed to re-launch this group comprise the Young Professionals Committee of SUT-US (SUT-YP). The SUT-YP promotes a multi-faceted approach to personal and professional development by providing access to educational forums, mentoring programs, networking events, and outreach opportunities. Their inaugural event is scheduled for August 23, 2018 where Dr. Medina-Cetina has been invited as the keynote speaker. The SUT-US will sponsor this event, but the goal for this group is to become self-sustained through the organization of learning programs and networking events.

Student Chapters

SUT-US gave its student chapters their annual sponsorship checks on September 2017 during Rice University’s student chapter inauguration. The annual contribution serves as an affirmation of SUT-US’ support to the university student chapters. The chapters of the University of Houston, Texas A&M at College Station, and Texas A&M at Galveston were awarded a check of $4,000 for the 2017-2018 academic year; and the new Rice University student chapter was awarded a check of $5,000. The SUT-US has officially launched the first Mexico student chapter at Instituto Tecnologico del Petroleo y Energia (SUT-US-ITPE). The inaugural event took place on May 18 2018 where three of the SUT-US Branch volunteers including Jan van Smirren, Dr. Zenon Medina-Cetina & Steven Johnson, traveled to Yucatan located in the Southeast of Mexico, in representation of the Branch and presented lectures on Environmental Forces, Site Characterization and Subsea Engineering and Operations respectively. The SUT-US ITPE was awarded a $1,000 check to support their 2018/2019 activities. The funds go towards chapter student activities such as professional seminars, one-day workshops, industry visits, poster competitions, and most recently ROV competitions.

The SUT-TAMUG is currently on transition of a new leadership as Marissa Malinoski has graduated and stepped down as Chair.

SUT-TAMUG Spring Events for 2018 included:

18 – Organizations Night
24 – General Meeting

6-8 – Topsides Platforms and Hulls Conference (Galveston, TX)
7 – General Meeting
28 – ARTCO Presentation

13-15 – Subsea Tieback Forum & Exhibition (Galveston, TX)
18 – Cardboard Boat Race
30 – May 3 – Offshore Technology Conference (Houston, TX)

Similarly to Galveston, the SUT-TAMU student chapter organized a series of activities and events including an ROV competition on March sponsored by the Subsea Tieback Foundation, and a tailgate event where students had the opportunity to spend time with current members and learn more about the Texas A&M SUT chapter.

SUT-TAMU Activities & Seminars

  • June 19 2017 – SUT-TAMU Student Board Meeting
  • September 3 2017 – MSC Open House: Recruiting new SUT-TAMU student members
  • September 4 2017 – Informational Social
  • September 5 2017 – SUT-TAMU Student Board Meeting
  • September 12 2017 – SUT-TAMU Student Board Meeting
  • October 11 2017 – “Innovation during the Oil Downturn” by Eric Sears, TAMU Ocean Engineering Alum and Manager at TechnipFMC
  • November 9 2017 – SUT-TAMU board members visit Stress Engineering Services facilities
  • November 16 2017 – “Marine Archaeology” by Kimberly Faulk, Senior Marine Archaeologist for Geoscience Earth and Marine Services and Member of the SUT-US Board
  • January 21 2017 – MSC Open House: Recruited approximately 60 new members
  • March 24 2018 – ROV Competition

Program of activities 2018/2019

  • September 2 2018 – MSC Open House
  • September 4 2018 – “An Introduction to Subsea Systems” by Steve Johnson, Chevron
  • September 27 2018 – Young Professionals Panel
  • October 25 2018 – Presentation by Geeta Thakorlal, President of INTECSEA
  • October 26 2018 – Networking Breakfast
  • November 15 2018 – Presentation by Jan Van Smirren, SUT-US Group on Environmental Forces
  • November 29 2018 –Joint meeting with ocean engineering professional society MTS-SNAME

For more information about SUT-TAMU student chapter visit:
SUT-SES-UH student chapter also had an active year. They sponsored two students to attend the Deepwater Intervention Forum (DIF) on August 2017 and held a SUT-SES Technical Paper Contest. The topics for the Technical

Paper Contest included:

  • Novel subsea technologies for oil and gas
  • Numerical modeling in the subsea engineering field
  • Experimental testing of subsea oil and gas environment
  • Renewable energy in the subsea industry

SUT-SES Activities & Seminars

  • September 25 2017 – “Intervention and Completion Operations through a Horizontal Production Tree Using Subsea Test Trees (SSTT’s), Intervention and Work Over Control Systems (IWOCS), and Remote Operated Vehicles (ROV’s)” –
    Speaker: Mauricio Baez, Global Senior Subsea Well Intervention Engineer, Chevron
  • October 6 2017 – Pipeline Coating Plant Tour to SHAWCOR in Channelview
  • October 13 2017 – “Subsea Survey, Testing & Design” by Alan Johnson, Formerly Principal, TechnipFMC
  • October 19 2017 – Soils Testing Lab Tour at Fugro by Kerry Campbell, Principal Geoscientist
  • November 17 2017 – “Future of the Subsea Industry (SUT-SES & Leviticus)”
    – Matt Kirk, VP Subsea & Export Systems, Americas at Wood
    – Carlos Moreira, VP of Projects at Genesis Oil & Gas
    – Brian McShane, Executive Vice President at Intecsea
  • March 2 2018 – “Electrical Power for Subsea Systems” by SIEMENS Corporation

For more information about SUT-SES-UH student chapter visit:

The SUT-RICE is in the process of recruiting new student members and forming their executive board as most of the past members of the student branch graduated last May. SUT-RICE held a student poster session on

March 29 2018 during the inauguration of the SUT-US Robotics and Automation Committee. Their plans for the fall include recruiting events, seminars by industry professionals about automatizing the inspection of oil storage and transport structures using underwater robots, and conducting a workshop about the ROV/AUV and related technologies such as inspection devices.

The SUT-ITPE conducted their board elections on June 10 2018 where the following students were elected as board members: Andres Ascencio as President, Juan Garrido as Vicepresident, Mariana Alvarez as Treasurer, Diana Acosta as Secretary, Cindy Moo as Public Relations Officer, Blanca Carrillo as Head of Logistics, and Jose Perera as Webmaster.

Program of activities 2018/2019

  • August 28 2018 – Welcome Presentation
  • September 1 2018 – Beach Clean-Up
  • September 7 2018 – Visit Elementary/Junior High Schools
  • September 27 2018 – Conference
  • October 5 2018 – Visit Elementary/Junior High Schools
  • October 25 2018 – Seminar
  • November 22 2018 – SUT Conference
  • December 14 2018 – Traditional “Posada”