Annual Report 2018-2019

Chair: Prof Zenon Medina Cetina

SUT-US is comprised by an Executive Committee and six technical committees; Offshore Site Investigation and Geotechnics (OSIG), Subsea Engineering and Operations (SEO), Group on Environmental Forces (GEFUS), and Robotics & Automation (R&A), and the newly established Offshore Renewables (OR); 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

Zenon Medina-Cetina and Steve Hall with previous
SUT Oceanography prize winner Prof Scott Glenn

■ SUT-US supported the organization of the technical program for Oceanology International Americas 2019 (OiAmericas 2019) in San Diego, California. Two members from the SUT-US Young Professionals Group (YP) were sponsored to represent the SUT-US at the booth and at the Career Day panel.

■ SUT-US was the invited professional organization for the 2019 Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) in Houston, and led a technical session.
Dr. Zenon Medina-Cetina, President and Chair of SUT-US and Associate Professor and holder of the Zachry Career Development Professorship II at Texas A&M University; and Kim Faulk, Chair of the SUT-US OSIG Committee, and Chief Operating Officer at The PAST Foundation chaired the technical session. six papers were presented by SUT-US members:

  • Bayesian Stratigraphy Integration of Geophysical, Geological, and Geotechnical Surveys Data – Z. Medina-Cetina, J. Son, M. Moradi, Texas A&M University
  • An Ideation and Roadmapping Workshop on the Development of AUVs for Oil & Gas Subsea Applications – F.H. Gorbhel, S. Kapusta, Rice University; J. Allen, Society for Underwater Technology
  • Assessing the Pile Driving Risk due to the Presence of Boulders – R. Stevens, Z. Westgate, Fugro USA Marine, Inc.; J. Kocijan, Fugro USA Land, Inc.
  • Behavior of Laterally Loaded Offshore Wind Monopiles in Sands – R.B. Gilbert, Y. Huang, K.H. Stokoe, The University of Texas at Austin; S. Wang, Ensoft; J. Munson, J. Bauer, R. Hosseini, A. Hussien, The University of Texas at Austin; H. Fadaifard, Ensoft; D. O’Connel, BOEM
  • The Effect of Bayesian Updating in the Hazard Assessment of Submarine Landslides – R. Das, P.Y. Varela, Geosyntec Consultants, Inc.; Z. Medina-Cetina, Texas A&M University
  • An Overview and Awareness Briefing for Offshore Renewable Energy, Wind, Wave, Flow, Hydrokinetic and Thermal Convertor – R.S. Osborne, Ocean Flow Intl
  • Design of a Floating Multi-Source Offshore Renewable Energy Platform – R. Robinson, G. Engelmann, Excipio Energy

■ Reed Exhibitions and SUT-US leadership meet at OTC 2019 to engage in the organization and coordination of Oceanology International San Diego 2021.

■ SUT-US joined a proposal with the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) Professional and Technical (ProTech) Services Program, as a member of a consortium led by the BMT Group., which grants SUT-US the opportunity to contract ProTech projects within its Oceans Domain Program.

■ SUT-US joins as a supporting organization of the Project Optimization Rural Coastal High Needs Middle School Students Achievement Via Marine Robotics Competitions (Project ORCA), committing to 50% matching funds if Project ORCA sets funds to support scholarships in underwater technology up to $18,000 USD annually over the next five years.

■ SUT-US submitted a proposal with Pacific Ocean Energy Trust – an Oregon 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation to DOE Exchange for the “Testing Expertise and Access for Marine Energy Research (TEAMER) Program”. This was approved on 18 September 2019.

■ An Intellectual Property Agreement has been on the works with a Texas Attorney to protect the SUT-US and its presenters from any IP related issues. This agreement should enable the SUT-US to distribute recorded presentation material upon presenters/companies consent.

■ Efforts in the organization of the Marine Autonomous Systems Conference led by Christopher Curran, Justin Manley, Fathi Ghorbel, Zenon Medina-Cetina and Jan Van Smirren.

■ SUT-US has been invited to collaborate as supporting organization with the International Society of Automation in Process Industry Event.

■ SUT-US a supporting and sponsoring organization for the International Symposium on Frontiers in Offshore Geotechnics 2020 (ISFOG) to take place on August 16-19 2020 in Austin, Texas.

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. Monica Lopez-Aguilera joined the SUT-US on September 2018 as Editor, and Ms. Audrey Guzman as an accounting assistant. Both are working as independent contractors.

Below is a summary of the key activities held at the SUT-US branch for the period of 1 July 2018 – 30 June 2019.

Networking Meetings and Attendance Figures

  • 5 July 2018 – 8
  • YP Inaugural Event 23 August 2018 – 25
  • 13 September 2018 – 16
  • 4 October 2018 – 5
  • Scholarship Awards Ceremony 1 November 2018 – 20
  • Champagne & Conversation Series 11 January 2019 – 32
  • 7 February 2019 – 15
  • 7 March 2019 – 9
  • 4 April 2019 – 18
  • Pre-OTC 2 May 2019 – 34
  • Champagne & Conversation Series 27 June 2019 – 36

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 5-7, 2019. This year the SUT-US received a complimentary booth space for marketing support of the workshop. Presenters included: Christopher Curran, Senior Consultant, CJC Enterprises, LLC,
William Taggart, Senior Engineering Advisor, Murphy Exploration & Production, Charles Horn, Senior Advisor, NanoRidge Materials, Inc, and Karl Schnakenburg, Global Engineering Advisor, BHP.

Scholarship fundraisers

SUT US’ organized a clay shoot competition in collaboration with the Be an Angel Fund on 31 August 2018. 50% of the event’s proceeds were transferred to help special needs children from the Be An Angel Fund. 10 teams participated and IntecSea, Proserv and JDR Cables sponsored the event.


SUT US’ Annual General Meeting was held on December 6th, 2018. During this meeting, the executive committee introduced the new elected board members:

– Zenon Medina-Cetina (Re-elected)
– Christopher Curran (Re-elected)
– Colin Johnston (Re-elected)
– Maria Ancheril (Re-elected)
– Matt Kirk (Re-elected)
– John Allen (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 2018/2019-year have included learning luncheons, courses, and school touring programs.

Learning Luncheons & Webinars

  • 30 August 2019 – Offshore Renewable Energy, William Stewart, BS, MS, C.Eng, D.OE
    Seminar attendees: 24 Webinar attendees: 7
  • 7 September 2018 – The Impact of Soil Damping on Pipeline Fatigue and Spanning,
    Dr. Ed Clukey, The Jukes Group
    Webinar attendees: 12
  • 4 October 2018 – Geomechanics of Marine Anchors, Dr. Charles Aubeny, Texas A&M University, Author of Geomechanics of Marine Anchors
    Seminar attendees: 12 Webinar attendees: 13
  • 5 April 2018 – The Fourth McClelland Lecture, Dr. Alan Young, The Fourth ISSMGE McClelland Lecturer
    Seminar attendees: 32 Webinar attendees: 6

Workshops & Courses

  • September 28 2018 – Integrity and Risk Assessment of Pipelines and SCRs – Attendees: 17 Webinar: 5
  • November 7-8 2018 – Marine Archaeology Course – Seminar attendees: 6 Webinar attendees: 2
  • April 16-18 2018 – Introduction to Integrated Marine Site Characterization – Seminar attendees: 22
    Webinar attendees: 5

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 1,567 students from K-12th in the 2018/2019 year.

  • January 11 2019 – Judging and talking to students about Ocean Science
    St Jerome Science Fair, Students reached: 100
  • January 18 2019 – 5th Grade Geology Rocks
    CFISD More Elementary School, Students reached: 300
    April 23 2019 – 12th Grade Exploring Oceans & Seas
    CFISD Cy-Creek High School, Students reached: 120
  • May 20 2019 – 7th Grade Are We There Yet
    CFISD Opal Hamilton Middle School, Students reached: 480
    May 24 2019 – 8th Grade Exploring Oceans and Seas
    CFISD Opal Hamilton Middle School, Students reached: 490
  • June 5 2019 – Summer Camp – Extreme Machines
    Houston Museum of Natural Science
    Presented by Tricia Hill, Chair of SUT-US Subsea Engineering and Operations Committee
    Students reached: 25
  • June 12 2019 – Summer Camp – Extreme Machines
    Houston Museum of Natural Science
    Presented by Dan Spikula, Member of SUT-US Offshore Site Investigation and Geotechnics Committee
    Students reached: 22
  • June 12 2019 – Summer Camp – Roving Robots
    Houston Museum of Natural Science
    Presented by Andy Hill, Chair Elect of SUT-US Offshore Site Investigation and Geotechnics Committee
    Students reached: 30

The primary goal for the next 12 months is to improve the volunteer pool and continue to rebuild the program near where it was in July 2017. Continue to develop links with other groups to move the program out of the Houston area, and support collaboration with other groups of SUT-US. There is a proposal to engage with a local teacher symposium in 24-26 March 2019.

Upcoming events for OSIG 2019:

  • 10 October 2019 – Case Study: Cost Savings via Advanced Geotechnical Design, Seastar Offshore Wind Farm, Belgium
  • 9-11 December 2019 – Introduction to Integrated Marine Site Characterization

SEO Committee

SEO is comprised of 10 members. SEO’s activities for the 2018/ 2019 year have included learning luncheons, webinars and its flagship subsea course:

Learning Luncheons, Webinars & Courses

  • 10-13 September 2018 – Subsea Awareness Course – 4 Learners
  • 11 October 2018 – Overview of Vortex-Induced Vibrations and Its Suppression Devices
    Don Allen, VIV Solutions – Seminar attendees: 14 Webinar attendees: 9
  • 15 November 2018 – Repeatability of Optical Measurements in the Subsea Environment and the Importance of Index Refraction Correction – Derek Pierce, LiDAR Technologies – Seminar attendees: 6 Webinar attendees: 2
  • 3-6 December 2018 – Subsea Awareness Course – 11 Learners
  • 13 December 2018 – Subsea Automatic Pig Launcher Benefits, Development and Qualification
    Kristian Mikalsen, National Oilwell Varco (NOV) – Seminar attendees: 6 Webinar attendees: 11
  • 1-4 April 2019 – Subsea Awareness Course – 6 Learners
  • 18 April 2019 – Deepwater Risers, Flowlines, and Jumpers from Airborne Oil and Gas
    Caroline Justet, Airborne Oil & Gas – Seminar attendees: 12 Webinar attendees: 10

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, and Oceaneering.

This year, the SEO has partnered with the Offshore Well Intervention Conference Gulf of Mexico, to deliver a one-day Subsea Awareness Course on November 19, 2019 in Houston. A media agreement has been established, and the proceeds will be split 50-50.

Upcoming events for SEO 2019:

  • 27 August 2019 – Drilling 101 Course
  • 9-12 September 2019 – Subsea Awareness Course
  • 17 October 2019 – SimSolid: A Structural simulation tool for rapid design iterations
  • 24 October 2019 – Champagne & Conversation Series Edition 4
  • 20-21 November 2019 – 6th Offshore Well Intervention Conference
  • 9-11 December 2019 – Subsea Awareness Course

Group on Environmental Forces (GEFUS)

19 volunteers form part of the Group on Environmental Forces (GEFUS). During the past year, GEFUS in collaboration with the Loop Current & Eddies Alliance and the National Academy of Sciences organized a one-day workshop “The NAS – UGOS Initiative Workshop.” The Workshop took place on 17 June 2019 and counted with 25 participants.

Another important activity for GEFUS, was the 1000-Year Scholarship program organized jointly with Loop Current & Eddies Alliance. The 1000-Year Scholarship rewards outstanding students studying curricula and performing research in the fields of meteorology or physical oceanography and who are pursuing a career in Metocean. The funds are obtained by donations from the metocean community and marine technology industry. In 2018, three scholarships worth $1,500 were awarded. The call for application is open for the 2019 1000-Year Scholarship Program.

Upcoming events GEFUS 2019:
Metocean Awareness Course

Robotics and Automation Committee

The Robotics and Automation Committee (R&A) is chaired by Dr. Fathi Ghorbel, Professor at Rice University, and Director of the Robotics & Intelligent Systems Lab. Individuals from the following organizations committed membership: Schlumberberger, SAAB, inRobotics, Kongsberg, Chevron, CANRIG, RBR Group, TAMU, UH CL, and Rice University.

The committee is working on finalizing its constitutions and fill the position of Chair Elect. Upcoming learning programs will focus on panel discussions on policy issues, standards, or key challenges in robotics and automation and strategies to address them.

Offshore Renewables Committee

Roger Osborne from Offshore Energy Advisors, Chairs the Offshore Renewables Committee (OR). Current efforts are focused on defining membership.

Upcoming events OR 2019:

  • 5 September 2019 – A Review on Offshore Renewable Development

Education Committee

Four members comprise the Education Committee, chaired by John Allen. This committee is responsible for reviewing SUT US’ annual scholarship applications.

The 2018 scholarship recipients where recognized during the Scholarship Awards Ceremony on 1 November 2018. The selected students by the Scholarships Subcommittee were:

  • Rachel Holzhauser, Industrial Distribution, Texas A&M University
  • Neethi Anand, Mechanical Engineering, University of Houston
  • Guillermo Duran, Geotechnical Engineering, Texas A&M University
  • Malik Kashan, Geotechnical Engineering, Texas A&M University
  • Victoria Barlett, Marine Resource Management, Texas A&M University at Galveston
  • Yasmin Layeeq, Marine Biology, Texas A&M University at Galveston

This year’s scholarship recipients will be awarded during the Scholarship Awards Ceremony on 15 November 2019 at Rice University.

The Education committee is looking to settle student chapters in the University of Texas at Austin and Prairie View A&M University.

Looking to establish clear membership guidelines, the education committee was previously broken down into separate entities, due to size. The board position of Chair for K-12 outreach was created, separating out the University student branch committee as a separate chair. John Allen is requested to assist create university student branches globally, and discussion has started on how to expand university student branches in the U.S. beyond the reach of the Houston centric executive.

Young Professionals Committee (SUT-YP)

Learning Luncheons & Webinars

  • 11 April 2019 – Subsea Site Investigation with a Portable Remotely Operated Drill
    Mark Simkin, Benthic USA LLC – Seminar attendees: 27 Webinar attendees: 1

The Young Professionals Committee of SUT-US (SUT-YP inaugural event took place on 23 August 2018 where Dr. Zenon Medina-Cetina, Chair & President of SUT-US, participated as the keynote speaker. Furthermore, the YP have remained active throughout the past year supporting SUT-US sponsored events such as Oceanology International Americas, Offshore Technology Conference, networking events, and the School Touring program. In addition to organizing their own fundraising activities such as a Barbeque Scholarship Fundraiser scheduled for 19 July 2019 sponsored by Benthic, Geosyntec, and TechnipFMC.

Student Chapters

SUT-US gave its student chapters their annual sponsorship checks during the Annual Scholarship Awards Ceremony on 1 November 2018. The annual contribution serves as an affirmation of SUT-US’ support to the university student chapters. With student chapters in the Texas and in Yucatan, Mexico the SUT-US is investing efforts to expand to other universities within the U.S. and globally.

The student chapters’ sponsorships help the student communities organize seminars, workshops, meetings, community service activities and competitions throughout the academic year. Some of the activities organized by the different student chapters are listed below:

Texas A&M University Student Chapter (SUT-TAMU) is currently in election process of the new board. Their program of activities for the 2018/2019 included:

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

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.

ITPE student chapter program of activities 2018/2019:

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