Engineering Oil Fields

If you’ve ever driven the coastal highways in Long Beach, CA, you will see a set of islands that look like resorts. They are man-made wonders, in fact. These are the THUMS islands, also known as the Astronaut Islands.

These islands were built by a consortium of oil companies for the purpose of mining for oil. They have been operating for over 50 years extracting oil from the Wilmington Oil Fields. There is a lot of upkeep and engineering work to keep these unnatural wonders working full time.

While tourists visit and are in awe of the spectacle, design and layout, these oil production islands are producing millions of barrels. Over time, the production has tapered, as would be expected.

The engineering challenge is to design and implement new technologies with well heads to get more out of a mature field.

Right in West Texas, such projects are commonplace. The old wells were typically drilled vertically with some drift accomplished with the technology of the time. Now the horizontal drilling technology of today allows a much denser coverage of the area.

Meadows Analysis helps with oil field projects in a variety of ways. Analyzing loads and movement of materials to support production is critical for safety and feasibility. There are so many scenarios to model, design and analyze that are highly nuanced.

In addition, the negotiations with the public for aesthetics and environmental controls are part of the business dealings to navigate, as with the THUMS Island project. They had to hire an amusement part architect to help with requirements as such.

Whatever the issues may be, a creative and experienced design approach comes into play. That’s where we enjoy the opportunities to partner and be a powerful resource to our oil field clients to add creativity and breadth to their problem solving.

What kind of creative constraints are required in some of your projects today?

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