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Subsea 7 - News - August 23, 2005

SERPENT forms New Alliance

SERPENT (Scientific and Environmental ROV Partnership using Existing iNdustrial Technology) is a unique collaboration between the oil industry and the world of science. Since inception in 2002 by founding partners National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, Subsea 7, BP, and Transocean the working partnership has grown steadily to include a number of worldwide organisations including a large number of academic institutes. The latest being LSU (Louisiana State University) School of the Coast and Environment.

The LSU project has received funding from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Ocean Exploration: Using Industrial, Deepwater, Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) to Census Planktonic Organisms. The project is a one-year study that will demonstrate the benefits of Industrial-Academic collaboration to explore the ocean. The project Principal Investigator is Dr. Mark Benfield, Associate Professor, LSU Department of Oceanography & Coastal Sciences.

Mark Benfield explained “This partnership with Subsea 7 through SERPENT is an outstanding way to permit scientific exploration of regions of the ocean that are seldom visited by scientific expeditions. The cost of mounting repeated research expeditions equipped with ROVs of this size and sophistication would be prohibitively expensive! Through SERPENT, we can establish an extended presence over the continental slope where we know very little about the planktonic life that lives in those deep waters.”

Dr Ian Hudson, SERPENT Project Leader at NOCS adds “Linking with local expertise is a core goal of the SERPENT Programme, and the group at LSU are world leaders in the field of planktonic dynamics. Working with Subsea 7 and Transocean in the Gulf of Mexico will provide us with a new research focus in the midwater environment, to complement our extensive project portfolio of seafloor research. We look forward to this collaboration with LSU, and hope this is the start of future projects in the GoM area.”

The project involves the use of ROVs during ‘standby time’ on vessels or rigs, typically used for oil exploration or development. Data is then collated and sent to the SERPENT team at NOCS and their worldwide partners for identification, study and archiving. The provision of video footage and digital stills photography has resulted in the discovery of several previously unobserved behaviours and several scientific papers have been published as a result of the findings and new species continue to be described from all over the world.

Ian Edmonstone, General Manager of Subsea 7’s Gulf of Mexico Integrated Remote Technology group commented: “The addition of LSU now provides SERPENT with a wider network of active academic collaborations in the USA, in addition to Texas A & M University and taxonomists at the Smithsonian Institute. By growing and expanding the partnership globally we are opening up the possibility of discovering new species and observing differing behavioural traits that challenge previously held assumptions.”

Ends 23rd August 2005

- more -

Subsea 7 Public Relations:
Ian Edmonstone Tel: + 281 966 7635
Lyndsay Cruickshank Tel: +44 1224 344606

Notes to editors:

Subsea 7
With a workforce in excess of 3000 people worldwide, Subsea 7 is one of the world’s leading subsea engineering contractors. The company’s global offshore operations are supported out of Asia Pacific, Brazil, Gulf of Mexico, Norway, UK and West Africa. Subsea 7 has more than 100 remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), four pipeline construction yards and a fleet of modern, high specification dynamically positioned ships capable of deepwater reeled and flexible pipelay, deepwater subsea construction and saturation diving. Website:

SERPENT is a global collaboration programme between major players in the oil and gas industry and academic science, Hosted by the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton.

Louisiana State University
Since 1860, LSU has served the people of Louisiana, the region, the nation, and the world through extensive, multipurpose programs encompassing instruction, research, and public service.

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
NOAA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of the nation's coastal and marine resources.

National Oceanography Centre, Southampton (NOCS)
The National Oceanography Centre, Southampton is a joint venture between the University of Southampton and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) and is one of a few world-class centres of excellence in ocean sciences, earth sciences and ocean technology.

Transocean Inc. is the world's largest offshore drilling contractor with a fleet of 92 mobile offshore drilling units. The company's mobile offshore drilling fleet, consisting of a large number of high-specification deepwater and harsh environment drilling units, is considered one of the most modern and versatile in the world due to its emphasis on technically demanding segments of the offshore drilling business.

BP’s main activities are the exploration and production of crude oil and natural gas; refining, marketing, supply and transportation; and the manufacture and marketing of petrochemicals. They also have a growing presence in gas and power and in solar power generation.

BP is divided into three main business segments: Exploration and Production; Refining and Marketing; and Gas, Power and Renewables and operate in 100 countries with well-established businesses in Europe, North and South America, Australasia and Africa.


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