Deepwater 2018-10-01T15:40:59+00:00



Offshore oil production accounts for ~12-18% of total US oil production and ~5% of total US gas production. As US reserves decline, development of offshore oil may become important for maintaining a resilient and secure energy portfolio and a positive US energy balance. Deepwater offshore projects are challenging because they do not have a universal profile in terms of design, cost, or development processes. Yet uncertainty and risk in successfully finding and producing oil and gas are higher than in most onshore prospects.

What We Do

To improve worker safety and reduce the cost and risk associated with operating in harsh and inaccessible subsurface and subsea environments, Sandia focuses on experimentation, numerical methods development, simulation, materials and sensor testing and development, and robotics. R&D primarily focuses on development and testing of subsurface and subsea communications, ruggedized materials, long-life lubricants, coatings, sensor, technology, autonomous and wearable robotics, autonomous infrastructure monitoring, uncertainty quantification, and subsalt and thin bed reservoir characterization.

If subsurface or subsea environments are not understood, we cannot predict or anticipate the risks of accessing subsurface or subsea resources. By studying subsurface and subsea environments, Sandia is able to provide important information to the US government, stakeholders, and industry about the risks and impacts of energy production.

The high degree of technical complexity and risk and long development cycles further complicate offshore development. The result is that deepwater development can be less responsive to fluctuations in oil prices than onshore development of shale gas and tight oil resources.