A view of Oxford High Street from Quods Resturant in the Old Bank Hotel
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Recent work completed for clients in January 2020

Here are a few examples of some of the business content work Nicholas Newman at www.nicnewmanoxford.com completed for various clients worldwide during January 2020. For further information about my work contact me at info@nicnewmanoxford.com



In the fight against air pollution in the neighbouring Polish port cities of Gdansk and Gdynia, the port authorities have been taking a range of measures. This has included installing an effective air quality monitoring system to help aid policy makers in tackling the problem of air pollution in the area.

In 2017, the Gdansk port participated in the Space3ac (https://www.space3.ac/) acceleration program, with the goal of “Designing and implementing a sensor/ detector system for the measurement of noise dust and odour emissions in critical points of the Port.”

Marine Engineering and Offshore Technology

Maritime drones prospects


Marine drone are unmanned devices that can either fly or swim, that are used for a variety of tasks including gathering data for information purposes, security and surveillance, marine search and rescue, also autonomous delivery. In fact, one estimate by Goldman Sachs estimates the global market for drones should reach $100 billion. [i]

Amongst the customers using drones are offshore energy, naval, coastguard, fishery protection and port authorities. According to Market Watch, some leading companies involved in providing marine drone market products and services include such American companies including Teledyne Marine, Deep Ocean Engineering and EdgeTech. Also, such European companies including Subsea Tech, EvoLogics GmbH, L3 ASV, Kongsberg Maritime, Atlas Elektronik, and BaltRobotics Sp.z.o.o.[ii]

A look at US port activity

Port operations

The past year has been busy for American port operators, on both the East and West coasts. Operators have had to cope with a series of global changes including shifts in sources of trade, the impact of the improvements to the Panama Canal, changes in vessel size and design.

We are seeing increasingly a shift of manufacturing from China to Southeast and southern Asia, in part because of Chinese wage inflation and the ongoing American China trade dispute. As southern and south-east Asia has replaced China as a world centre for manufacturing, it has been much easier for shipping lines to move containers via the Suez Canal to American markets served by east coast ports, then use American West Coast ports to deliver Asian manufacturers. For shipping companies east coast ports are much closer to American population centres than is Los Angeles or Oakland, since over two-thirds of America’s population is resident east of the Mississippi river. So it is not surprising that there has been significant investment in upgrading American Atlantic and Gulf ports and related infrastructure.

Panama Canal Update

Ship canals

The Panama Canal is a ship canal with locks, operated by the Panama Canal Authority (PCA) on behalf of the Republic of Panama. The French designed it and was completed in 1904 by the Americans. They built the canal to shorten the journey for marine vessels travelling between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. It measures in length from the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific, some 50 miles (82 km) long. The Panama Canal is made up of three sections. An artificial reservoir in the middle known as Gatun Lake and linking the lake to the sea at each end, a ship canal with locks to lift or lower ships.

 It enables ships sailing from East Coast United States ports to reach West coast Latin America ports, such as the Guayaquil in Colombia and Valparaiso in Chile without the need to take the long route round the southern tip of South America known as Cape Horn. Ships sailing between Europe and East Asia or Australia can save as much as 2,000 nautical miles (3,700 km) by using the canal.

Ship surveys


Ship inspections and surveys of vessels take place for several reasons, including ensuring that the ship complies with the latest international standards and conventions on safety and seaworthiness in order to work legally and commercially. Such conventions include the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS), International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL), International Convention on Standards of Training (STCW), and the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC).

In order for a vessel to keep its trading fitness, vessel owners use classification societies such as DNV GL, Plimsoll and ClassNK to conduct mandatory surveys of their vessels. Such surveys examine to see if a particular ship meets the latest standards in international regulations. For instance, the class survey will check and access the condition, functioning and operational and maintenance requirements of the vessel being surveyed. Such vessels surveys may include the Safety equipment survey, International oil pollution prevention certificate survey, International air pollution prevention certificate survey, and Safety Radio Survey.

A look at some port related innovations


Here we look at some port related innovations being investigated, developed or adopted by port administrations worldwide. Such innovative technologies include autonomous ship docking, automated vehicles, auto mooring of vessels, new ways to scan and inspect cargoes and even usage of digital twins.

We’ve all heard about cars and lorries that can park themselves, but now the Helsinki-based firm but Wärtsilä has launched the world’s first commercially available Auto docking system for vessels. It’s a subsidiary based in San Diego California Wärtsilä Marine Solutions and its Dynamic Positioning Inc. has been testing a prototype auto-docking system on the Norwegian ro-ro passenger ship Folgefonn, first out in the open water on a simulated dock in January 2018, and then again successfully in the Stord, Norway harbour in April 2018.

Wärtsilä auto docking system enables the ship to be programmed with all variables of its approach to the dockside, including such factors as wind speed, weight, pitch, roll, current, depth et cetera to plot and steer a vessel to a dockside in the most fuel efficient and safe manner. Thomas Pedersen, Managing Director of  Wärtsilä DP says, “Auto-docking is just a new application built on the dynamic positioning capabilities we have had over many years. It is one of the first steps in fully autonomous shipping.”[i]


La Boheme at the New Theatre Oxford

A review by Nicholas Newman

La Boheme is one of Puccini’s best operas, which is worth seeing again and again. It is brilliantly written and narrated and constructed in both its story and music.

This is a tale of love and loss, set in Paris of the 1830s, before the Eiffel Tower was built. It is packed with many popular songs that have been used in both films and advertising including Che gelida manina (Your Tiny Hand is Frozen), Sì, mi chiamano Mimì (They Call Me Mimi) and Quando me’n vo (Musetta’s Waltz).

Pipeline and Gas Journal

Smart pipelines

In much of the North America and Europe, oil and gas pipelines were built before 1970. In fact in major cities, such as London and New York, parts of the pipeline network, maybe over a century old. This often aging pipeline network poses problems for pipeline operators, especially when try to determine maintenance problems, such as the damage that corrosion, plus wear and tear can have pipelines and associated equipment.

Despite pipelines being the most cost effective and safe method of moving large quantities of liquids and gas, it is vital for operators that they maintain a high level of safety and system integrity. One thing is clear the application of innovative technologies, such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing and automation can bring many benefits in the operation, management and maintenance of pipeline systems, for example in discovering leaks, corrosion, failing equipment and other problems early enough to prevent serious damage to humans and the environment.


Offshore contractors face a boom year in 2020

2020 should prove a busy year for marine contractors involved in offshore energy projects, suggests Rystad Energy forecast. This is due to growth in numbers of deep-water gas and LNG projects and similar growth in development of offshore wind projects. As a result, there are expected to be capacity restraints facing marine energy projects developments in 2020, resulting in higher costs and likely delays in completion.

This feature looks at the offshore energy project market in 2020 for marine contractors involved in development, examines some of the projects involved , driver, challenges and opportunities that will be faced.

West Africa – a land of new discoveries

In the past year a whole series of new finds are turning this part of Africa into a new land of opportunity for exploration companies both international and domestic, such as BP, Kosmos Energy and Springfield have found new gas finds. For the countries in this region, such discoveries aid them in economic development and solving their power supply problems, at the same time providing a new source of supply for European LNG customer.

This feature looks at new opportunities that the latest discoveries bring for operators and the region, the challenges and obstacles they face and some of the projects.

Wanted: Oil Workers with More Tech, Less ‘Roughneck’

Oil and gas’s love affair with digital technology is about to get serious. With digital tech’s proven capacity to contribute to the industry’s number-one priority in the post-2014 era—cost control—it’s no wonder that oil and gas companies are fast becoming the biggest fans of all things digital. The change is already showing in job patterns and it could help oil and gas solve their talent shortage problem. The problem is critical for the industry; in January this year, a survey from a recruitment firm in the UK found that many in the industry were concerned there wouldn’t be enough new oil and gas professionals to replace those that were retiring. A few months later, EY also reported the results of a survey that suggested the crisis is imminent. The study cited figures from the Society of Petroleum Engineers, which showed that over half of its members were over 55 years old. Once they retire, there are few younger engineers to fill the gap.

This feature looks at how the oil industry job market is evolving, the challenges the industry faces in recruitment, how the industry is tackling this problem including outsourcing work to specialist start-ups.

Global oil & gas discoveries reach four-year high in 2019

The world’s oil and gas explorers powered ahead and discovered 12.2 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) in 2019, the highest volume since 2015, according to estimates from Rystad Energy. Last year recorded 26 discoveries of more than 100 million boe, with offshore regions dominating the list of new oil and gas deposits.

Important new oil and gas discoveries have been made in Guyana, Mauritania, Norway, Russia and South Africa. This feature will look at:

·         Some of the new discoveries

·         Who is making them?

·         What this means for the market

Operational production costs have fallen globally, led by the UK

Operational production costs in the oil and gas industry have fallen across the globe, with the United Kingdom emerging as a cost-cutting powerhouse among global offshore regions. A Rystad Energy analysis aimed at mitigating currency effects confirms this trend, after examining regional opex reduction per barrel, measured in local currency. The results are clear – from 2014 to 2018 the UK reduced operational production costs by 31%, followed by Norway and the United States with opex reductions of 19% and 15%, respectively.

The feature will look at why costs have fallen, these include:

·         Improvements in reducing operational costs

·         Improved strategic planning, maintenance practices and investment in new technology

·         Also the drivers behind cost reductions

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