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Editorial comment

Last weekend I watched the NFL Super Bowl XLVIII (a late night for us here in the UK) where the Seattle Seahawks recorded a decisive victory (43-8) over the Denver Broncos at the MetLife Stadium, New Jersey. The first ever Super Bowl to be played in an open-air arena in a cold weather region, critics had speculated that possible bad weather, especially given the ‘Arctic Chill’ experienced across much of the United States in January, would disrupt the game. In reality the weather was relatively mild, and the unpredictability of this particular match came from the players themselves.

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From one outdoor venue to the next, this February the world’s attention will be turning to Sochi, Russia, where the Winter Olympics will be held for the first time in a subtropical climate. By the time you are reading this, the skis, skates and bobsleighs will have set off, and at the time of press, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s confident promise of real snow in the mountains of the Black Sea coastal town, seems to have come true. Just in case it doesn’t last, the Russians have been stockpiling snow under insulated covers to ensure the world’s most expensive Winter Games, with a reported US$ 50 billion price tag, are an astounding success.

The oil and gas industry knows full well the implications and affects adverse weather can have on critical operations, be it stadiums full of spectators or remote platforms, FPSOs and rigs in tornado-prone territories. As an inventive industry, with billions invested in R&D across all sectors, it is no wonder that technological aids to the larger problem of man vs. nature have been developed. Advanced weather forecasting can help safeguard weather sensitive operations with tailored software and decision support systems for a demanding offshore industry. An example of the maturation of this growing ancillary service can be found in DNV GL-supported StormGeo, which recently acquired all outstanding shares in Applied Weather Technology (AWT), expanding its offerings for the offshore and maritime industries.

According to AWT CEO Haydn Jones, “The two companies have complementary strengths: StormGeo is very strong in the offshore oil and gas sector, AWT is a brand leader in routing and weather-based decision support services for commercial shipping.” Through the continued cross-pollination of experience in industry sectors, and the evolution of oilfield communications, I expect it won’t be long until every oil worker can receive news of changing meteorological conditions via an app on their smartphone (or through built-in Google Glass in their hard hats?).

Of course, as far as predictive props can take us, sometimes intensive planning and investment are the best course of action, such as constructing better-insulated winterised rigs for the Arctic and recognising the physical limitations of an athlete’s body in a desert climate.

Fifa has announced that an ongoing consultation is being carried out with regards to the 2022 World Cup to be held in Qatar. Traditionally held every four years in June-July, football’s governing body is assessing whether these dates are practical, given that in Qatar during the summer the daytime temperature can exceed 50°C (120°F). Fifa’s General Secretary Jerome Valcke told media that he expects the matches will be played in the winter instead, but a final decision is expected after the 2014 World Cup held in Brazil. An excited Qatar 2022 Supreme committee has said they “will be ready to host the World Cup regardless of the outcome of the consultation.” Just to note, the average temperatures for the winter months in the Gulf emirate are equivalent to a warm spring season in Europe. Perhaps a more ideal condition for optimum performance?

For more insight into how technology (i.e., PDC cutter technology, fracturing gases and coiled tubing) is booming in the oil and gas industry, read on; and for daily updates don’t forget to bookmark