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Ocean Surface Topography from Space
Forecasting Ocean Currents
April 01, 2006

Screen shot from the Ocean Numerics site.
Web-based forecast showing surface current field in Gulf of Mexico.
Ocean Numerics, a private company, uses ocean altimetry data on a commercial basis to support oil and gas operations in the Gulf of Mexico and other global oil provinces with its 'Ocean FOCUS' service. The company combines satellite altimetry data, isopycnal ocean modeling, and data assimilation to provide current ocean forecasting and ocean observation information for offshore operations 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The benefits of such services to marine operators includes advanced warning of hazardous (or improving) ocean current conditions, reduction in capital expenditures, operating costs, downtime and scheduling changes. They also allow for enhanced operational efficiency, safety and planning effectiveness. Currents influence seismic surveys, exploration drilling, installation of production facilities and pipeline activities. In the Gulf of Mexico for example, eddies spun off of the Loop Current can have intense current velocities around their outer edge, creating a serious impact to offshore operations.

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