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Title: SUPPORT OF GULF OF MEXICO HYDRATE RESEARCH CONSORTIUM: ACTIVITIES TO SUPPORT ESTABLISHMENT OF A SEA FLOOR MONITORING STATION PROJECT

Abstract

A Consortium, designed to assemble leaders in gas hydrates research, has been established at the University of Mississippi's Center for Marine Resources and Environmental Technology, CMRET. The primary objective of the group is to design and emplace a remote monitoring station on the sea floor in the northern Gulf of Mexico by the year 2005, in an area where gas hydrates are known to be present at, or just below, the sea floor. This mission necessitates assembling a station that will monitor physical and chemical parameters of the sea water and sea floor sediments on a more-or-less continuous basis over an extended period of time. Development of the station allows for the possibility of expanding its capabilities to include biological monitoring, as a means of assessing environmental health. Establishment of the Consortium has succeeded in fulfilling the critical need to coordinate activities, avoid redundancies and communicate effectively among researchers in this relatively new research arena. Complementary expertise, both scientific and technical, has been assembled to promote innovative research methods and construct necessary instrumentation. Noteworthy achievements one year into the extended life of this cooperative agreement include: (1) Progress on the vertical line array (VLA) of sensors: (1a) Repair attempts ofmore » the VLA cable damaged in the October >1000m water depth deployment failed; a new design has been tested successfully. (1b) The acoustic modem damaged in the October deployment was repaired successfully. (1c) Additional acoustic modems with greater depth rating and the appropriate surface communications units have been purchased. (1d) The VLA computer system is being modified for real time communications to the surface vessel using radio telemetry and fiber optic cable. (1e) Positioning sensors--including compass and tilt sensors--were completed and tested. (1f) One of the VLAs has been redesigned to collect near sea floor geochemical data. (2) Progress on the Sea Floor Probe: (2a) With the Consortium's decision to divorce its activities from those of the Joint Industries Program (JIP), due to the JIP's selection of a site in 1300m of water, the Sea Floor Probe (SFP) system was revived as a means to emplace arrays in the shallow subsurface until arrangements can be made for boreholes at >1000m water depth. (2b) The SFP penetrometer has been designed and construction begun. (2c) The SFP geophysical and pore-fluid probes have been designed. (3) Progress on the Acoustic Systems for Monitoring Gas Hydrates: (3a) Video recordings of bubbles emitted from a seep in Mississippi Canyon have been analyzed for effects of currents and temperature changes. (3b) Several acoustic monitoring system concepts have been evaluated for their appropriateness to MC118, i.e., on the deep sea floor. (3c) A mock-up system was built but was rejected as too impractical for deployment on the sea floor. (4) Progress on the Electromagnetic Bubble Detector and Counter: (4a) Laboratory tests were performed using bubbles of different sizes in waters of different salinities to test the sensitivity of the. Differences were detected satisfactorily. (4b) The system was field tested, first at the dock and then at the shallow water test site at Cape Lookout Bight where methane bubbles from the sea floor, naturally, in 10m water depth. The system successfully detected peaks in bubbling as spike decreases in conductivity. (5) Progress on the Mid-Infrared Sensor for Continuous Methane Monitoring: (5a) Modeling and design of an optics platform complementary to the constructed electronics platform for successful incorporation into ''sphereIR'' continues. AutoCAD design and manual construction of mounting pieces for major optical components have been completed. (5b) Initial design concepts for IR-ATR sensor probe geometries have been established and evaluated. Initial evaluations of a horizontal ATR (HATR) sensing probe with fiber optic guiding light have been performed and validate the design concept as a potentially viable deep sea sensing probe. (5c) Ray tracing simulations have been performed to evaluate light propagation through HATR elements to facilitate the optimal design of both the sensing probe and optical configuration of ''sphereIR''. (5d) The highly permeable polymer, polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), was investigated as a potential methane enrichment membrane for IR-ATR sensors. (6) Progress on the Seismo-acoustic Characterization of Sea Floor Properties and Processes at the Hydrate Monitoring Station: (6a) All system components underwent extensive testing in preparation for determining sea floor acoustic reflection responses at the Gas Hydrate Monitoring Station. (6b) Final testing and commissioning have been completed.« less

Authors:
; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
The University of Mississippi
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
860514
DOE Contract Number:
FC26-02NT41628
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
03 NATURAL GAS; ACOUSTIC MONITORING; ACOUSTICS; BOREHOLES; FIBER OPTICS; FLOORS; GAS HYDRATES; GULF OF MEXICO; HYDRATES; MEMBRANES; METHANE; MONITORING; PENETROMETERS; TELEMETRY

Citation Formats

Paul Higley, J. Robert Woolsey, Ralph Goodman, Vernon Asper, Boris Mizaikoff, and Angela Davis. SUPPORT OF GULF OF MEXICO HYDRATE RESEARCH CONSORTIUM: ACTIVITIES TO SUPPORT ESTABLISHMENT OF A SEA FLOOR MONITORING STATION PROJECT. United States: N. p., 2005. Web. doi:10.2172/860514.
Paul Higley, J. Robert Woolsey, Ralph Goodman, Vernon Asper, Boris Mizaikoff, & Angela Davis. SUPPORT OF GULF OF MEXICO HYDRATE RESEARCH CONSORTIUM: ACTIVITIES TO SUPPORT ESTABLISHMENT OF A SEA FLOOR MONITORING STATION PROJECT. United States. doi:10.2172/860514.
Paul Higley, J. Robert Woolsey, Ralph Goodman, Vernon Asper, Boris Mizaikoff, and Angela Davis. Tue . "SUPPORT OF GULF OF MEXICO HYDRATE RESEARCH CONSORTIUM: ACTIVITIES TO SUPPORT ESTABLISHMENT OF A SEA FLOOR MONITORING STATION PROJECT". United States. doi:10.2172/860514. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/860514.
@article{osti_860514,
title = {SUPPORT OF GULF OF MEXICO HYDRATE RESEARCH CONSORTIUM: ACTIVITIES TO SUPPORT ESTABLISHMENT OF A SEA FLOOR MONITORING STATION PROJECT},
author = {Paul Higley and J. Robert Woolsey and Ralph Goodman and Vernon Asper and Boris Mizaikoff and Angela Davis},
abstractNote = {A Consortium, designed to assemble leaders in gas hydrates research, has been established at the University of Mississippi's Center for Marine Resources and Environmental Technology, CMRET. The primary objective of the group is to design and emplace a remote monitoring station on the sea floor in the northern Gulf of Mexico by the year 2005, in an area where gas hydrates are known to be present at, or just below, the sea floor. This mission necessitates assembling a station that will monitor physical and chemical parameters of the sea water and sea floor sediments on a more-or-less continuous basis over an extended period of time. Development of the station allows for the possibility of expanding its capabilities to include biological monitoring, as a means of assessing environmental health. Establishment of the Consortium has succeeded in fulfilling the critical need to coordinate activities, avoid redundancies and communicate effectively among researchers in this relatively new research arena. Complementary expertise, both scientific and technical, has been assembled to promote innovative research methods and construct necessary instrumentation. Noteworthy achievements one year into the extended life of this cooperative agreement include: (1) Progress on the vertical line array (VLA) of sensors: (1a) Repair attempts of the VLA cable damaged in the October >1000m water depth deployment failed; a new design has been tested successfully. (1b) The acoustic modem damaged in the October deployment was repaired successfully. (1c) Additional acoustic modems with greater depth rating and the appropriate surface communications units have been purchased. (1d) The VLA computer system is being modified for real time communications to the surface vessel using radio telemetry and fiber optic cable. (1e) Positioning sensors--including compass and tilt sensors--were completed and tested. (1f) One of the VLAs has been redesigned to collect near sea floor geochemical data. (2) Progress on the Sea Floor Probe: (2a) With the Consortium's decision to divorce its activities from those of the Joint Industries Program (JIP), due to the JIP's selection of a site in 1300m of water, the Sea Floor Probe (SFP) system was revived as a means to emplace arrays in the shallow subsurface until arrangements can be made for boreholes at >1000m water depth. (2b) The SFP penetrometer has been designed and construction begun. (2c) The SFP geophysical and pore-fluid probes have been designed. (3) Progress on the Acoustic Systems for Monitoring Gas Hydrates: (3a) Video recordings of bubbles emitted from a seep in Mississippi Canyon have been analyzed for effects of currents and temperature changes. (3b) Several acoustic monitoring system concepts have been evaluated for their appropriateness to MC118, i.e., on the deep sea floor. (3c) A mock-up system was built but was rejected as too impractical for deployment on the sea floor. (4) Progress on the Electromagnetic Bubble Detector and Counter: (4a) Laboratory tests were performed using bubbles of different sizes in waters of different salinities to test the sensitivity of the. Differences were detected satisfactorily. (4b) The system was field tested, first at the dock and then at the shallow water test site at Cape Lookout Bight where methane bubbles from the sea floor, naturally, in 10m water depth. The system successfully detected peaks in bubbling as spike decreases in conductivity. (5) Progress on the Mid-Infrared Sensor for Continuous Methane Monitoring: (5a) Modeling and design of an optics platform complementary to the constructed electronics platform for successful incorporation into ''sphereIR'' continues. AutoCAD design and manual construction of mounting pieces for major optical components have been completed. (5b) Initial design concepts for IR-ATR sensor probe geometries have been established and evaluated. Initial evaluations of a horizontal ATR (HATR) sensing probe with fiber optic guiding light have been performed and validate the design concept as a potentially viable deep sea sensing probe. (5c) Ray tracing simulations have been performed to evaluate light propagation through HATR elements to facilitate the optimal design of both the sensing probe and optical configuration of ''sphereIR''. (5d) The highly permeable polymer, polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), was investigated as a potential methane enrichment membrane for IR-ATR sensors. (6) Progress on the Seismo-acoustic Characterization of Sea Floor Properties and Processes at the Hydrate Monitoring Station: (6a) All system components underwent extensive testing in preparation for determining sea floor acoustic reflection responses at the Gas Hydrate Monitoring Station. (6b) Final testing and commissioning have been completed.},
doi = {10.2172/860514},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {Tue Nov 01 00:00:00 EST 2005},
month = {Tue Nov 01 00:00:00 EST 2005}
}

Technical Report:

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  • A Consortium, designed to assemble leaders in gas hydrates research, has been established at the University of Mississippi's Center for Marine Resources and Environmental Technology, CMRET. The primary objective of the group is to design and emplace a remote monitoring station on the sea floor in the northern Gulf of Mexico by the year 2005, in an area where gas hydrates are known to be present at, or just below, the sea floor. This mission necessitates assembling a station that will monitor physical and chemical parameters of the sea water and sea floor sediments on a more-or-less continuous basis overmore » an extended period of time. Development of the station allows for the possibility of expanding its capabilities to include biological monitoring, as a means of assessing environmental health. Establishment of the Consortium has succeeded in fulfilling the critical need to coordinate activities, avoid redundancies and communicate effectively among researchers in this relatively new research arena. Complementary expertise, both scientific and technical, has been assembled to promote innovative research methods and construct necessary instrumentation. Noteworthy achievements six months into the extended life of this cooperative agreement include: (1) Progress on the vertical line array (VLA) of sensors: Analysis and repair attempts of the VLA used in the deep water deployment during October 2003 have been completed; Definition of an interface protocol for the VLA DATS to the SFO has been established; Design modifications to allow integration of the VLA to the SFO have been made; Experience gained in the deployments of the first VLA is being applied to the design of the next VLAs; One of the two planned new VLAs being modified to serve as an Oceanographic Line Array (OLA). (2) Progress on the Sea Floor Probe: The decision to replace the Sea Floor Probe technology with the borehole emplacement of a geophysical array was reversed due to the 1300m water depth at the JIP selected borehole site. The SFP concept has been revisited as a deployment technique for the subsea floor array; The SFP has been redesigned to include gravity driven emplacement of an array up to 10m into the shallow subsurface of the sea floor. (3) Progress on the Acoustic Systems for Monitoring Gas Hydrates: Video recordings of bubbles emitted from a seep in Mississippi Canyon have been analyzed for effects of currents and temperature changes; Several acoustic monitoring system concepts have been evaluated for their appropriateness to MC118, i.e., on the deep sea floor; A mock-up system was built but was rejected as too impractical for deployment on the sea floor. (4) Progress on the Electromagnetic Bubble Detector and Counter: The initial Inductive Conductivity Cell has been constructed from components acquired during the previous reporting period; Laboratory tests involving measuring bubble volume as a component of conductivity have been performed; The laboratory tests were performed in a closed system, under controlled conditions; the relationship between voltage and bubble volume appears to be linear. (5) Progress on the Mid-Infrared Sensor for Continuous Methane Monitoring: Designs and construction schematics for all electronic mounting pieces and an electronics system baseplate were finalized after extensive modeling to facilitate the successful fabrication and implementation of electronic components into the deep-sea, glass instrument housing; Construction schematics and fabrication of an electronics system baseplate have been completed with successful integration of all currently fabricated electronic mounting pieces; Modeling and design of an optics platform complementary to the constructed electronics platform for successful incorporation into ''sphereIR'' has commenced; A second generation chemometric data evaluation software package for evaluating complex spectra including corrections for baseline drifts and spectral anomalies resulting from matrix substances has been developed and will be incorporated into an optimized ''deepSniff'' program upon completion of initial systems tests of the ''sphereIR''; Continuation of spectroscopic investigations of the highly permeable polymer, poly(trimethylsilyl)propyne (PTMSP), as a potential sensing membrane for methane have continued and will continue in the following project period.; High-pressure multireflection ATR measurements simulating deep-sea conditions for evaluating environmental impact on the sensor system and multivariate data analysis continue. (6) Progress on the Seismo-acoustic Characterization of Sea Floor Properties and Processes at the Hydrate Monitoring Station: Work has continued on developing the electronic part of the acoustic logging system designed for investigating fine-scale temporal changes in sea floor acoustic reflection responses at the Gas Hydrate Monitoring Station; The hardware has been built and extensively tested.« less
  • A Consortium, designed to assemble leaders in gas hydrates research, has been established at the University of Mississippi's Center for Marine Resources and Environmental Technology, CMRET. The primary objective of the group is to design and emplace a remote monitoring station on the sea floor in the northern Gulf of Mexico by the year 2005, in an area where gas hydrates are known to be present at, or just below, the sea floor. This mission necessitates assembling a station that will monitor physical and chemical parameters of the sea water and sea floor sediments on a more-or-less continuous basis overmore » an extended period of time. Development of the station allows for the possibility of expanding its capabilities to include biological monitoring, as a means of assessing environmental health. Establishment of the Consortium has already succeeded in fulfilling the critical need to coordinate activities, avoid redundancies and communicate effectively among researchers in this relatively new research arena. Complementary expertise, both scientific and technical, has been assembled to innovate research methods and construct necessary instrumentation. As funding for this project, scheduled to commence December 1, 2002, had only been in place for less than half of the reporting period, project progress has been less than for other reporting periods. Nevertheless, significant progress has been made and several cruises are planned for the summer/fall of 2003 to test equipment, techniques and compatibility of systems. En route to reaching the primary goal of the Consortium, the establishment of a monitoring station on the sea floor, the following achievements have been made: (1) Progress on the vertical line array (VLA) of sensors: Software and hardware upgrades to the data logger for the prototype vertical line array, including enhanced programmable gains, increased sampling rates, improved surface communications, Cabling upgrade to allow installation of positioning sensors, Incorporation of capability to map the bottom location of the VLA, Improvements in timing issues for data recording. (2) Sea Floor Probe: The Sea Floor Probe and its delivery system, the Multipurpose sled have been completed; The probe has been modified to penetrate the <1m blanket of hemipelagic ooze at the water/sea floor interface to provide the necessary coupling of the accelerometer with the denser underlying sediments. (3) Electromagnetic bubble detector and counter: Initial tests performed with standard conductivity sensors detected nonconductive objects as small as .6mm, a very encouraging result, Components for the prototype are being assembled, including a dedicated microcomputer to control power, readout and logging of the data, all at an acceptable speed. (4) Acoustic Systems for Monitoring Gas Hydrates: Video recordings of bubbles emitted from a seep in Mississippi Canyon have been made from a submersible dive and the bubbles analyzed with respect to their size, number, and rise rate; these measurements will be used to determine the parameters to build the system capable of measuring gas escaping at the site of the monitoring station; A scattering system and bubble-producing device, being assembled at USM, will be tested in the next two months, and the results compared to a physical scattering model. (5) Mid-Infrared Sensor for Continuous Methane Monitoring: Progress has been made toward minimizing system maintenance through increased capacity and operational longevity, Miniaturization of many components of the sensor systems has been completed, A software package has been designed especially for the MIR sensor data evaluation, Custom electronics have been developed that reduce power consumption and, therefore, increase the length of time the system can remain operational. (6) Seismo-acoustic characterization of sea floor properties and processes at the hydrate monitoring station. (7) Adaptation of the acoustic-logging device, developed as part of the European Union-funded research project, Sub-Gate, for monitoring temporal variations in seabed acoustic responses has commenced. Electronics as well as hardware are undergoing development specific to this DOE project.« less
  • A Consortium, designed to assemble leaders in gas hydrates research, has been established at the University of Mississippi's Center for Marine Resources and Environmental Technology, CMRET. The primary objective of the group is to design and emplace a remote monitoring station on the sea floor in the northern Gulf of Mexico by the year 2005, in an area where gas hydrates are known to be present at, or just below, the sea floor. This mission necessitates assembling a station that will monitor physical and chemical parameters of the sea water and sea floor sediments on a more-or-less continuous basis overmore » an extended period of time. Development of the station allows for the possibility of expanding its capabilities to include biological monitoring, as a means of assessing environmental health. Establishment of the Consortium has succeeded in fulfilling the critical need to coordinate activities, avoid redundancies and communicate effectively among researchers in this relatively new research arena. Complementary expertise, both scientific and technical, has been assembled to innovate research methods and construct necessary instrumentation. A year into the life of this cooperative agreement, we note the following achievements: (1) Progress on the vertical line array (VLA) of sensors: (A) Software and hardware upgrades to the data logger for the prototype vertical line array, including enhanced programmable gains, increased sampling rates, improved surface communications, (B) Cabling upgrade to allow installation of positioning sensors, (C) Adaptation of SDI's Angulate program to use acoustic slant ranges and DGPS data to compute and map the bottom location of the vertical array, (D) Progress in T''0'' delay and timing issues for improved control in data recording, (E) Successful deployment and recovery of the VLA twice during an October, 2003 cruise, once in 830m water, once in 1305m water, (F) Data collection and recovery from the DATS data logger, (G) Sufficient energy supply and normal functioning of the pressure compensated battery even following recharge after the first deployment, (H) Survival of the acoustic modem following both deployments though it was found to have developed a slow leak through the transducer following the second deployment due, presumably, to deployment in excess of 300m beyond its rating. (2) Progress on the Sea Floor Probe: (A) The Sea Floor Probe and its delivery system, the Multipurpose sled have been completed, (B) The probe has been modified to penetrate the <1m blanket of hemipelagic ooze at the water/sea floor interface to provide the necessary coupling of the accelerometer with the denser underlying sediments, (C) The MPS has been adapted to serve as an energy source for both p- and s-wave studies at the station as well as to deploy the horizontal line arrays and the SFP. (3) Progress on the Electromagnetic Bubble Detector and Counter: (A) Components for the prototype have been assembled, including a dedicated microcomputer to control power, readout and logging of the data, all at an acceptable speed, (B) The prototype has been constructed and preliminary data collected, (C) The construction of the field system is underway. (4) Progress on the Acoustic Systems for Monitoring Gas Hydrates: (A) Video recordings of bubbles emitted from a seep in Mississippi Canyon have been made from a submersible dive and the bubbles analyzed with respect to their size, number, and rise rate. These measurements have been used to determine the parameters to build the system capable of measuring gas escaping at the site of the monitoring station, (B) Laboratory tests performed using the project prototype have produced a conductivity data set that is being used to refine parameters of the field model. (5) Progress on the Mid-Infrared Sensor for Continuous Methane Monitoring: (A) Preliminary designs of mounting pieces for electrical components of ''sphereIR'' have been completed using AutoCAD software, (B) The preliminary design of an electronics baseplate has been completed and aided in the optimization of positioning electrical components inside the instrument housing, (C) First spectroscopic investigations of the highly permeable polymer, poly(trimethylsilyl)propyne (PTMSP), as a potential sensing membrane for methane, have commenced, (D) High-pressure multireflection ATR measurements were continued during this project period to investigate the potential influences of hydrostatic pressure on sensing principles and data evaluation strategies. (6) Progress on the Seismo-acoustic Characterization of Sea Floor Properties and Processes at the Hydrate Monitoring Station: (A) work has concentrated on the design and building of the hardware, bench testing and preliminary field trials, (B) development work to extend the capability of the electronics to allow remote operation on the seabed for up to 3 months at a time done.« less
  • The Gulf of Mexico Hydrates Research Consortium was established in 1999 to assemble leaders in gas hydrates research. The group is administered by the Center for Marine Resources and Environmental Technology, CMRET, at the University of Mississippi. The primary objective of the group is to design and emplace a remote monitoring station or sea floor observatory on the sea floor in the northern Gulf of Mexico by the year 2005, in an area where gas hydrates are known to be present at, or just below, the sea floor. This mission necessitates assembling a station that will monitor physical and chemicalmore » parameters of the sea water and sea floor sediments on a more-or-less continuous basis over an extended period of time. Development of the station has always included the possibility of expanding its capabilities to include biological monitoring, as a means of assessing environmental health. This possibility has recently received increased attention and the group of researchers working on the station has expanded to include several microbial biologists. Establishment of the Consortium has succeeded in fulfilling the critical need to coordinate activities, avoid redundancies and communicate effectively among researchers in this relatively new research arena. Complementary expertise, both scientific and technical, has been assembled to promote innovative research methods and construct necessary instrumentation. Initial components of the observatory, a probe that collects pore-fluid samples and another that records sea floor temperatures, were deployed in Mississippi Canyon 118 in May of 2005. Follow-up deployments are planned for fall 2005 and center about the use of the vessel M/V Ocean Quest and its two manned submersibles. The subs will be used to effect bottom surveys, emplace sensors and sea floor experiments and make connections between sensor data loggers and the integrated data power unit (IDP). Station/observatory completion is anticipated for 2007 following the construction, testing and deployment of the horizontal line arrays, not yet funded. The seafloor monitoring station/observatory is funded approximately equally by three federal Agencies: Minerals Management Services (MMS) of the Department of the Interior (DOI), National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) of the Department of Energy (DOE), and the National Institute for Undersea Science and Technology (NIUST), an agency of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).« less
  • The Gulf of Mexico Hydrates Research Consortium (GOM-HRC) was established in 1999 to assemble leaders in gas hydrates research. The primary objective of the group has been to design and emplace a remote monitoring station or sea floor observatory (MS/SFO) on the sea floor in the northern Gulf of Mexico by the year 2005, in an area where gas hydrates are known to be present at, or just below, the sea floor. This mission, although unavoidably delayed by hurricanes and other disturbances, necessitates assembling a station that will monitor physical and chemical parameters of the sea water and sea floormore » sediments on a more-or-less continuous basis over an extended period of time. Development of the station has always included the possibility of expanding its capabilities to include biological monitoring, as a means of assessing environmental health. This possibility has recently achieved reality via the National Institute for Undersea Science and Technology's (NIUST) solicitation for proposals for research to be conducted at the MS/SFO. Establishment of the Consortium has succeeded in fulfilling the critical need to coordinate activities, avoid redundancies and communicate effectively among researchers in the arena of gas hydrates research. Complementary expertise, both scientific and technical, has been assembled to promote innovative research methods and construct necessary instrumentation. The observatory has achieved a microbial dimension in addition to the geophysical and geochemical components it had already included. Initial components of the observatory, a probe that collects pore-fluid samples and another that records sea floor temperatures, were deployed in Mississippi Canyon 118 in May of 2005. Follow-up deployments, planned for fall 2005, have had to be postponed and the use of the vessel M/V Ocean Quest and its two manned submersibles sacrificed due to the catastrophic effects of Hurricane Katrina (and later, Rita) on the Gulf Coast. Every effort is being made to locate and retain the services of a replacement vessel and submersibles or Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) but these efforts have been fruitless due to the demand for these resources in the tremendous recovery effort being made in the Gulf area. Station/observatory completion, anticipated for 2007, will likely be delayed by at least one year. The seafloor monitoring station/observatory is funded approximately equally by three federal Agencies: Minerals Management Services (MMS) of the Department of the Interior (DOI), National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL) of the Department of Energy (DOE), and the National Institute for Undersea Science and Technology (NIUST), an agency of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Subcontractors with FY03 funding fulfilled their technical reporting requirements in the previous report (41628R10). Only unresolved matching funds issues remain and will be addressed in the report of the University of Mississippi's Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.« less