System of Industry Metocean data for the Offshore and Research Communities (SIMORC)

Oil platform operating in rough seas
Oil platform operating in rough seas ©

Metocean data

Metocean data are an important and highly useful category of oceanographic and marine data which comprises observed measurements of current, wave, sea level and meteorological data.

A large amount of metocean data are collected in situ by or under contract to major oil and gas companies at considerable cost.  These companies have many offshore oil and gas fields scattered worldwide in seas and on continental shelves, often in remote areas.  Metocean analyses provide them with essential information needed to complement their working practices, such as in the design and engineering of offshore installations and for the forecasting of meteorological events.

Rationale of SIMORC

Despite various joint projects within the oil and gas industry, there is no common awareness, indexing or archival of metocean data sets.  Access to these data sets by other parties, particularly the scientific community, is also fairly limited.  By providing information and access to external users, these data could be used to valuable effect, increasing knowledge of both local and regional ocean and marine systems.

World map showing the distribution of larger oil fields
World map showing the distribution of larger oil fields ©

What is SIMORC?

A System of Industry Metocean data for the Offshore and Research Communities (SIMORC) will be established comprising an index metadatabase and a database of data sets.  The index metadatabase (a database containing descriptive information about the data sets) will allow users to identify data useful for their particular interest.  Access to the data sets themselves will only be available through the SIMORC web site and will be regulated by a SIMORC protocol.  Only registered users will be allowed access to the data sets.  SIMORC is a unique project, which falls under the EU Sixth Framework Programme, 'Sustainable Development, Global Change and Ecosystems'.  It will be funded by the EU for two years from 01 June 2005, although the participants aim to develop an operational SIMORC service that will continue beyond the completion of the project.

The objectives of the SIMORC project are

  1. To create a central index and database of past and present metocean data sets collected globally by the oil and gas industry
  2. To standardise data quality control, data format, storage and retrieval of these industry metocean datasets for use by industry partners and scientific users
  3. To create a searchable overview of hindcast studies, performed under contract to the oil and gas industry at various sites
  4. To define and to establish arrangements for use, updating and long term operation of the SIMORC facility beyond the project period
  5. To promote and to disseminate the SIMORC facility in both the oil and gas industry and scientific communities to achieve an increasing number of contributing parties and users

Target users and their use for SIMORC

It is foreseen that the SIMORC data sets and the SIMORC data service will be of great use and importance to a wide variety of users, some of the major groups comprising

  • Scientific institutes and universities in the oceanographic research community
  • Scientific institutes, universities, monitoring and forecasting agencies in the operational oceanographic communities
  • Governmental marine and coastal zone managers
  • Oceanographers and environmental managers in developing countries
  • Metocean departments of oil and gas companies
  • Third parties, active in offshore engineering in support services for offshore operations


System of Industry Metocean data for the Offshore and Research Communities      European Commission