Ocean Engineering Alumnus to Receive Distinguished Achievement Award

Brian Skeels
Brian Skeels

By Neil Nachbar

Brian Skeels, who received his master’s degree in ocean engineering from the University of Rhode Island in 1979, will receive the Distinguished Achievement Award for Individuals at the Offshore Technology Conference this spring.

The award recognizes the URI alumnus for pioneering new subsea completions in record water depths and for the development of new tieback connections that have set and redefined industry standards.

A subsea completion refers to a system of pipes, connections, and valves that reside on the ocean floor and serve to gather hydrocarbons produced from individually completed wells.

“To be recognized with the giants of the offshore industry is truly humbling,” said Skeels. “My career has been filled with wonderful mentors and leaders, some of whom have been recipients of this award.”

As a technology fellow for TechnipFMC, Skeels serves as a technical subsea advisor. He is also a strategic planning specialist for frontier technologies and new business opportunities, including deepwater riserless light well intervention, ROV and remote robotics technology, and hydrate remediation programs.

Based in Houston, TechnipFMC is considered a leader in oil and gas projects, technologies, systems and services.

Skeels has 38 years of experience in subsea completion and pipeline design and installation. His designs in subsea completions held world records for water depths from 1986 through 2010 and established the first 10,000 psi and 15,000 psi subsea completions in the Gulf of Mexico.

Skeels has authored nearly 40 industry related technical papers and articles, holds 14 U.S. patents for the oil and gas industry, is an instructor in the company-lead learning program, and an adjunct professor in the University of Houston’s subsea engineering program.

The American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) elevated Skeels to the grade of fellow in 2010.

In a letter recommending Skeels for fellow status from ASME, Michael Williams, FMC Technologies’ Subsea Systems Engineering Manager, wrote, “Brian has been instrumental in the development and implementation of innovative technical solutions for the production of offshore oil and gas reserves in many areas of the world.”

The Offshore Technology Conference award ceremony will take place on May 1 in Houston.