R.J. Brown, Offshore Pipeline Pioneer, Passes Away

R. J. (Bob) Brown, one of the top offshore pipeline engineers of his generation, died on 23 January 2018, less than one month shy of his 90th birthday.

During his distinguished six-decade career as a marine pipeline engineer, Brown was known for innovations that made marine pipelining more efficient and much safer. As a result, he was recognized with a number of awards, including the Heritage Award presented at the 1997 Offshore Technology Conference. In 2008 he was inducted into the Offshore Energy Center’s Hall of Fame.

EmbedRJBrownAmong Brown’s innovations were development of a third-generation vessel capable of double-joining 40-ft sections and a retractable stern ramp improving the efficiency of pipe lay operations. In the Arctic, he built a 2-D modeling system for development of installation methods and procedures and a remote diverless connection system.

Brown pre-assembled 10-mile long pipelines, then bottom-towed them into position offshore. He also designed and built some 15 full scale plows, for trenching and burial of subsea pipelines. Later, he applied his engineering skill to design installation techniques for ultra deep-water lines to 8,000-ft water depth. These included 3-D physical models that helped engineers design pipelines efficiently for specific applications.

One of Brown’s key accomplishments was the use of a highly accurate 3-D physical model for training contractors’ personnel by demonstrating the hazards during installation of large complex systems with many risers and mooring lines.

He ended his career as Director of R J Brown Deepwater, a Technip Company.

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