Reliable quantification of current profiles is required for safe and cost effective offshore exploration and field development. The current regime offshore West Africa is often considered benign, compared to some regions of oil and gas activity, but still presents challenges to reliable quantification. A key challenge to all offshore developments is acquisition of appropriate data. The primary source of data for riser design is site specific full water column measurement. Such in-situ data are generally expensive and time consuming to collect, so there is an increasing tendency for numerical model current data to be considered. Model data are often relatively quick and inexpensive to obtain, with the added benefit of a much longer duration, potentially allowing inter-annual variability and extreme events to be captured. However, the accuracy and reliability of numerical model data remains questionable, or unproven, in many deepwater development regions. This paper explores the suitability of such models to represent a deepwater site offshore West Africa, in relation to the key oceanographic processes revealed within the in-situ data.

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