Susan Gourvenec

Professor, BEng Lond., PhD S'ton

  • The University of Western Australia (M470), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


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Personal profile


Susan Gourvenec specialises in offshore geotechnical engineering with particular interests in foundation and pipeline solutions for offshore oil and gas developments. Susan joined the Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems (COFS) at UWA in 2001 from Cambridge University following award of her PhD from Southampton University, UK and undergraduate Honours degree from London University, UK.
Susan is the author of more than 70 international scientific papers, has been chair and co-editor of the proceedings of international conferences and is co-author of the recent book “Offshore Geotechnical Engineering”. She leads the delivery of specialist courses on offshore geomechanics as part of the University curriculum and short courses for industry and supervises projects of Honours students, PhD students and research staff. Susan is Leader of the Numerical Modelling Technology Stream within the Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems.
Susan interfaces with industry through research-based collaborations at the Centre for Offshore Foundation Systems, as a part-time Principal Engineer with Perth-based specialist geotechnical consultancy Advanced Geomechanics, and as a member of ISO/API Committee on Offshore Foundations and Chair of the Shallow Foundations Technical Panel.

Roles and responsibilities

Offshore shallow foundations
Offshore anchoring systems
Submarine pipelines
Numerical analysis
Centrifuge modeling

Current projects

Tolerably mobile subsea foundations
Field testing of shallow foundations
Effect of salinity on soil response
Effect of anisotropy on soil response
Cyclic loading response of skirted foundations
Multi-directional (6 dof) loading of subsea mat foundations
Development of design methodology for novel hybrid subsea foundation (HSF)
Consolidation effects on foundation and anchor performace
Break out resistance of deepwater pipelines

Teaching overview

Offshore Geomechanics (Master of Professional Engineering, CIVL5504)
An Introduction to Offshore Geotechnical Engineering (Short Course for Industry)
Seabed to Surface (Australia-China Natural Gas Fund Training Programme)


Susan's research employs state-of-the-art physical modelling and numerical analysis to address safe and efficient seabed engineering for the offshore oil and gas sector.
The research addresses global challenges, although emphasis is placed on responding to State and national needs as Western Australian offshore oil and gas production continues to grow rapidly. Offshore oil and gas is Australia’s second largest resource sector with sales valued at over $23 bn in 2011 and demand increasing year on year. Currently, over 70 oil and gas fields are operating in Western Australia with new facilities continually under planning or construction. Australia is the second biggest exporter of LNG in world with production predicted to triple by 2015 due to WA’s deepwater megaprojects.
Safe seabed engineering will unlock Australia’s deepwater offshore oil and gas resources securing our domestic energy future and a lucrative export commodity. Research contributes directly by developing solutions to enable efficient field development while education equips the State with a workforce with the necessary skills to supply the industry’s needs.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy

Research expertise keywords

  • Offshore geomechanics
  • Caisson and skirted foundations
  • Submarine pipelines
  • Combined loading of shallow foundations and pipelines
  • Consolidation effects on foundations and pipelines
  • Uplift response of shallow foundations
  • Mitigation of gapping around shallow foundations
  • Centrifuge modelling
  • Numerical and analytical methods


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