GOM major projects have blossomed-a picture IS worth a thousand words

Bruce Crager
Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The US Gulf of Mexico (GOM) has clearly returned to the spotlight as one of the hottest offshore regions in the world. The impact of Macondo appears to be in the past and the number of both drilling rigs and major production projects are increasing.

As an example, the Kiewit Offshore Services yard in Ingleside, Texas (pictured), recently had a unique display of floating production systems under construction in early June, which included:

Shell Olympus TLP – The unit is now located at Mississippi Canyon Block 807 in about 3000 ft of water. This is the largest TLP in the GOM, weighing in at a massive 120,000 tons, and Shell’s sixth TLP in the region. The unit is the second in the Mars field which covers Mississippi Canyon Blocks 762, 763, 764, 805, 806, 807, 850, and 851; and is expected to extend Mars production to at least 2050. The hull was fabricated in South Korea, transported on the MV Blue Marlin to Kiewit, and the topsides were installed there before tow-out to the field, where it arrived on July 20. Production is expected to start in early 2014 with a capacity of up to 100,000boe. Olympus will have a platform rig with slots for 24 wells and six subsea tiebacks. Initial production will be from six subsea tiebacks in the West Boreas and South Deimos fields. Shell is operator (71.5% WI) with BP as the partner (28.5%).

Anadarko Lucius Spar – The hull for this unit was fabricated in Pori, Finland, and arrived at the Kiewit yard in June on the Mighty Servant I. This cell-spar hull weighs 23,000 tons with a length of 605ft and diameter of 110ft. The topsides, which are being fabricated at Kiewit, weigh another 15,000 tons and will be set in nine lifts with the heaviest being 10,250 tons. This deepwater field will require some of the largest installation vessels in the industry. The large offshore lift will require Heerema’s Thialf. The hull was recently installed in 7100ft of water in Keathley Canyon Block 875 in September, where the Balder installed the nine mooring legs. Other vessels to be used include the Solitaire, Castorone, AEGIR, Deep Energy, Audacia, Iron Horse, Orion, and Deep Blue. The production capacity of the spar will be 80,000bo/d and 450MMcfd. Production is expected to commence during the second half of 2014. Anadarko is the operator (27.8 % WI) with six other partners.

Chevron Big Foot TLP – This unit will be installed in Walker Ridge (WR) Block 29 in about 5300 ft. of water and is expected to come online in 2014. The hull is an extended TLP with a production capacity of 75,000 bo/d and 25 MMcfd. Total expected project cost is over US$4 billion. The TLP will include a platform rig on deck, using two high-pressure drilling risers, and has capacity for 15 production/injection top-tensioned risers. Chevron is operator (60% WI) with partners Statoil (27.5%) and Marubeni Oil and Gas (12.5%).

Chevron Jack/St. Malo FPS – This semisubmersible floating production system will be installed in Walker Ridge Block 758 in about 7000ft of water. The overall development cost is estimated at $7.5 billion with production ramping up in 2014. The FPS has a production capacity of 170,000bo/d and 42.5MMcfd with provisions for future water injection of 200,000b/d. It will produce from three fields: Jack (WR 758, WR 759), St. Malo (WR 678) and Julia (WR 584, WR 627, WR 628, WR 540, WR 583) using multiple subsea centers. Chevron is operator of Jack (50% WI) and St. Malo (51% WI), while ExxonMobil (50% WI) is operator for Julia.

LLOG Delta House FPS – This semisubmersible is similar in design to LLOG’s Who Dat FPS, although the Delta House unit is approximately 40% larger in size and throughput capacity. The FPS will be installed in Mississippi Canyon (MS) Block 254 in 4500ft of water. The facility has a payload capacity of 9300 tons and production capacity of 80,000bo/d, 200MMcfd, and 40,000bw/d with peaking capacity up to 100,000bo/d and 240MMcfd. The hull is currently being built at Hyundai Heavy industries in South Korea and the topsides are being fabricated at Kiewit. Subsea wells will be tied back from MC 255, MS 300, and MS 431, and the FPS is designed to accept production from other subsea tiebacks in the future. The hull is designed to accommodate up to 20 steel-catenary risers (up to nine fields with dual flowlines). First oil is expected in the first half of 2015. LLOG is the operator and partners are Ridgewood Energy, Red Willow Offshore LLC, Calypso Exploration, Deep Gulf Energy II, Houston Energy, and ILX Holdings LLC, an affiliate of Riverstone Holdings LLC.

In addition to the projects above, there is one other record-setting project under construction just a few miles away from the Kiewit yard, which is also in the fabrication stage for the GOM. It is for Walter Oil & Gas’ Coelacanth project, which is in Ewing Bank Block 834 in just under 1200ft of water. This water depth would not be unusual if developed with a floating production system, but Walter has committed to build the third-largest, fixed platform in the world. Those in greater water depths are Shell’s Bullwinkle, installed in 1353ft of water in 1988, and BP’s Pompano, which was installed in 1994 in 1290ft of water. Both are also located in the GOM. Walter decided to use a fixed platform with surface wells and a platform rig due to concerns over flow assurance with subsea tiebacks, the high cost and limited availability of moored drilling rigs, and the medium size topsides of about 3500 tons having a capacity of 30,000bo/d, 15,000bw/d and 60MMcfd. The jacket and topsides will be built in the Gulf Island Fabrication facility at Ingleside, Texas, which was originally developed for the Bullwinkle project. The jacket is a massive 31,000 tons.

There are a number of other projects moving forward in the GOM, but it is unique to see this many deepwater production assets in one place at one time, such as recently seen at Kiewit’s Texas facility. A picture truly is worth a thousand words! OE

Categories: Equipment Activity North America Construction Rigs Installation Hardware Design Deepwater

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