Blue Dolphin gets down to business

Russell McCulley
Tuesday, February 9, 2010

BJ Services' new stimulation vessel built for deepwater wells, the Blue Dolphin, made a recent stop in Houston on its way to Louisiana, where it will be based while doing short-term contract work in the Gulf of Mexico. Russell McCulley was on hand for the welcoming party and follows up with BJ on the vessel's first weeks on the job.

A chilly wind and steady rain greeted employees and clients who showed up at a dock on the Houston Ship Channel to get a first-hand look at the Blue Dolphin. But the dreary weather wasn't enough to dampen the celebratory mood, or to keep BJ's David Dunlap from bragging a little.

'This boat is more capable, from a horsepower standpoint and from a pressure standpoint, than any vessel in the Gulf of Mexico today,' says Dunlap, executive VP and chief operating officer. By BJ's reckoning, the 300ft Blue Dolphin is the largest vessel of its type, capable of providing 20,000psi working pressure for wells in the Gulf of Mexico's Lower Tertiary and other deepwater formations. BJ designed Blue Dolphin specifically to service wells in the Lower Tertiary, where conditions are marked by long, multiple pay zones and high pressure and temperature variations. And that's right where the company would like to keep it, as much as possible. 'We tried to predict where it would be needed,' Dunlap says.


The DP2 vessel was designed to minimize downtime at deepwater job sites. Accommodations for 45 allow around-the-clock well stimulation services; eight skid-mounted 3000 brake horsepower Gorilla fracturing units combined total a potential 23,000 hydraulic horsepower and 80b/min blending rates. It's the first time, Dunlap says, that 3000hp pumps have been installed on a stimulation vessel.

Blue Dolphin can store 11,800 barrels (1875m3) of fluids or completion brines, 12,600 gallons (47.7m3) raw acid, 6300 gallons (23.8m3) solvent and up to 2.75 million pounds of proppant above and below deck.

Categories: Vessels Deepwater North America Gulf of Mexico

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