Gulf of Mexico

Michael Crowden Houston Shell, with partners Exxon and Amoco, plans to spend $1 billion to develop oil and gas from the Ram-Powell tension leg platform. The TLP, to be installed in a record water depth of 3,218 ft, will be Shell's third Gulf of Mexico TLP, following Mars and Auger.

Michael Crowden
  • Shell, with partners Exxon and Amoco, plans to spend $1 billion to develop oil and gas from the Ram-Powell tension leg platform. The TLP, to be installed in a record water depth of 3,218 ft, will be Shell's third Gulf of Mexico TLP, following Mars and Auger.

Ram-Powell to be Shell's third TLP

Shell has confirmed plans to install and operate its third tension leg platform in the Gulf of Mexico, thus setting yet another water depth record. The TLP will produce oil and gas from the Ram-Powell Field , jointly owned by Shell Offshore, Amoco Production, and Exxon USA. The total project cost is expected to be US$1 billion.

The Ram-Powell TLP, which will be installed in 3,218 ft of water, will set a new record for deepwater development in US water. Currently, Shell's Auger TLP holds the record at 2,860 ft. Auger's record will be surpassed in 1996 by Shell's Mars TLP in 2,933 ft of water.

Shell, Amoco, and Exxon are participating in a joint project team to design, fabricate, and install the Ram-Powell platform. Fabrication will begin February, with installation targeted for mid 1997 on Viosca Knoll 956, about 80 miles south of Mobile, Alabama. Initial production is expected in late 1997, with gross recovery estimated at 250 million bbl of oil equivalent.

The Ram-Powell platform will be similar in design and size to the Mars TLP currently under construction. As with Mars, the deck will be built by McDermott International in Morgan City, Louisiana, with the hull built in Taranto, Italy, by Belleli. The completed structure will weigh 41,000 tons and stand 3,570 ft from seafloor to the crown of the drilling rig. It will have capacity for 20 wells and gross production of 60,000 b/d of oil and 200 million cu ft/day of gas.

Later this year, three to four development wells will be drilled in advance of the TLP installation. Further development wells will be drilled with a contract rig on the TLP after installation. Up to four subsea wells also will be drilled and tied back to the platform.

Ram-Powell comprises eight leases which were unitized in 1989 for joint development. Shell is operator and owns 38%. Amoco and Exxon each own 31%.

Ram-Powell Facts

  • The discovery well was drilled on Viosca Knoll 912 in May 1995, using the drillship Discoverer Seven Seas. Between 1985 and 1989, partners Shell, Amoco, and Exxon drilled 12 exploratory wells from five surface locations. Five potentially commercial pay sands have been logged between 5,500 and 13,500 ft, subsea.
  • Development will include application of large-bore (4.5-in. tubing) and horizontal well completion. The number of wells needed to develop the field will be determined after production begins. Plans have yet to be finalized regarding which contractor will drill the wells.
  • Peak daily production will be 60,000 bbl of oil and 200 million cu ft of natural gas. Production from the platform will be transported 25 miles via a 12-in. diameter oil pipeline and a 14-in. gas pipeline to platforms on the Continental Shelf. Both pipelines will be installed as part of the Ram-Powell development. The contractor will be selected later this year.

DOT offers partial OPA 90 solution

Limited liability for the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP) and any subsequent deepwater ports is being proposed by US Department of Transportation as a means to ease the burden of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. The act increases liability for offshore operations from the current $50 million to $350 million. However, the limit could be adjusted to a lower amount (not less than %40 million) if the results of a study show that deepwater ports have lower operational and environmental risks than other ports.

The proposed limits do not alter a deepwater port's unlimited liability for spills caused by gross negligence, willful misconduct, or violation of certain federal regulations. Specific liability limits for other future deepwater ports will be established through separate rulemakings as necessary, says the DOT. The government is seeking public comment on the issue of limits of liability for deepwater ports in general and LOOP in particular. The Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was published in the February 8th issue of the Federal Register.

Seattle Slew confirmation yields pay

Tatham Offshore says its first confirmation well in the Seattle Slew Field - Ewing Bank 915 No. 4 encountered 170 ft of oil pay in four primary zones in the Pliocene section. The well confirmed a pay zone previously encountered on the block, as well as identifying several new ones, says Tatham. The discovery well yielded test flows of 3,000 b/d of oil and 4.5 million cu ft/day of gas.

Newfield buys West Delta gas interests

Newfield Exploration is paying $12 million to acquire 39.5% working interest in West Delta 152, a gas-producing property offshore Louisiana. The seller is Louis Dreyfus Natural Gas. The agreement provides for Newfield to become operator. It also allows Louis Dreyfus the right to participate in exploration activities conducted from the platform located on the property. Louis Dreyfus also retains a 39.5% working interest.

Anadarko gains new production from High Island

Production has begun from a new platform at High Island A-376, about 150 miles offshore Texas, says operator Anadarko Petroleum. Initial production from two wells is 1,700 b/d of oil and 2.8 million cu ft/day of gas. Increased production is expected. Anadarko discovered an oil and gas field covering blocks High Island A-376 and A-365 in 1981 and initiated production in 1983. Cumulative production from the 1981 discovery was 10 million bbl of oil and 64.3 billion cu ft of gas as of year-end 1994. A new field was discovered on A-376 in 1992. It was delineated in 1993, with the new platform installed in August 1994.

Forest initiates production from Eugene Isle 190A

Forest Oil said its Eugene Island Block 190A-5 well offshore Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico has begun producing 10 million cu ft/day of gas and 26 b/d of condensate through a 28/64-in. choke at 1,660 psi flowing tubing pressure. The well encountered a total of 100 ft of net natural gas pay between 7,900 and 8,100 ft in Lenticulina sands. The well was drilled from the Eugene Island 190A production platform. Forest, the operator, owns 75% working interest. Santa Fe Energy Resources own 25%.

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