INGLESIDE, Texas – The major topsides modules have been installed on the Olympus tension leg platform (TLP) as Shell prepares to tow the 120,000-ton structure from Kiewit Offshore Services yard to the deepwater Mars field late this month or early July.
During a June 5 tour of the TLP – said to be the largest ever deployed in the Gulf of Mexico – Shell officials said the project will be the first in the region to employ an additional floating production system in a producing deepwater field.
“This is the first time in the Gulf of Mexico that a company has built another host structure to go in an existing field,” rather than using subsea tiebacks to expand a field, said John Hollowell, Shell’s executive vice president for deepwater.
TheOlympusplatform will be moored in 3,000-ft (914-m) water depths in the Mississippi Canyon area, about one mile from the existing Mars platform, which started production in 1996. The new TLP hosts 24-slot drilling unit supplied by Nabors Industries and includes capacity for six subsea wells to gather production from the nearby West Boreas and South Diemos fields. Olympus has a production capacity of about 100,000 boe/d.
Noble Corp.’sNoble Bully Ihas drilled the top sections of the 24 wells at what Shell has dubbed Mars B, and is on location to drill the satellite wells at West Boreas and South Diemos.
The project is expected to extend the field life of Mars to at least 2050, Hollowell said. Shell has said the field could contain recoverable reserves of 1.1 Bboe. Shell operates the field with 71.5% interest; partner BP holds the remaining 28.5% interest.
WhenOlympus begins production, likely in the first half of 2014, the focus of the existing Mars production platform will shift to the field’s shallower reservoirs and to water injection. Olympus, outfitted with 15,000 psi-rated trees furnished by FMC Technologies, will concentrate on high-pressure reservoirs that range in depth from 20,000-22,000 ft.
Shell will install a third platform at its West Delta 143 gathering hub to link production from Mars B with existing pipeline infrastructure.
Heerema’sBalder deepwater construction vessel will be used to install the TLP.