Gulf of Mexico

Freeport-McMoRan Energy LLC, a subsidiary of McMoRan Exploration Co., has submitted a license application to the US Coast Guard to develop a $440-million LNG receiving terminal at its Main Pass Energy Hub (MPEH) in the Gulf of Mexico, 37 mi east of Venice, Louisiana.

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Jaime Kammerzell • Houston

LNG terminal plan for Main Pass Energy Hub

Freeport-McMoRan Energy LLC, a subsidiary of McMoRan Exploration Co., has submitted a license application to the US Coast Guard to develop a $440-million LNG receiving terminal at its Main Pass Energy Hub (MPEH) in the Gulf of Mexico, 37 mi east of Venice, Louisiana. The proposed terminal would be capable of receiving and conditioning 1 bcf/d of LNG and would be designed to accommodate potential future expansions.

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McMoRan has completed conceptual and preliminary engineering for the Main Pass Energy Hub project to receive and process LNG and store and distribute natural gas.
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McMoRan plans to develop cavern storage and pipeline interconnects to the US pipeline distribution system to allow natural gas storage capacity using a salt dome at the Energy Hub site. The system would provide suppliers with access to natural gas markets in the US. Aggregate peak deliverability from the terminal, including deliveries from storage, would total 2.5 bcf/d.

MPEH is in Main Pass block 299 in 210 ft of water, which allows deepwater access for large LNG tankers and is close to shipping channels. McMoRan will use the block's existing platforms and infrastructure, which were designed to withstand a 200-year storm event, to locate the LNG vaporization and surface storage facilities. The facilities could be operational by late-2007, which would make MPEH one of the first US offshore LNG facilities.

Stolt completes salvage project

Stolt Offshore has completed the Eugene Island block 275A platform salvage project for Total E&P using mechanical cutting devices. The platform was removed from OCS-G-0988, 70 mi off the Louisiana coast in 180 ft of water.

Stolt began the abandonment project in August 2002. The plan called for the company to remove the deck for disposal onshore and to transport the jacket to a nearby artificial reef site. Stolt Offshore had started abandonment procedures of pipelines leading from the platform when Hurricane Lili entered the Gulf. The platform sank during the storm, but because Stolt had already completed the decommissioning and abandonment, no pollution entered the Gulf.

The platform jacket had collapsed 125 ft below sea level and the deck had broken off of the jacket and landed on the sea floor. Stolt left part of the platform on location and removed part of the jacket structure, allowing enough room for other vessels to safely clear it. Stolt then removed equipment possibly containing fuel or other hydrocarbons, flooded the remaining empty vessels on the deck to prevent them from ascending to the surface, and plugged and abandoned the remaining four wells.

Stolt has completed a survey as the final step to ensure that all procedures were correctly implemented and all regulatory requirements satisfied.

Expanded royalty relief

The MMS has published the Final Notice of Sale 190 for an offshore oil and gas lease sale to be held in the central planning area of the Gulf of Mexico. The MMS will provide royalty relief on deep oil and natural gas discoveries to encourage energy firms to explore deeper trends. The expanded royalty suspension provisions, effective March 1, will apply to leases in less than 200 m of water, issued as a result of this sale and where new deep gas is drilled and starts production by March 1, 2009. The new rule also expands royalty relief to include 2,400 existing leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

Energy companies normally pay a royalty rate of 12.5% to 16.7% of the value of found oil or gas; however, for wells drilled in less than 200 m of water, royalties will be suspended on the first 15 bcf of gas found between 15,000 and 18,000 ft TVD and on the first 25 bcf of gas drilled at greater than 18,000 ft TVD. Royalties will also be reduced on oil and gas wells drilled in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico.

Deepest burial project

Amerada Hess has contracted Kværner Oilfield Products to install a 5 x 2 10Ksi side valve tree (horizontal tree) and EH MUX control system for an upcoming subsea tieback in the Gulf. The tree and controls system, rated for 2,000 ft water depth, is similar to the system Kværner installed for Amerada Hess at Garden Banks block 201 last year.

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Canyon Offshore's Northern Canyon assisted in the Glider field flowline burial contract for Shell E&P.
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In addition, Shell Exploration and Production Co. has awarded Canyon Offshore Inc., a subsidiary of Cal Dive International, a flowline burial contract for the Glider field in Green Canyon block 248. Canyon trenched and backfilled the 6.6-in. Glider flowline to enhance the flow assurance properties. The company buried the 32,000-ft line in 3,000 ft of water at the Brutus TLP end, and 3,300 ft of water at the G4 well location. This makes the Glider project the deepest flowline burial project in the world, according to Canyon.

Canyon carried out the project in February with its T-750 Super-Trencher deployed from the M/V Northern Canyon, which performed the trenching and burial operations, and a Triton XLS work class ROV, which conducted survey and post burial survey tasks. Canyon also provided all the pre-engineering, survey, project engineering, project management, and ROV support associated with the work.

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