FPSO comment period re-opened

June 1, 2001
The US Coast Guard re-opened the period of comment regarding the use of floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) units in the US Gulf of Mexico. The USCG will accept comments through July 16. The comment period was re-opened because of requests for more time to collect data.

FPSO comment period re-opened

The US Coast Guard re-opened the period of comment regarding the use of floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) units in the US Gulf of Mexico. The USCG will accept comments through July 16. The comment period was re-opened because of requests for more time to collect data.

Record 45 drilling units in deepwater

Deepwater drilling in the Gulf of Mexico has hit new levels. A record high of 45 rigs are working in water depths of 1,500 ft or greater. "The number of wells being drilled in the so-called ultra-deepwater - those in 5,000 ft of water or greater - continues to grow significantly. Currently, there are eight wells being drilled in water depths of 5,000 ft or greater," said MMS Acting Director Tom Kitsos. Unocal's Triton was the deepest at 9,743 ft water depth in Alaminos Canyon 903. Marathon was drilling Camden Hills in Mississippi Canyon 348 in 7,209 ft water depth.

Study focusing on areas with strong currents

Fugro Geos reported 96% data returns from Gulf of Mexico deepwater water current studies in the first phase of the Gulf Lower Layer (GULL) deepwater current measurement project."Preliminary results show the program design has worked well," said Dave Szabo, GULL project director in Houston. "It has been particularly useful in defining areas where strong deepwater flows may have a significant impact on exploration drilling activities." The project will conclude in September.

New Ingleside yard ready in July

Fabrication yards along the Gulf are gearing up, and Peter Kiewit is joining the pack. Kiewit Offshore Services will build a new fabrication facility on 400 acres in Ingleside, Texas, to be ready in July. The facility, to be located on the La Quinta Channel, will be able to accommodate construction of platform and floater topsides, floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessels, and tension leg platforms (TLPs). Capital costs for development were estimated at $100 million. The company expects to employ about 350 at the outset, and 1,000 employees in full operation.

Plan filed, pipe arrives for Gulfstream line

Gulfstream Natural Gas System applied for a permit to construct two pipeline segments, one of which will cross the Gulf of Mexico between Alabama and Florida. The application with the US Army Corps of Engineers indicates about 28 miles of pipeline would be in the state waters of Alabama and 55 miles would be in OCS waters before entering Florida state waters. The application is part of a 752-mile pipeline plan to supply markets in Florida. The first shipment of pipe has arrived.

"This is the largest pipeline project in the Gulf of Mexico," said Nancy Schultz, Gulfstream's Senior Vice President and General Manager for technical functions. "When you see this first shipment of pipe arrive - 23,000 tons of it - and realize we still have 12 more shipments coming, it underscores just how enormous this project really is." The project, approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission in February, will stretch from Mississippi to Florida. Target in-service date of the line is June 2002.

Pipe-in-pipe planned for Shell's Crosby

McDermott International subsidiary J. Ray McDermott will install pipelines for Shell E&P's Crosby field in Mississippi Canyon 899. The lines will be installed in 3,802-4,400-ft water depths with the Derrick Barge 50 this summer. The J-lay method will be used to install about 10 miles of pipe-in-pipe steel flowlines from Crosby to Shell's Ursa tension leg platform in Mississippi Canyon 809.

Lighter weight, faster track, early delivery

Alliance Engineering is finding itself in a rare position. The Wood Group company is handling the Horn Mountain deck for BP, and the deck will be ready about half a year before the hull and jacket are ready, said Michael Mahoney, vice president and technical manager for Alliance. "It's not often that we get to wait for the jacket and hull, but we're enjoying it," he said.

Horn Mountain is in Mississippi Canyon 127 in 5,400 ft water depth. Discovered in August 1999, it was sanctioned in October 2000. It is on track for installation in second quarter 2002 and production later in 2002. Operator BP holds 66% of the discovery, and Oxy has 33%. Mahoney said project speed was due to the deck's lighter weight, which enables use of a single lift unit rather than a modular deck, and the selection of equipment. "If you can do light-weight, and if you can do fast-track, why not?" Mahoney said.

Record water depth

Transocean Sedco Forex's Discoverer Spirit drillship spudded an exploration well in 9,743 ft water depth for Unocal in its Trident prospect in the Gulf of Mexico. The exploration well, on Alaminos Canyon 903, is deeper than the previous record of drilling in 9,157 ft water depth off Gabon earlier this year.

Gulf fleet expands

The semi drilling rig Cajun Express completed acceptance testing and started an 18-month contract with Marathon Oil in the US Gulf of Mexico, Transocean Sedco Forex said. The ultra-deepwater vessel is on its way to its first assignment. The contract with Marathon, valued at $106 million, includes an initial well at Mississippi Canyon 348.

Saipem will buy the multipurpose vessel Maxita from SaiClo following completion of the Canyon Express project, currently expected in first quarter 2002. Saipem plans to convert and upgrade the Maxita. A 3,000-ton crane will be incorporated, and its dynamic positioning system will be upgraded. The vessel also will be designed for eventual reel lay of rigid lines in J and S mode. The acquisition and conversion is estimated at $61.8 million.

Also, Cal Dive International has purchased the dynamically positioned marine construction vessel Mystic Viking, formerly the Bergen Viking. The vessel was due to arrive in the Gulf of Mexico this month. "With last year's loss of the Balmoral Sea, the transfer of our ownership in the Cal Dive Aker Dove, and with the Witch Queen operating outside of the Gulf of Mexico, we are short a DP vessel," said Cal Dive Chairman and CEO Owen Kratz.

Enterprise now operates Llano

Enterprise now operates the Llano deepwater field in the Gulf of Mexico, taking over from EEX. Enterprise is now responsible for all future appraisal and development work on the Garden Banks 385/386 field, discovered in 1997. Two appraisal wells drilled on block 386 proved hydrocarbons. Co-venturers are Enterprise with 27.5%, EEX with 27.5%, PanCanadian with 22.5%, and ExxonMobil with 22.5%.

Aspen reserves estimated

Nexen Inc. said the estimated reserves associated with the Aspen discovery on Green Canyon 243 in deepwater Gulf of Mexico total 150 MMboe. Exploratory wells drilled by the Ocean Victory semi in 3,150 ft water depth confirmed 490 ft of net pay in the Aspen discovery. The discovery is located about 5 km from the BP-operated Troika field. There is existing infrastructure in the area, and fast track development plans for the field are being evaluated. Nexen has a 20% working interest in the BP-operated discovery.

Wellstream for Nansen, Boomvang work

Halliburton Energy Services Group's Well-stream won two contracts as part of Kerr-McGee's development of the Nansen and Boomvang fields in the Gulf of Mexico. The first contract is for the system design and supply of 5.6-in., 6,000-psi flexible pipe production risers and tie in jumpers for the project. The risers and jumpers will be constructed in Wellstream's Panama City, Florida, facility, for delivery in August. The second contract, from Bridon International, is for the extrusion of HDPE sheathing on the wire spiral strand to be used for the Boomvang and Nansen spar moorings.