GULF OF MEXICO

Unocal Corp. said it entered an exploration agreement with Ocean Energy Inc. for multiple deepwater prospects in the Gulf of Mexico prospects.

Apr 1st, 2001

Unocal, Ocean Energy in joint venture

Unocal Corp. said it entered an exploration agreement with Ocean Energy Inc. for multiple deepwater prospects in the Gulf of Mexico prospects. The Discoverer Spirit recently drilled an exploration well on the Ponza prospect at Keathley Canyon 774 in 6,736 ft of water. Unocal will hold 50% in Ponza and several related prospects, Ocean Energy will have 25% in the Ponza prospect, and an unnamed partner will hold the remaining 25%.

BP awards many Gulf contracts

BP awarded contracts for design, fabrication, and supply of equipment and materials to develop its Gulf of Mexico deepwater discoveries. Contracts went to:

  • Aker Engineering for subsea design and integration engineering for $50 million
  • GVA for semisubmersible design engineering for $15 million
  • ABB for dry systems subsea equipment for $250 million
  • Aker for spar design engineering and fabrication for $200 million
  • Bredero Price for pipe coating for $60 million
  • FMC for wet systems subsea equipment for $250 million
  • Vincinay for chain for $25 million
  • Bridon and Scan Rope for wire rope for $40 million
  • Dresser Rand for power generation for $80 million.

"We have quite a bit of work before us in the next few years as we install facilities and start up the fields that will bring our deepwater Gulf of Mexico production from 200,000 b/d to 750,000 b/d," Dave Blackwood, BP's vice president for deepwater development, said.

Apache prefers international deepwater

Apache Corp. is venturing into deepwater, though its first well will likely not be spud until next year, said Chairman and CEO Raymond Plank. Plank said he expects the Houston-based company to spud its first deepwater well off Egypt in 2002. "We have avoided the deepwater in the US for several reasons," he said. One reason was that the company was concerned about being passed by in the Gulf of Mexico and it did not want to be in a position to farm in. Instead, he said, the company chose to go international.

FERC approves Gulfstream pipeline

The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approved Gulfstream's construction and operation of the Gulfstream Natural Gas System. Work on the $1.6 billion pipeline will begin in June with a target in-service date of the following June. The line will have a 1.1 Bcf/d capacity to deliver gas to Florida.

Lost Ark discovery

Noble Affiliates Inc. reported a commercial discovery in the Lost Ark prospect at East Breaks 421 No. 1. Located in 2,700 ft water depth, the well was drilled to a total depth of 7,770 ft with gross gas pay in the 6,695 ft to 6,805 ft depth range. Plans are to develop the discovery using a subsea completion, which would be tied back to an existing host platform. Operator Noble Affiliates has 48.4%, Forest Oil has 50%, and Noble Drilling Exploration Co. has 1.6%.

Cal Dive, Horizon update agreement

Cal Dive International Inc. and Horizon Offshore Inc. renewed their alliance agreement on operations in the Gulf of Mexico through Feb. 29, 2004. Under the agreement, Cal Dive will provide dive support vessel services behind Horizon pipelay barges while Horizon supplies pipelay and derrick barge services to Cal Dive. Under the updated plan, Cal Dive will also provide diving personnel working on Horizon barges, which Horizon had previously handled. The agreement was initially signed three years ago.

McDermott wins Medusa work

J. Ray McDermott Inc. won the turnkey engineering, procurement, construction, and installation (EPIC) contract for Murphy Oil's Medusa field in the Gulf of Mexico. J. Ray subsidiary SparTEC will be the general contractor and project manager for the Mississippi Canyon 582 offshore production facility in 2,223 ft of water. Subsidiary Mentor Subsea Technology will handle design and procurement of the production risers.

Saibos for Canyon Express pipelay

Saibos CML, a 50/50 subsidiary of Bouygues Offshore and Saipem, signed a $30 million contract to lay pipe for the Canyon Express project in the Gulf of Mexico for TotalFinaElf. One part of the contract is installing two 12-in., 90-km long lines between the Canyon Station platform and the King's Peak, Anconcagua, and Camden Hills deepwater fields. Saibos will also study, fabricate, and install 11 in-line sleds and connections. Water depth ranges from 328 ft to 7,218 ft. Work was to begin in the second quarter, 2001.

CSO Deep Blue delivered

Coflexip Stena Offshore said it plans to have the CSO Deep Blue in the Gulf of Mexico this summer. The newbuild ultra deepwater pipelay and subsea construction vessel CSO Deep Blue was delivered after successful sea trials. Built at Hyundai Mipo Dockyards in Korea, the vessel went to The Netherlands, where the CSO-designed pipelay equipment will be installed. It will begin operations this summer with the installation of the export pipeline systems on the Boomerang and Nansen field developments in 1,100 meters of water in the Gulf of Mexico.

Cal Dive buying diving assets

Cal Dive International Inc. bought nearly all the assets of Professional Divers of New Orleans. Cal Dive will combine the PDNO operations with Aquatica, its own diving company. Assets include a four-point moored vessel, three utility vessels, two saturation diving systems, diving chambers and equipment, and a fleet of trucks.

New Cajun Express date set

Transocean Sedco Forex and Marathon Oil Co. agreed to amend the Cajun Express contract. Under the altered contract, Marathon will contract the ultra-deep semisubmersible drilling rig for 18 months, rather than the originally expected three years. Also under the new contract was a changed final delivery date from the end of March to June 30, to allow the rig to continue sea trials in the US Gulf of Mexico. The revised contract is valued at $106.2 million, down from $214.6 million in the original contract.

Santa Fe contracts for jackup gear

National-Oilwell Inc. said it received a $35-40 million order from Santa Fe International Corp. for drilling systems on two new jackups. "Global market conditions affecting National-Oilwell's capital equipment sales are better now than at any time since the early 1980s. Unlike conditions in 1997 and 1998, which were dominated by special purpose offshore newbuilds, current demand for our products is balanced between onshore and offshore contractors and contains significant amounts of replacement capital equipment for existing rigs, as well as equipment intended for new rigs," said Joel Staff, Chairman and CEO.

Chemical dangers studied

Only two chemicals the industry uses are potential hazards in the Gulf of Mexico, according to a new study released by the Minerals Management Services. Zinc bromide and ammonium chloride were the two chemicals for which there exists a potential for impact. Results from the report will be used to modify reporting requirements for operators working in the Gulf of Mexico.

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