The final environmental impact statement (EIS) document issued by the Minerals Management Service on floating production, storage, and offloading (FPSO) vessels in the Gulf of Mexico deepwater found that potential impacts are similar to other deepwater development and production systems.
The EIS on allowing FPSOs in the Gulf included a comparative risk analysis. Following the March 11 closing of the public comment period on the final EIS, a decision on whether to allow FPSOs in the Gulf will be made.
The MMS is also now drawing up a final EIS on proposed Lease Sale 181, which would include properties 100 miles off the Florida coastline. The MMS received over 400 written comments and had 52 speakers during the public comment period for the draft EIS on the proposed sale. Of the speakers, 21 opposed allowing drilling.
"The general public that doesn't belong to a particular activist group has energy concerns," said Barney Congdon, Public Affairs Officer for the MMS. "They would not like to see rolling brownouts over the nation." Florida Gov. Jeb Bush penned a letter objecting to the proposed lease sale. The EIS should be complete in June, and the proposed notice of sale should be drawn up in July. If approved, the lease sale would be in December in New Orleans.
Shallow platform will support Canyon Express
Williams will be assisted by Paragon Engin-eering Services in developing a Gulf of Mexico shallow water platform that will take production from the Canyon Express fields in record water depth for production. Williams' Canyon Station platform will accept 500 MMcf/d gas production from remote subsea wells in up to 7,200 ft water depth. Production is expected by summer 2002. Platform design calls for a four-pile, four-legged production platform in Main Pass 261.
Stolt vessels will lay Gulfstream pipeline
Stolt Offshore will install the Gulfstream Natural Gas System pipeline from Mississippi Sound to Tampa Bay, Florida. Stolt said the 700-km, 36-in. line is the longest offshore pipelay in the Gulf of Mexico. The deepwater sections will be installed by the laybarge LB 200, and the derrick laybarge DLB 801 will install the shallow water sections. The DLB 801 will be brought to the Gulf of Mexico from West Africa for the job and will be retained in the Gulf to serve what Stolt describes as a "very active pipelay market."
Recently, subsidiaries of Duke Energy and Williams bought Gulfstream Natural Gas System from Coastal Corp. Financial terms of the purchase were not disclosed. Gulfstream also received a final EIS from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) concluding the construction and operation of Gulfstream's proposed facilities with the adoption of recommended mitigation measures would have limited adverse environmental impacts.
The project sponsors expect the $1.6 billion Gulfstream pipeline project to receive FERC approval in first quarter 2001. If approved, the target in-service date for the project is June 2002.
Fugro sets current profile record
Fugro Geos measured what it terms the deepest-ever series of real-time current profiles in support of Gulf of Mexico drilling operations. The measurements were essential to assess potentially damaging forces on marine risers and were taken during operations on BHP's Walker Ridge 425 exploration well, which reached a depth of 2,680 meters. Drilled by the Glomar C.R. Luigs, the well also is claimed to be the second deepest in the world. Houston-based Fugro deployed new techniques using acoustic Doppler current profiles (ADCPs) mounted both on the drillship and the Oceaneering Magnum 51 ROV. Results were displayed in real time onboard the drillship with almost 2,750 meters water current data recorded in a single profile each time the ROV descended.
Shell, Enterprise buy pipeline
Shell Gas Transmission and Enterprise Products Partners formed Starfish Pipeline Co. to buy Stingray Pipeline Co., East Breaks Gathering Co., and West Cameron Dehydration Co. from Deepwater Holdings, an affiliate of El Paso Energy Partners. Shell and Enterprise will each hold a 50% interest in Starfish, and Shell will serve as operator and commercial manager of the assets.
The Stingray pipeline, with a capacity of 1.2 Bcf/d, is a 325-mile, 36-in. diameter pipeline transporting natural gas and injected condensate from about 53 fields in the High Island, West Cameron, East Cameron, Vermilion, and Garden Banks areas to onshore pipelines in Louisiana.
Harbor Island fab alliance formed
Bay Ltd. and McDermott International Inc. subsidiary J. Ray McDermott Inc. have formed an alliance to pursue fabrication projects and use McDermott's Harbor Island facility near Port Aransas, Texas. Under the agreement, J. Ray McDermott will provide project management, engineering and procurement services, and the work site, while Bay will provide fabrication and construction services, labor, and equipment.
BHP appraises wells for Mad Dog
BHP said the Mad Dog No. 3 appraisal well, located in Green Canyon 783 in 4,320 ft of water, encountered 200 net ft of hydrocarbon bearing sands. The well was drilled to determine the extent of the field to the northeast.
"We would hope to sanction (Mad Dog or Atlantis) within the next 12 months," BHP President Philip Aiken said. "If the appraisal programs go well, then we could possibly do both. Then you are looking at first oil in about 2004 at the earliest. That is the sort of time frame we are looking at, and it really depends on the speed of the appraisal program."
Partners in Mad Dog are operator BP with 60.5%, BHP with 23.9%, and Unocal with 15.6%.
BHP also said its Chinook exploratory well in Walker Ridge 425 did not encounter commercial amounts of hydrocarbons. BHP holds 70%, and TotalFinaElf holds 30%.
Anadarko wells set for subsalt, deepwater
Anadarko Petroleum Corp. plans to drill sub-salt prospects Tarantula in South Timbalier 308, Taurus in Green Canyon 134, and Mahogany in Ship Shoal 349 and Ship Shoal 359. Operator Anadarko owns 100% in Tarantula and Taurus and 37.5% in Mahogany. Other Mahogany partners are Phillips Petroleum Co. with 37.5%, and W&T Offshore Inc. with 25%. Deepwater wells set for drilling in 2001 include LaSalle in East Breaks and Eiger Sanction in Mississippi Canyon 667. Operator Anadarko has 100% in Eiger Sanction and 33.3% in LaSalle. Other LaSalle partners are Mariner Energy Inc. and Burlington Resources, each with 33.3%.