One reason for declining production in the Gulf of Mexico is the small size of many of the fields. According to E. Roddier of Marine Innovation and Technology, the mini-floater concept could be the way to capture revenue from stranded fields. The new concept could also help reduce US dependence on foreign oil, Roddier says.
Roddier told participants at ISOPE in Toulon, France, that size is the greatest cost savings of the new design.
"We are trying to make it as small as possible;" he said.
The three-column structure has a weight between 500 and 2,500 tons. Polyester mooring allows the mini-floater to work at 6,000-ft water depth. And a heave plate similar to that in the truss spar gives the structure stability and good motion characteristics; Roddier said.
Roddier believes the mini-floater can offer significant savings in production cost. The design is cheaper than a third generation semisubmersible, and "construction is as simple as you get," Roddier said. The mini-floater can be built in any yard in the Gulf of Mexico, he said.