ExxonMobil: Hoover-Diana on stream

ExxonMobil Corp. reported Monday the start of oil and gas production from the world's deepest offshore drilling and production platform on the Hoover-Diana development project, located in 4,800 ft of water in the Gulf of Mexico, some 200 miles south of Houston. There are production platforms in deeper water, but this is the platform in deepest water with both capabilities.

The Hoover-Diana development utilizes an 83-story tall deep-draft caisson vessel (DDCV), nearly half a football field in diameter, that floats vertically over the Hoover field. Utilization of surface production wellheads aboard the platform is an industry first for that water depth, officials said.

The Diana field, about 15 miles west of Hoover, is a subsea development that utilizes five horizontally completed wells tied back to the DDCV. The use of horizontal gravel packs in that water depth is also a world record.

The project set new records in several other key areas including subsea horizontal drilling; installation of deepwater pipelines, risers, and mooring systems; and the heaviest module lifts onto a floating surface offshore. New oil and gas pipelines transport the production to tie-ins with existing pipeline systems (OGJ Online, June 30, 2000).

"We are extremely proud to have set the world water-depth record for a combined drilling and production platform. The Hoover-Diana Project is a major technological milestone for producing in the deepwater environment. Our cutting-edge experience with this project will be applied to subsequent developments around the world,'' said Harry J. Longwell, an ExxonMobil director and senior vice-president.

The Hoover and Diana fields contain estimated recoverable resources exceeding 300 million boe.

Initial production began in May and is averaging 140 MMcfd of gas and 18,000 b/d of oil from five wells. The two fields are expected to produce at combined peak rates of 100,000 b/d of oil and 325 MMcfd of gas.

ExxonMobil is operator with a 66.7% interest in the $1.1 billion project to codevelop the Hoover and Diana fields. BP Amoco PLC holds the remaining 33.3%.

ExxonMobil claims the largest deepwater prospective acreage position in the industry, with 135 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico, West Africa, South America, and other parts of the world. It has participated in 30 major deepwater discoveries.

"We project deepwater oil and gas will account for more than 20% of our production by 2010,'' said Longwell.

The Hoover-Diana development concept is flexible and can accommodate future developments in the area, officials reported.

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