Wed, 20 Aug 2008|
The Perdido regional development spar has arrived in the ultra deepwaters of the Gulf of Mexico and is currently being secured to the seafloor in 8,000 ft (2,438 m) of water, according to Shell.
The Perdido Spar was towed 160 nautical miles in just under two days to its' final work site, an area called Alaminos Canyon block 857, in the Gulf of Mexico. The big spar, 550 long and 118 feet in diameter. Arrived floating on its side. The task, was to up-end it. Rotating it from a horizontal, to a vertical floating position. It took dozens of people from Heerema's deep water construction vessel Balder, working non-stop for nearly 24 hours. Once in place, tug boats pulled rip-out plugs from the spar's bottom tanks. Sea water rushed in, and after two hours, had flooded the tanks, enough to submerge, tipping the giant structure about 15 degrees. Water was pumped into the tanks through hoses from the balder over the next 24 hours. Filling the tanks until the entire spar flowed upright in the water. Next, wielding polyester and chain mooring lines strong enough to hold firm against hurricanes as powerful as Katrina, workers secured the floating giant to previously installed anchor piles in the sea floor, nearly 8,000 feet below. It will take a month to fasten all nine mooring lines. [INAUDIBLE] During that month the Perdadito team and meteorologists will continually monitor the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico for tropical storms and hurricanes and work steadily to secure the spar before another hurricane passes through the southern gulf. [CROSSTALK] As far as our weather window this time of the year we're approaching the peak of hurricane season. So. there's a tremendous amount of weather forecasting services that we use for the project. We have broken up the tow out, the installation offshore into a number of phases. We look at each phase for a particular weather window. The window that we needed today to get offshore was a four day weather window. Which is clear of no tropical disturbances coming within the Perdido area and then we have other steps offshore that we look at weather windows for each particular activity that we're gonna do, to do to get storm safe once we depart here to getting our first three mooring lines connected offshore is roughly a ten to ten days to. Two weeks. Back at Ingleside on the Texas coast, workers are finishing the topsides production module for setting atop this spar in early 2009. The topsides will turn the anchored spar into a small manufacturing town in the remote southern reaches of the gulf. A self-contained facility with it's own power generation. The top sides contain the production equipment, drilling rig, helicopter landing pad, and living quarters for a crew of up to 150. This floating town is designed to be capable of delivering 130,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day from some of the deepest depths ever attempted in the Gulf of Mexico. At max production Perdido is expected to produce enough oil each day to fill 132,000 cars with gasoline. Shell and Perdido co-owners BP and Chevron expect first production around the turn of the decade.