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At the present time, more than 9,000 offshore platforms are in service worldwide, operating in water depths ranging from 10 ft to greater than 5,000 ft. Topside payloads range from 5 to 50,000 tons, producing oil, gas, or both. A vast array of production systems is available today (see Figure 1). The concepts range from fixed platforms to subsea compliant and floating systems. In 1859, Col. Edwin Drake drilled and completed the first known oil well near a small town in Pennsylvania, U.S.A. This well, which was drilled with cable tools, started the modern petroleum industry.
The majority of offshore fields have been developed with conventional fixed steel platforms. One common feature of fixed steel structures is that it is essentially "fixed" (i.e., it acts as a cantilever fixed at the seabed). This forces the natural period to be less than that of the damaging significant wave energy, which lies in the 8- to 20-second band. As the water depth increases, these structures begin to become more flexible, and the natural period increases and approaches that of the waves. The consequence of this is the structure becomes dynamically responsive, and fatigue becomes a paramount consideration. Additional steelwork is required to stiffen the structure.
Shell has awarded an engineering, procurement, construction, installation, and commissioning contract related to certain pipelines and umbilicals at its Whale development in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico to McDermott. The contract scope covers 30 miles of pipeline and about 9 miles of umbilical to connect five drill centers to a new offshore platform. The project will begin immediately and is expected to be completed in 2024. McDermott will utilize its Amazon vessel on the job, following a sophisticated upgrade to its ultradeepwater capabilities. Shell made its final investment decision to proceed with the Whale project in July of this year.
Operators in the US Gulf of Mexico (GOM) are still working to recover and take stock of damage caused by Hurricane Ida, a Category 4 storm that cut a destructive swath across the heart of the offshore US oil patch earlier this month. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement's (BSEE) most recent report issued this afternoon found personnel are still evacuated from a total of 47 production platforms, or 8.4% of the 560 manned platforms in the GOM. From operator reports, the agency is estimating that around 43.6% of the oil production remains shut in, and Just over 51% of natural gas production from the region also remains offline. BSEE added that GOM facilities continue to be inspected post-Ida. While industry continues to feel the lingering effects of the earlier storm, Tropical Storm Nicholas formed in the far southeastern GOM.
The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) believes about 80% of US Gulf of Mexico (GOM) crude oil production remains shut-in in the wake of powerful Hurricane Ida. The agency estimates that approximately 78% of natural gas production in the region remains off line. As of this morning, personnel remain evacuated from a total of 79 production platforms, or just over 14% of the 560 manned platforms in the GOM. Personnel are still evacuated from four rigs (nondynamically positioned), equivalent to 36% of the 11 rigs of this type currently operating in the GOM. A total of two dynamically positioned rigs remain off location.
Port Fourchon became momentarily famous when it was reported that it was the landing spot for one of the most powerful hurricanes to ever hit Louisiana. Two days later crews were clearing the debris from the only highway that serves the port to begin evaluating the damage caused by the hurricane, whose 150 mile per hour winds pushed a wall of water over the vital offshore oil supply base that is barely above sea level. There is no quick fix for what has been broken there. "There is no electricity and there will be no electricity for a long time. In our community we have no running water," said Chet Chiasson, the executive director of the port in an interview with National Public Radio.
Successful identification, evaluation, and management of bottlenecks in a complex offshore production processing system is challenging but can increase daily production significantly. The Constitution platform in the Green Canyon area of the Gulf of Mexico, which was commissioned in 2006 with a nameplate capacity of 70,000 BOPD, is a complex system with four fields in varying stages of development. The complete paper focuses on a multidisciplinary process developed to identify, evaluate, and eliminate interdependent bottlenecks on the platform and its flowline network during a 16-month period; this synopsis details some of these findings. A study and field trial during 2016–17 demonstrated the ability to separate fluids above the design capacity, but the team faced challenges in terms of flow reliability even at lower production rates. Therefore, in 2017, an effort was launched to understand and mitigate this issue.
Damage assessment is ongoing after Hurricane Ida cut a path across the heart of the US Gulf of Mexico (GOM) oil patch prior to making landfall as a Category 4 storm near Port Fourchon, Louisiana. Port Fourchon serves as a vital hub for vessels serving much of the GOM oil field. Ida lashed the region with sustained winds of 150 miles per hour, with higher gusts. The port is understood to have take considerable damage from high winds and storm surge. The Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP), the largest privately-owned crude terminal in the US, was also in Ida's path.
Oil companies with operations in the US Gulf of Mexico (GOM) have started evacuating workers from the area ahead of a forecast major hurricane for the region. Tropical Storm Ida is currently in the Caribbean Sea, but several predictive models have the storm strengthening into a powerful hurricane and cutting a swath through the heart of domestic offshore production off Louisiana. Louisiana has already declared a state of emergency and called on residents to prepare for a major hurricane. Shell said it continues to actively monitor Ida, and as a precautionary measure began shutting in production and evacuating all personnel from the Ursa, Mars, Olympus, and Appomattox assets. "In addition, production has been shut in at Stones as the FPSO Turritella prepares for the potential to disconnect and sail away to safer waters," the company added in a statement.