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Williams Partners: Gulfstar One spar nears completion (VIDEO)

Williams Partners L.P. reported key construction milestones and progress on a tieback expansion as its proprietary Gulfstar FPS™ (Floating Production System) nears completion in the eastern deepwater Gulf of Mexico. The Gulfstar One project is the first spar-based floating production system with major components built entirely in the United States.

“Williams Partners’ made-in-America Gulfstar One is 21,500 tons of proof that American engineering and construction are alive and well. The hull of the floating production system was towed out and positioned in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico before the topside platform was installed in March 2014.” the company said in a press release.

After mooring the floating spar to the ocean floor in February, crews in March lifted and installed Gulfstar’s three-level topside structure. The floating production system is moored 135 miles southeast of New Orleans in about 4,000 feet of water. It will serve as a hub that aggregates production and then combines production handling services with oil and gas export pipeline services, which feed Williams’ downstream oil and gas gathering and processing services.

Once operational, the Gulfstar’s base design will produce up to 60,000 barrels of oil per day and 135 million standard cubic feet of gas per day with additional tieback capacity. With hook-up and commissioning activities currently underway, Gulfstar is on schedule to start serving anchor customers in the third quarter of 2014 and Gunflint in 2016.

In addition to previously announced anchor commitments, Gulfstar in January executed agreements with Gunflint field owners Noble Energy, Inc., Ecopetrol America Inc., Marathon Oil Company and Samson Offshore, LLC. The Gunflint tieback is designed and engineered with modifications expected to be completed after the base Gulfstar project is completed.

“Landing this Gunflint tieback before first oil is received from the anchor tenants demonstrates the promise of the Gulfstar model for producers, both economically and technically,” said Rory Miller, senior vice president of Williams’ Atlantic-Gulf operating area. “As a midstream company, Williams is focused on infrastructure solutions of this nature that connect the best supplies with highest-value markets. Gulfstar is one of approximately $4.5 billion in large-scale projects we expect to bring into service in 2014 and 2015.”

Major components of the Gulfstar were built entirely in the United States, creating approximately 1,000 domestic jobs and allowing quick parts replacement and reduced platform downtime. Gulf Marine Fabricators built the hull in Aransas Pass, Texas and Gulf Island Fabrication, Inc. constructed the topsides in Houma, La.

“Gulfstar provides a complete ‘floating production system to market clearing point’ solution for producers in the Gulf for their oil, gas and liquids production, designed specifically to maximize their net present value and minimize risk,” said Mark Cizek, Gulfstar Project Director. “The ‘design one, build many’ construction concept allows for standardized design options and enhanced safety and reliability of each unit. The repeatable concept also increases speed to market.”

Williams Partners developed the Gulfstar One project and it has a 51 percent ownership interest. Marubeni Corporation has a 49 percent interest in the Gulfstar One project.

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Williams Partners Reports Execution Progress on Gulfstar One

BP Brings Two Rigs to Deepwater Gulf of Mexico

BP  has added two drilling rigs to the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, bringing its fleet to a company record nine rigs as it continues to develop its strong portfolio of assets in the key U.S. offshore basin.

One of the rigs is a new ultra-deepwater drillship known as the West Auriga that is under long-term contract to BP from Seadrill Ltd, a leading international offshore drilling contractor. The vessel, capable of operating in up to 12,000 feet of water, has begun development drilling work at BP’s Thunder Horse field.

The other is a reconstructed drilling rig on BP’s Mad Dog oil and gas production platform. It replaces the original rig on the platform that was badly damaged and left inoperable by Hurricane Ike in 2008. With the new, state-of-the art rig, the platform recently resumed development drilling at the massive Mad Dog field complex.

“The addition of these two rigs reflects the vital importance of the deepwater Gulf of Mexico to the future of BP,” said Richard Morrison, Regional President of BP’s Gulf of Mexico business. “It also clearly demonstrates BP’s commitment to the American economy and to U.S. energy security.”

BP currently anticipates investing on average at least $4 billion in the Gulf of Mexico each year for the next decade. The company plans to concentrate future activity and investment in the Gulf on growth opportunities around its four major operated production hubs – Thunder Horse, Na Kika, Atlantis and Mad Dog – and three non-operated production hubs – Mars, Ursa and Great White – in the deepwater, as well as on significant exploration and appraisal opportunities in the Paleogene and elsewhere.

BP is also advancing a strong pipeline of future development projects in the deepwater Gulf. In April, the company started up the Atlantis North expansion, the first of seven additional wells to be tied back to the existing Atlantis platform. At Na Kika, another field expansion is planned, following the successful startup last year of the Galapagos development, a subsea tieback to the Na Kika production facility. BP is also pursuing plans for a second phase of the Mad Dog field.

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Q7000: Helix Orders Semi-Submersible Rig from Sembcorp Marine

Sembcorp Marine’s subsidiary Jurong Shipyard has secured a US$346 million contract to build a second semi-submersible well intervention rig for Helix Energy Solutions Group, Inc. (Helix), a market leader in subsea well intervention services.

Scheduled for delivery in mid-2016, the semi-submersible light well intervention rig will be built based on a design jointly developed by Sembcorp Marine Technology Pte Ltd (SMTP), a fully-owned Research & Development subsidiary of Sembcorp Marine, and Helix. Featuring the latest technology, the rig – named Q7000 by Helix – is an efficient purpose-designed platform with capabilities to perform a wide variety of tasks, including conventional and extended top hole drilling, subsea construction, decommissioning well intervention, coiled tubing operations and twin ROV deployment.

The Dynamic Positioning (DP) class 3 unit has the ability to operate in deepwater operations worldwide, including the North Sea and West of Africa.

William Gu, General Manager of Offshore Division said: “We are honoured that Helix has chosen to build their second semi-submersible well intervention rig with us. This repeat order is significant as it testifies as to their trust and confidence in our design and building capabilities in rigs with well intervention and subsea capabilities that are customised to meet this new growth segment of the market. We are committed to build on our partnership with Helix and to meet their stringent standards of quality, safety and reliability.”

Owen Kratz, Helix’s President and Chief Executive Officer, said: “We are pleased to work with our trusted partner Jurong Shipyard on this second unit of the semisubmersible well intervention rig, to be named Q7000.”

The above is not expected to have any material impact on the consolidated net tangible assets per share and earnings per share of Sembcorp Marine for the year ending December 31, 2013.

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Gulf of Mexico: Cobalt Hires Rowan’s New Ultra-Deepwater Drillship

Rowan Companies plc announced today that one of its subsidiaries has entered into a three-year contract with Cobalt International Energy, L.P. for the Rowan Reliance, one of Rowan’s new ultra-deepwater drillships currently under construction at the Hyundai Heavy Industries Co. Ltd. (“HHI”) shipyard in Ulsan, South Korea. The drillship is expected to operate in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.

The Rowan Reliance is expected to be delivered from HHI at the end of October 2014. The contract is expected to commence late January 2015 following mobilization. The effective day rate for the work will be $602,000, including mobilization revenues, and adds $660 million in revenue backlog.

Matt Ralls, Rowan’s Chief Executive Officer, stated, “We are very pleased to enter into this relationship with Cobalt. They have a very exciting growth story with a strong track record in ultra-deepwater exploration. We will complement their growth potential through our expansion into the ultra-deepwater drilling segment with the most advanced drillships in the industry. We are proud to have this opportunity to be part of the future success of this exciting company.”

The Rowan Reliance is one of four ultra-deepwater drillships being constructed for Rowan by HHI. All four drillships are based on a GustoMSC P10,000 hull design, capable of drilling wells to depths of 40,000 feet in water depths up to 12,000 feet. The DP-3 compliant, dynamically positioned drillship will be equipped with retractable thrusters, two readily deployable seven-ram BOP systems, five mud pumps, dual mud systems and a maximum hookload capacity of 1,250 tons.

With the award of this contract for the Rowan Reliance, three of the Company’s four ultra-deepwater drillships under construction at HHI are now under contract. The fourth remaining uncontracted drillship, the Rowan Relentless, is scheduled to be delivered from the shipyard at the end of March 2015.

Rowan, August 6, 2013

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Ulstein Presents Benefits of Its SX121 Design

Advancement in technology is permitting the offshore oil and gas industry to move into progressively deeper and colder waters in remote locations. ULSTEIN supports this development by providing products and solutions that contribute to safer, smarter and greener operations.

A case in point is the versatile and flexible OCV/subsea vessel design SX121, which ULSTEIN is currently building customized versions of for GC Rieber Shipping and Island Offshore. The design can be tailored for a multitude of offshore construction and subsea operations in deep and ultra-deep waters both below and above the Arctic Circle.

Deepwater and ultra-deepwater projects occur outside of the continental shelf at water depths between 400 and 1,500 metres and depths greater than 1,500 metres respectively. Deep waters mean remote locations, harsh weather conditions and sensitive ecosystems. This type of environment requires vessels that are reliable and safe, cost-efficient and environmentally sound.

“We aim to develop ships that can operate reliably, safely and efficiently in harsh conditions with as small an environmental footprint as possible. The robust configuration, system integration and X-BOW® hull line of the SX121 ensure safety and comfort for the crew, an increased operational window and significantly reduced environmental impact,” says sales manager in Ulstein Design & Solutions, Lars Ståle Skoge.

Currently, there are four sailing SX121 vessels designed and built by ULSTEIN. The vessels, which operate in different segments such as offshore construction, riserless well intervention and inspection/maintenance/repair, have received very good feedback.

Gordon L. Wilkinson in Veolia ES said the following about ‘Viking Poseidon’’s work in the Gulf of Mexico: “She is the Queen of the Gulf.”

At the end of 2012 shipowner Island Offshore, together with their American partner Edison Chouest Offshore, ordered another SX121 vessel from ULSTEIN currently under construction at Ulstein Verft. “We’ve received very good feedback on our two operating vessels of this design, ‘Island Constructor’ and ‘Island Intervention’,” says Technical Manager in Island Offshore, Trond Hauge. “I’m confident that this type of vessel is a safe and comfortable platform for the performance of advanced work in the years to come.”

Optimized for heavier installations

“The SX121 is a compact vessel that can perform deepwater and ultra-deepwater operations for which currently larger vessels are frequently used, thus providing the customer with a more cost-efficient solution,” says Håvard Stave, Sales Manager in Ulstein Verft.

“The typical SX121 vessel operates at depths down to 3,000 metres, which comprises most current oil & gas activities. The need to deploy heavier equipment in deep waters such as offshore Brazil and Africa and in the Gulf of Mexico, has spurred market interest in OCV vessels with a 400-tonne crane, which we’ve now incorporated in the SX121 design.”

ULSTEIN has drawn on experiences from its latest SX121 projects, and optimized the utilization of the hull with regards to work from deck as well as crane construction work, resulting in an even more versatile OCV/subsea vessel.

The robust platform is optimized for efficient operations in deep waters with a crane capacity of up to 400 tonnes and a substantial remaining deck loading capacity, and it can be configured for a variety of mission equipment. There is a large deck area of 1,750 m2, and the area around the main moon pool is reinforced in order to sustain a VLS or module handling system. The ROV installation is designed and chosen for operations in significant wave heights of 4.5 metres or more. Two heavy-duty work ROVs are situated in the enclosed hangar, one to be deployed from the starboard side, the other through a dedicated moon pool.

Extended redundancy

A reliable vessel is key for cost-efficiency, as down-time and aborting on-going operations are costly affairs, particularly when operating far from shore.

The SX121 vessel meets the highest standard for position keeping, DYNPOS-AUTRO, with redundancy on all major components. Featuring the ‘Operation+’ concept, an increase in redundancy in AUTR operations if a single major failure occurs, the vessel will still maintain system redundancy throughout the most critical areas. The typical configuration is diesel electric propulsion powered by six identical medium speed main generator sets. The switchboard system, propellers and diesel motors can be configured in groups of two, three or four. If a major failure occurs, the vessel will only lose one third of its power and propulsion. The combination of system architecture and power stations, three side thrusters and three main thrusters, ensures that the operation can be safely completed using two thirds of its capacity.

Smart and safe

In order to optimize capacities and performance of the vessel, the freeboard has been increased by one metre compared with the previously built vessels of this design. This increase also improves safety and ensures a dry work deck. In addition, the helideck has been moved further back in order to increase the weather window for helicopter landings.

The vessel’s X-BOW provides good motion characteristics for safe operations. It also reduces the vessel’s environmental footprint through lower fuel consumption and reduced emissions. With optimized resolution of the power generation plant, the vessel will have high fuel efficiency in all operational modes.

The vessel accommodates a crew of 130 and complies with all international requirements for comfort and safety.

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