Big Foot Production Start Delayed Following Subsea Tendon Damage

Damage to subsea installation tendons will force Chevron Corp. to delay first production from the Big Foot tension leg platform (TLP) from its planned date in late 2015.

The company dropped six of the 16 steel tendons that tether the production platform to the seabed, according to a June 2 analyst report from Tudor, Pickering and Holt.

In response to the damage, Chevron will move its Big Foot tension leg platform from the deepwater U.S. Gulf of Mexico. The TLP was not connected to any subsea wells or tendons at the time of the incident and was not damaged.

The tendons were pre-installed to prepare for connection to the Big Foot TLP. Several tendons lost buoyancy between Friday, May 29 and Sunday, May 31, Chevron said in a June 1 press statement. Damage to the tendons currently is being assessed.

No wells at Big Foot are producing at this time, and no injuries or release of fluids into the environment occurred, Chevron reported.

In March, Chevron towed the TLP to Walk Ridge Block 29, where the company planned to install it in approximately 5,200 feet of water.

Big Foot, located in the Walker Ridge around of the Gulf, was originally slated to begin production in November 2014. Capital expenditures, which have already grown from $4 billion to $5.1 billion, will likely increase again, Tudor, Pickering and Holt analysts said.

The Big Foot TLP has a design capacity of 75,000 barrels per day of oil and 25 million cubic feet per day of gas. At peak production, the Big Foot development, which holds more than 200 million barrels of oil equivalent in resources, is expected to generate approximately $1.3 billion of gross post-tax cash flow per year at $75/barrel Brent, Tudor, Pickering and Holt said.

Chevron subsidiary Chevron U.S.A. Inc. holds 60 percent working interest in Big Foot. Statoil and Marubeni Oil & Gas are partners with respective interests of 27.5 percent and 12.5 percent each.

Karen Boman has more than 10 years of experience covering the upstream oil and gas sector. Email Karen at


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